There are a lot of professional websites out there that are a complete waste. And it’s not because they’re ugly or broken. It’s because they’re truly pointless. A self-fulfilling means to an end.
The owners of these sites never answered a very simple question:
What do you want your website to do for you?
Having a nice looking website is cool and all, but what is it actually supposed to be doing? Much like anything else, a website should be built with a purpose. You don’t build a house because someone told you “hey man, you should really have a house for you and your family.”
You build a house because you need shelter from the elements. You need a place to relax and get away. You need somewhere to rest your head.
Your home has a purpose.
Just like your business has a purpose.
Just like your website should also have a purpose.
What that purpose is is up for you (and your web team) to decide. There’s not necessarily a right and wrong answer here. Your website might exist to simply inform customers what you sell or when you’re open.
It might be to build a list of emails or schedule appointments.
Maybe you just want the internet to be aware of what your face looks like and why you’re really, really awesome. Your website can have multiple purposes. It will likely serve more than one function.
But there should be a priority that ranks higher than the rest. Once you’ve decided what that is, you need to drive your customers to that end.
It’s not enough to just get customers to the front of your website. You need them to follow through to the end goal of your website. This is where so many websites fail. They think the customers will understand the purpose of the website, and act accordingly.
Never assume your customers have ANY idea what you want them to do
On the average website, there’s 5-100 different places a visitor could go. Most of them aren’t going to bother searching around every page though. They’ll either become bored or confused and move on. They came to your website because you might have something they want, but they don’t know what you have unless you tell them.
And they don’t know where to go unless you show them.
Even if it seems obvious to you, it might not be to them. It’s not that they’re stupid; they just really don’t know.
Now, some people will say you have to treat website visitors like they’re stupid. That’s bad advice. You should never treat your customers like they’re stupid. You really shouldn’t treat anyone like they’re stupid.
Do parents raise their children as if they’re stupid?
Do teachers teach kids as if they’re stupid?
Not the good ones. People can tell when you’re treating them like they’re stupid. Even the ones that aren’t very smart.
Instead, simply guide them. Teach them. Instruct them. You have to show them the way. How do you do that?
You need calls to action
A “call to action”, often abbreviated as CTA, can take many forms. Most often, it’s a button that links to the place you want your visitor to go next. Usually, it’ll be preceded by text, a graphic, or a video that gives concise, relevant information.
For example, let’s take a look at our lovely Launch Runner homepage:
It says who we are, what we do, how we do it, and then it has a little button that takes the visitor to the place where our website’s purpose can be fulfilled.
We want people to contact us. Whether it’s about our design services, our hosting capabilities, our awesome internet marketing, or regarding some questions they might have, we want to connect with people.
If they’re not sure they’re ready to make contact, they can keep scrolling down the homepage and learn more about us. You want to give some freedom. Otherwise, you risk treating visitors like they’re stupid.
We don’t think our visitors are stupid. We think are visitors are awesome.
Building a Better Website
When we’re making a website for our clients, we work with them to figure out the purpose of the website and the calls to action that can fulfill that purpose. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
If you want a great looking website that drives visitors to a proper endpoint, one that delivers conversions and a return on the money you invested in it, we’d love to make that happen for you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page:
(Now that’s a beautiful call to action)