What is the purpose of a website? I’ve had the good fortune of working with many different clients across a wide range of industries. A question I often get from prospective clients is, ‘Have you ever done a website in XYZ industry’?
A website is not really about the thing that you’re selling or the information you are presenting. Nor is it about you or your company. A website is about your prospect and their needs. And communicating in a clear, specific and persuasive manner to their needs.
Here’s how I think of a website. There is a specific person with a specific problem looking to fill a specific need. They came from somewhere, (be it Google, Yelp, referral, etc.). And they are looking for something (trying to solve a certain problem). Finally, there is a next step they want to take (fixing the problem they have, gathering more information, evaluate different options, etc…).
Here is the challenge when it comes to designing a website. First, you need to recognize that there is more than one type of person coming to the site. Second that each person comes with different needs, looking to solve different problems. The goal then is identifying who are the different user types who are coming to your website. Then to identify what specifically are the problems they are trying to solve. And then to make sure each user’s needs are clearly displayed in a visually compelling manner (people don’t like to read these days).
There are three main visitor types who come to my website:
- Head of Marketing – Here is one type of person I get quite often. They just recently started working with a new company, and they are now in charge of their marketing. They typically hate the company’s existing website and recommend a website redesign, which ends up being their first project. That is when they contact me. Concerns for these users are making sure the site can drive traffic, increase leads and that the site is mobile responsive.
- Website Admin – Another user type we get is the current admin of a company’s website. They generally can’t stand working with a website’s out of date technology. Or they are pulling their hair out because they have to pay their current design firm a steep hourly fee just to make simple edits on the site. Concerns for these users have a site that is easy to update and edit without having to know how to code.
- Business Owner – The last main user type to visit our site are the business owners themselves. The owner’s concerns can range from the cost of paying for a professional design to the impact a new website will have on sales and generating future revenue.
The truth is that we as a design firm will never know as much about a customer’s business as the customer does. The good news is we don’t have to. What we do instead is work with our customers to identify the major user types visiting the site, clarify what their needs are and make sure the site’s structure and design speak to those needs.
You might be asking yourself, “Hey! I thought you were a ‘web designer, really ’ but you function”spoken much about design. Why is that?” You might be familiar with the saying “Form function.”
Well, when it comes to website design “Design follows content structure.”
The design is just a way to facilitate the consumption and interaction with the content.
The content is there to meet the visitor’s needs and most of all to compel the visitor to take action.
That is the real purpose of a website: To the get a visitor, a stranger, someone who doesn’t know about you and your business to take the next step.
We work with a lot of companies in the service industry, so typically the action we want visitors to take is to fill out a contact form. Getting the visitor to contact you is the name of the game. Otherwise, what’s the point in having a great looking site if it doesn’t generate new business for you?
So there you have it, the purpose of a website is to turn visitors into prospects. And the way to do this is to identify the major user types visiting your site, speak to their needs and give them a clear action step to take next.
Speaking of taking action, if you’re looking for help with your website project, give us a shout to discuss how we can assist.