What is your business website for? Typically, you want your website to drive business—to make customers buy your products and services. Whether you sell directly over the web or are using the site to get people to call you or to visit a store, the goal is the same.
Design toward your Goal
Every aspect of your site should be designed with this goal in mind. Every image, every menu item, and every word of copy should work to tell a story whose only purpose is to persuade customers that your products are worth their money and your website is worth their time. This persuasion need not be crass or overt—in fact, it probably shouldn’t be. But it should mesh with and complement a pre-established tone that you have set regarding how you wish to present your business.
Try to keep these things in mind when thinking about website design:
Respect your customers’ time and avoid indulgences.
Visitors on your site have their own agenda, and it’s not to leisurely read through pages of copy that you think are indispensable. Try this: visit other sites that offer products you yourself are interested in and pay attention to how long it takes you to arrive at a point where you are ready to make a transaction. Pay attention to how much copy you actually read, and remember these things when deciding what is important for your own site.
Know your audience and what their needs are.
Some of the things you believe are important simply aren’t. Utilize analytic software to see what pages your visitors spend time on. If you are getting good conversions from some pages but not from others, get rid of or rethink the pages that aren’t working. Don’t leave them sitting around for people to waste time on.
Engage the customer emotionally
—tell the story of how you will meet their needs by describing how your products will benefit them. Reinforce their trust intellectually by presenting the features of your products.
Provide an easy way for them to complete the transaction
(call us today/fill out this form/buy now).
Make their engagement happen as swiftly as possible.
Do not indulge in fancy design elements that do not serve these steps. Do not give visitors ways to get distracted or bored on your site. They are there for a reason.
By keeping these elements in mind in designing both the visual and textual elements of your website, you’ll be achieving your goal (selling to customers) by helping your customers achieve their goal (getting their problem solved).
The keep-it-simple mantra is oft-repeated for a reason—it works. Don’t lose track of your website’s goal, and your customers won’t lose track of theirs.