Websites are amazing! And I don’t just say that because I build them everyday! Every business can benefit from having a digital presence. It is a great tool for businesses to engage with clients, provide extended information on new products or just to represent themselves as a brand.
So what is the purpose of your site? Many people are aware of this from the start of a project but it may get lost in the barrage of emails about color palettes, logo designs and the endless edits that need to be made. Even with the clearest understanding before building a site, this can change and grow as you begin to build. Maybe you realize there are a multitude of ways your website can be an asset to consumers or you realize you want to focus in on only one. Either way you’ll find some amazing ways your business can benefit from having a little space in the web universe dedicated to your brand.
So Back to Finding Your Web Development Purpose
An example would be any e-commerce site. Yes, of course the purpose of a digital storefront is for someone to purchase a product or service, but how do they get to that end point? Do they browse around all the products? Do they land on a landing page specifically designed to introduce a new product or service? Or are you hoping they will know exactly what they want before they even open the site? As a consumer, I myself have made online purchases in every journey listed above. I have “window-shopped” on a site, opened a promotional email that lead me to a landing page and I’ve gone to a site to purchase a specific product. (I’m looking at you Banish.com)
Whatever your customer journey, it is important to keep a clear customer path on your site. Here are a few tips on how to develop a road map on your site (as told by gifs from the cast of New Girl) *shout out to my favorite show*
Purpose Tip 1: Think, Write, Strategize
What is the true purpose of your site?
-To complete a purchase?
-To subscribe to your blog?
-To enroll in a program?
-To inform about an event, project or social idea.
-To promote yourself as a public figure, CV or online portfolio.
The list goes on and on.
Take an hour or so to really see the endpoint and goal that your website will accomplish for not only your business but for your consumer as well. Users want to see that you’ve thought this site through and have made it accessible to them!
Purpose Tip 2: Establish a Set Customer Journey
It should be noted that this journey may evolve over time and will evolve as your company natural will also.
This step should be done before the sitemap is even created, but at the latest before the site launches. Figure out the main website questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why.
-Who is your customer base or demographic.
-What are they trying to accomplish on your site?
-When are they arriving to your site? (Browsing phase, promotion based, product specific etc..)
-Where do they go? Or how do they accomplish your goal? To the shop. To the blog. To the cart.
-Why should they come back?
Other than accomplishing your goal you obviously would like them to become reoccurring customers. So at the end of their journey (Yay! They accomplished their/your goal!) give them a new journey to venture on. Clearly laying out a purchasing process on a homepage (step by step) or having a clear enrollment process will help guide your customer around you site and ultimately to your endpoint.
Purpose Tip 3: Complicated can be Compromising
Yes, we all want the most modern/flashy/artistic site that the online world can offer and trust me developers WANT to build them but users don’t often want to use them. Maybe not even WANT but CAN’T user them. They get stuck before they can even pass the hero image. Modern is great for presentation but not for engagement. If it’s too complicated to use a customer will quickly become frustrated and find another place to browse. Menus for example are becoming the new playground for developers and designers. Placement changes, new animations and ideas make them awesome to play with, but first you have to find them! What is the most frustrating to someone beginning their journey on your site? When they can’t find the starting line.
Blow your consumers away with the quality of your site and products or services and not with the un-usability of your site. Websites can be beautiful and eye-catching with simple consistent tactics. Beautiful high res imagery, well laid out content and easy of use for example. You can build a site for almost anything. Grumpy cat has a site! If you’re curious it’s here. Yet even that site has a true purpose; to sell you Grumpy cat merchandise and kill hours of your time looking at the adorably permanent scowl of a cat.
Developing a website, as a developer or business owner, is a great time to delve into your customer personas. Get to know them, interview a few if you can and figure out how to make your users experience even better. An easy to navigate, well thought out and purposeful site will keep users coming back well beyond checkout or subscribing.
Now please enjoy these unnecessary but enjoyable New Girl’s gifs that did not make the blog. (Yet I squeezed them in)