One question that I frequently ask small business owners is: “Why do you have a website?”. This seems like a rudimentary question at first. However, when you start to dig a bit deeper and ask this next question, some crucial strategic information may be revealed about your business that you may not have even thought about.
“What is the purpose of your website?”
It may seem extremely obvious why you should have a website. Every business should have one – we all know that (don’t we?). However, the reason why a cafe needs a website is completely different to why a carpet cleaner needs one. It’s all about what your customers want. Do they want menus? Do they want directions to your premises? Do they want your prices?
This is information you MUST know about your customers.
Begin With The End In Mind
As Steven Covey suggests in his book, beginning with the end in mind can be translated into business success by defining exactly what it is you want your website to do. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are my customers looking for on my website?
- What can I offer my customers on my website?
- Why should my customers come to my site instead of my competitors?
- Why should my customers come back to my website?
Once you have worked out the answers to some of these questions, you will be on the right path of seeking to understand your customers. An easy way to see what customers are looking for on your website is to use your analytics to identify common trends.
What are my most popular pages? Where are people going on my site and then leaving immediately because they can’t find the right information? What keywords are driving traffic to my website? Your analytics can reveal your users intentions for coming to your website – you just need to take the time to look!
What do you want your visitors to do when they get to your website?
Once you have done some initial thinking about the purpose of your website, you now need to define what it is exactly you want your visitors to do. Do you want them to:
- Sign up to your newsletter
- Fill out your contact form
- Purchase something
- Download a PDF or e-book
- Join your membership
- Leave a comment
- Read some important content
These are just a few things that you could have as desired outcomes for your visitors. Remember to set goals within your analytics and start measuring these metrics to track your progress.
K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, Stupid
Once you’ve worked out what you want your visitors to do when they get to your website, now is the time to make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish this task. Don’t hide it on an internal page. Don’t be subtle. You only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention and drive them towards your desired activity.
If you want your visitors to sign up to your newsletter, then put a big SIGN UP HERE feature box on your homepage. This eye tracking study shows what the important factors are when it comes to conversion rate optimisation and promoting your important information as prominent as possible.
Your website is your virtual shop front. Would you leave your contact information off your front main window? Of course you wouldn’t – you’d have it big and bold on shop front. So why wouldn’t you do the same on your website?
Sit down. Grab a pen. Write down the answers to the following:
- What is the purpose of my website
- What do I want visitors to do when they come to my website
- What is the measure of a successful visit to my website
- How do I encourage visitors to perform my desired action quickly and easily
Spend 10 minutes thinking about this and I guarantee you will have some powerful insights that could change your entire business.