Do you want your website to perform better than your competition? Are you hoping to gather more sales, more leads, or more brand recognition? Well, your website’s success depends not only on what you put on your site, but also on how you approach planning and maintaining your site.
Effective content on your website is written for your customer (or potential customer). Similarly, your website needs to be designed for those same customers. It sounds like an easy concept in theory, but too many websites just aren’t user friendly. Think back over your own experiences using other websites either for work or for fun. Have you ever come across a site where you just couldn’t find the information you needed? Or you didn’t know how to get to the checkout page? Or the menu just didn’t work or make any sense? You don’t want your target audience to have these same problems and frustrations with your own website.
When I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who are eager to get their own websites up and running, they sometimes lose sight of their website’s main purpose: to bring in more business. It’s not that they actually forget this; after all, they are investing time and money to get a bigger return. But they might lose focus when thinking and debating about what to include on their sites and how their sites should work.
For example, a business owner may think that a widget displaying the local weather might be nifty…as well as a cool fading slideshow of stock photography (perhaps of imaginary employees smiling and ready to help)…and maybe even a forum where customers can discuss the products sold. I’ve witnessed this kind of thinking many times as business owners see interesting and clever things on other websites that they want on their own. Yes, it may be engaging and look technologically advanced. But are these really things that the target customer needs or will help close a sale? If not, it might be better to go back to the drawing board before good money is spent badly.
As you’re planning how your website will look, work, and be organized, think about how your site will help bring increased business. That weather widget probably won’t help with one sale, but an eye-catching call-to-action button attracting people to your new products page might. With each decision you make about your website, always ask yourself if it helps the customer move closer to a sale and is simple and easy to use. A flashy, expensive website won’t get you any new customers if people can’t easily buy your product or contact you for your service.
So when planning your website, remember that your customers’ needs come first. Look for a web designer or developer who understands that the overall goal is to bring you more business. A designer with a keen understanding of how websites work from the user’s perspective and knowing common website standards and conventions will be a great benefit to you. Your customers—and you—will enjoy the results!