Over the past few years, i’ve walked into numerous meetings listening to how the owners of that business have ‘ ideas ‘ about how their website should be. The whims and fancies of these managers, directors and owners can turn a perfect well marketable product into a nightmare. I once sat through a project briefing where the client wanted to re-create the experience of walking through a mall on his ecommerce website – with the ability to turn the cursor into a hand and ability to drag a product from a shelf and add it to a cart… yadda yadda yadda. Can you imagine what that would have done for his business!?
On the other hand, companies who actually need a well designed, nicely executed and creatively designed website don’t want to focus on that because they either need their website yesterday or don’t have the budget to get it done.
The smart ones are those who actually analyze the use of their website and online presence and come up with educated decisions on what should and should not be part of their digital strategy. Quite a rare thing to find those – but they do exists, trust me! But in the words of a frustrated Web Copywriter –
“Dear Marketing Manager,
I am sorry to burst your bubble but your website is not about you. In fact it never was. Your website is about your visitors and the journeys they make within your site. Your visitors couldn’t care less about your latest technology, they are interested in benefits you can offer them. Don’t talk at them, talk to them.”
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you plan for your website.
Think like your visitors
Forget everything you know about your business and imagine you are coming to the website for the first time. Think from the perspective of your average target audience and from the various segments of users who will visit the site.
Usually, as a client you may get absorbed into a particular idea or way of how you want your digital presence to be, but in truth analyze the user journey of your potential visitor and design for them. The sole purpose of your website should be to solve your visitors problems and meet their needs.
Ask yourselves questions like;
- So I get what the site is about?
- Am I in the right place?
- Do I know what I can do here?
- Can I click on something that can bring me closer to my goal?
Design for standards
Following these ‘common features’ ensures that your visitor does not spend time looking for them, hence frustrating the visitor and having them leave your website.
Its not bad to try something new, and it’s always great to innovate and come up with a fresh look and feel that will grab your visitors attention – as long as your user experience allows to guide your visitor into the right direction and show them everything they need.
Speak to your visitors
The average consumer makes a choice based on emotions, justified by facts. So how do you grab the attention of your visitors? Yes – a compelling design will help but more importantly its the content! CONTENT is KING and telling a good story builds an emotional connection with your visitors. Not concentrating on your content and call to actions before planning and designing your website is a wrong approach.
So, make sure that you have the proper content in place, BEFORE you begin to create your website. You’ve got visitors with a variety of personality types in different stages of the buying process. Your challenge is to engage them with your words and images.
…and need I mention that you must write for the web!? Keep it short, Use simple words, make it easy to scan and above all… use relevant keywords.
The client is usually right, and this is what we say when we create a website – put it online and it fails terribly because it can neither convert nor create the impact. ” The client asked to make the color red” or ” The client wanted to create this design”
If you are a web designer or developer – or anyone in a similar role – then make it your responsibility to educate and inform your client that their website is not about them, and they should be trusting you as a professional to make the right choices. Boost your claim by conducting a market research about the target audience and provide your clients with reports and analytics about what will convert a visitor into a customer.
If you are someone who is in need of a website, and you are reading this – then ask yourselves this… would you rather sell something or just look pretty?