One of the benefits of hiring an expert in any field is their experience, of course. This is why I make it very clear that while anyone can build a website, it’s questionable as to whether anyone can build a great website that works in attracting the right people, talking directly to them with great content and converting them into a paying client and for you achieving a goal. If you have chosen to DIY your website have you thought about the goals behind your website? What do you want your website visitors to do and how will you guide them towards that goal using design, layout and navigation tools?
Before all the pretty stuff comes in, that’s exactly what a website design should involve. Each of the websites I design for my clients is created by first getting to know exactly what my clients business goals are, what they want to achieve and how their website can help them achieve those goals. I then get to work on how we can make that happen on a practical level, followed by making it look attractive to their people.
So let’s take a look at why identifying your website goals is so important before you launch into creating a website by breaking your goals down further and looking at what to work on…
Your ideal clients
Everything branding and website always, always comes straight back to this question. Remember that you’re not building a brand that you should love. You’re building one that your ideal clients should not only love, but be attracted to, interested in and connect with in some way. You can love it of course, but whether you do or not is irrelevant when you consider that you need to be getting inside the head of your ideal clients.
By designing your website to appeal to the desires of your ideal clients, you will achieve much better results. Make sure to spend some time working out who these dream customers of yours are, what their pin points and challenges are, what makes them tick and what they think is important and unimportant.
You should also consider how your ideal clients will use your website. Think about how they have landed there and what they’ll be looking for. Remember there can be different scenarios here, but think about making their objectives on your website as easy to achieve as possible.
Content that speaks to them
Once you’ve identified who your dream clients are how can you make sure you’re speaking directly to them? It’s important to get to know who they are in a bit more detail and remembering that your ideal clients will by no means just be one specific person. They will come in many different forms and have different reasons why they need a product or service like yours. Work on creating some online persobnas and as well as thinking about things like geographical area (if it’s relevance to your business) demographics, income, gender and location, it’s so important to dog deeper and think about their behavior and the challenges they face and problems they have that they wish to be solves (by you, of course!)
By creating online personas and thinking about what those people will be looking for on you site, it will help you to create compelling content that’s interesting and relevant to them and speaks their language. It will appeal to them and talk directly to them rather than being too general or trying to speak to the masses.
Organising your site
It’s so important to identify what your website goals are before taking this step. To organise and prioritise the layout of your site, you’ll first need to know what you want your website visitors to actually do when they’re on your site. This comes back to those customer personas you put together and the scenarios you took them through. Make sure to prioritise what the main goals are for your site here. If you’re a service based business, you might want to get more leads, more sign ups or get more people to get to know you by reading your blog posts. This might all depend on what stage you’re at in your business and these goals can change over time, which is why it’s so important to see your website as a living, changing thing rather than something that can be finished and set in stone.
At any one time you might have any number of goals, but make sure to identify what the main, overarching goal is at any given time so you don’t confuse your website visitors too. Let’s look at organising your website in the context of your home page as this is the best example of how prioritising really works. Your homepage is a powerful place where most of the traffic coming over to your site will first land. This means it’s really important to give your website visitors a great first impression, but also to tell them very quickly what you want them to do next. If your goal is to get them to shop with you, you need to tell them that right away with having that as your very first call to action.
It’s a good idea to then see your home page as a kind of ‘index page’ that sets out all the other pages on your site and therefore, your sub goals. Perhaps you want your website visitors to see your portfolio and then from there you want them to get in touch with you. Maybe it’s important that they learn more about your process and your prices before you ask them to get in touch with you. Tell them that. Prioiritising your website content so that you guide your website visitors via sections or pages on your website is so important.
Navigating towards your goals
So elaborating on the above with prioritising, it’s also really important to test the navigation of your website to make sure you are giving your website visitors a great experience. User experience can improve your overall SEO rankings and Google really knows how your website works, what puts people off and even when people can’t find something on your site, so this is super important.
To test this out, put yourself in your website visitors shoes and again think about the scenarios your ideal customers might come to your site with and how they might find what they’re looking for. Is it simple? Is it too complicated? Try to allow them to find what they’re looking for in as few steps as possible. Your website users will have surprisingly short concentration spans and you know how many distractions we have all over the place these days.
Another important thing to consider with navigation is to make sure there are no dead ends. When you get all the way to the bottom of a webpage, is there a call to action to tell your website visitors what to do next? If not, this is what I’d call a dead end and a point at which in just a few milliseconds they might think about what’s for dinner and start googling a recipe, or get distracted by all the other tabs they have open. Your website visitors will need to be told what to do and if they don’t have instructions or something to do or interact with on your site, they can very quickly leave and lose interest. Make sure to keep them engaged, interested and tell them what you want them to do.
Keeping track of your site’s performance
This means setting out your goals and once your website is live and launched, actually tracking those goals. If you’re not tracking, how will you actually know if your website is performing or not? Of course, you’ll be able to tell by the number of sales or leads you’re getting, but also it’s important to know if your website visitors are all leaving on a certain page or at a certain section why this is happening and how to fix it. Make sure to have some kind of analytics set up to monitor the traffic on your site so you can see what’s going on and make changes as you need to.
So there you have a bit of an insight into why it’s so important to identify your website goals before any building even begins on your website. Behind the pretty with every site I build is always a plan for how to reach my clients goals. The strategy comes first and the aesthetics come from identifying who we are trying to attract and what will make them tick.
If you’re keen to learn more about how you can work with me on a website that actually works to attract and convert your ‘people’ into loyal customers and paying clients, then get in touch or find out more about how I work.