I bet the last time you were in a website design meeting you talked about things like websites that inspire you, fresh and smart new web trends and techniques, or colors and typography. You probably left the conference room with complete clarity on the look and feel for your redesign.
Reflecting on that meeting, let me ask you a few additional questions. Read and try to answer each question.
- Why do people come to my website? This question has more answers than you might think. If you’re a software application, it might be to download, sign up, or learn more about your app. If you’re an entertainer, it might be to sample your music, view your videos, or find your next event. If you’re a bank, credit union, or mortgage lender, it might be to check current rates. If you’re a financial advisor, consultant, marketing agency, or blogger, it might be to read your latest musings. There are lots of answers to this simple question, and each could dramatically alter your website’s design.
- What do customers want from my website? The last thing you want to do is frustrate a customer. If they took the time to visit your website, let’s make sure they get what they came for. Beginning with your homepage, think about what people are expecting when they land on that particular page. I can’t tell you the number of contact pages that don’t have a phone number, address, or even an email. Everything is hidden behind an impersonal (“I bet no one ever reads these”) form. If nothing else, make sure that you have at least one clear call to action that encourages visitors to contact you.
- How do I help visitors buy from my business? Whether your sales cycle is long or short, simple or complex, you need to start the buying process on your website. Sometimes this is as simple as a buy button, but often it’s more involved. Most purchases require the buyer to research and gather information about your business, compare it to others, and make a business case to choose you. Your website design should guide them through the process of making that justification as simple and frictionless as possible.
- How do I encourage people to return to my website? Rarely is a sale made on the first visit and client loyalty must be built over time. Both are helped by giving your customers reasons to use your website as a resource. Can you design a tool, experience, directory, community, or content that encourages your customers to return on a regular basis? Each encounter is likely to enhance trust, credibility, and value that should support a potential future purchase decision.
- How do I get people to share my website? Sharing happens when your design and content make your customer look smart. Can you design something that is unique or clever? Then can you make it as simple as a click to share? Make sure that all of your images, titles, and descriptions are optimized to look beautiful on any social media platform.
Having thought carefully about each question, do you think your team has the same level of clarity on these considerations? Would everyone agree with your answers? Will these crucial factors even enter into your web design? If they don’t, will your website be a success?
Questions? Comments? Talk to me on Twitter @billrice and please include a link to this article.