In last month's article, I discouraged you from forcing your website visitors to read or think when they visited your website – you know what I mean "don't make me read and don't make me think". If you're uncertain about what I really mean by this, you missed something special. Check out last month's article: 5 Effective Elements of Website Design.
This article includes 5 more important website design techniques. They are:
- Determine your website goals
- Determine your prospect's "pain points" and/or their desires
- Think through how you will move your website visitor from "point of entry" to "call to action" in order to achieve your goal from #1 above
- Create your website so it appeals specifically to your target prospects
- Integrate content that appeals to your target prospects and motivates the desired action
Determine Your Website Goals
Think about what you want your website to accomplish. For an ecommerce site, it's exposing your product/service line to your target prospects and customers, and selling products and services. For others, it might simply be to have the visitor sign up for your newsletter or have them download a whitepaper. Not all companies sell online, but all companies should have a specific set of goals for what they want their website visitors to do. What do you want your website visitors to do when they visit you online?
Determine Your Website Visitors/Prospects "Pain Points" and/or Their Desires
What's a "pain point"? Think about this. Let's say you are a plumber, and a prospect visiting your website might have a stuck drain, or even worse an overflowing toilet – now that's "pain". Here's another example: Say you are a credit counseling agency. A prospect visiting your site might have unbearable debt. For the plumber, your home page or landing page should have clear information about your emergency drain service. For the credit agency, your home or landing page should contain clear information about how you can get your prospect out of debt. Too many websites are just informational when they should be more effective at promoting your products and services, and addressing specific "pain points".
From "Point of Entry" to "Call to Action"
Once you've determined the action you want your website visitors to take (Your Website Goals) and your prospects' "pain points", you need to decide how you move them through the process. Before your visitor decides to buy or take the action you want him/her to take, you need to establish credibility and trust – trust is the single most important obstacle to overcome online when dealing with a new customer. It's unlikely the person will come to your website and immediately buy your product or service. How will you help your visitor find the information he/she will need to make that buying decision or action? That you need to figure out and establish intuitive navigation schemes to make that happen.
Does Your Website Specifically Appeal to Your Target Customers?
Men and women like different things, and think in different ways. For example, men typically like vivid, darker colors - women generally like softer colors. If you are appealing to mothers for instance, your graphic design should be soft and nurturing. This is just a simple example. In essence, your presentation should appeal to the emotional elements of your target customers.
Present Your Content Effectively
Headlines are the most critical element of your content. Just like most people scan the headlines in newspapers and magazines to find the articles they want to read, your website visitor will focus on the headline, and then decide if they want to read. Too often companies "we-we" on their website visitors. That is, their content reads "we do this…we do that…we we we". It's not about you, it's about your prospects and customers. Tell them how they will benefit from what you do. In marketing, it's all about them. So, make your content all about the customer. Finally, be different. There are far too many "platitudes" out there. Think of a "platitude" as blah-blah-blah. For example, everyone says they provide great customer service – whether they do or not. If everybody is saying it, it becomes meaningless – a platitude. Be different. State your competitive advantages. Tell your prospects how they will benefit by working with you vs. everyone else. If you can't figure this out, you better try harder. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE famously said, "If you don't have a competitive difference, then don't compete". Make your content different, make it special, and make it beneficial to your customers.
Be sure to include these design techniques in your website, along with the other techniques shared last month. Do this, and you'll be well on your way to having a website that really works for your business.