Website Design and Content Are The Direct Path To Your Prey
Imagine your website design and content as your on-line business storefront and interior. The Home page greets would-be prey…I mean customers. Then there’s internal signage to guide visitors around your store. Ideally, there’s an easy-to-follow, logical and informative layout, and guide to the next possible department in your store (i.e. website page), where finally, you wait to devour them.
Just kidding. We should never ambush our customers or make them feel like their being devoured. But rather, we should guide them willingly, and informatively toward an end result. That being (hopefully) to buy something, maybe pick up a free offer, or at the very least contact you to learn more.
To understand your website design and content’s importance, it’s kind of like converting a real-world (3-dimensional) department store into something linear, intangible, and with read-only pages full of words (i.e. your content).
How do you make it clear you’re the one they should do business with? How do you let them know you offer various types of products or services within specific departments (i.e. electronics, women’s clothing, jewelry, children’s clothes, toys, household décor, etc.)?
Well, this is where your architecture and hierarchy come into play. This is part of the design aspect (aside from colors, technical layout and other).
How Would Your Store Look?
If you’re struggling with your own website design and content, consider how your business might look if it were a real-world store using a physical building to sell your wares.
How would you want to divide it up? And what kind of clear signage would you use to help customers find their way to the right information, products or services. In a website, that signage represents your menu and sub-menu titles. Using clear titles to reflect the content on each page is crucial. So having this picture in mind makes it’s easier to see how your website design and content might be mapped out for your visitors.
It’s worth sitting down and performing this task on paper prior diving into creating your website. With a comprehensive picture in front of you, your task is made that much easier. Plus, if you’re hiring a website designer to do the heavy lifting, you’re ahead of the game if you can hand over your vision of how you would like your website design and content to look in the end.
Your initial mapping might even look like something as simple as this:
Of course, this represents a traditional layout and is merely a suggestion –– to demonstrate a possible menu hierarchy for your website design and content, and to create a realistic visual you can work from. Sites with numerous services or retail offerings will likely require more sophisticated layouts and mapping.
But these days, many websites are laid out in a complex way, with busy, information-laden front pages. While it makes sense for some businesses, these layouts don’t lend themselves to every business type or service.
My contention with these new website designs is the bombardment of details that you’re assaulted with as soon as you land on the front page. It is possible that this onslaught of visuals and information may leave the visitor feeling overwhelmed – akin to being in a maze if you will. Perhaps even causing them to want to leave.
The fact is people are busy. They want to find what they need on-line quickly, and they want to be confident they’re in the right place. So it’s your job to make that happen if you want their attention and business. And the point is to offer a website design and content that flows, makes sense, and has interesting and useful information. Period.
Content should invite, create interest and intrigue, and compel would-be customers to want to learn more about you and what you offer.
Share only what has the potential to lead to a decision…
How do you do that? By sharing only the information they need to make an educated decision about whether they like and trust you enough to move forward in the process.
So what should your home page tell them? Well, visitors want to know who you are (i.e. your business purpose), what you do, and what problems you solve. If you satisfy that immediate search criteria within the first three seconds of landing on your site, they’ll continue onward. But where should they go next?
Remember that store with the signage?
It’s your job to lead them through your website design and content – onto the next logical step in their search – from one page to the next. You do this with what’s called, a “call to action”. Basically, you’re telling visitors where they should you go next for more information about something else on your site (and providing a link to that page).
You get the picture. Every page should have this call to action. You’re the tour guide. Give them a great tour.
Many business owners struggle, not knowing what information to share on their website. First, write only to your intended customer(s). That way you can have a conversation that’s more like a one-on-one chat, which creates a better connection. Then, always remember, ”it’s not about you”. I know. That’s a tough one to swallow. It’s natural that we want to share all the interesting and intriguing facts about our lives. Like how we love cats, or dogs, or fish, or birds…
But you know? No One Cares! Sorry. It’s true. People visiting your website are on a mission. They already have a plan and are looking at your website design and content to find the right business to fulfill their search needs. So when you’re creating your word wizardry, remember…it’s about what you do, how you do it, and what problem you solve.
And each page’s dedicated copy should bear this in mind as you share the specific details that relate to the menu title. In other words, your content should be visitor centric. Written with them in mind, using the following tips:
✓ Try to keep the sentences and paragraphs short (no one wants a novel),
✓ Have a maximum of three to five sentences per paragraph
✓ Use words with varying syllable lengths so you create a natural rhythm and cadence
✓ Break up your content using sub-headings that invite curiosity and intrigue
✓ Be crystal clear, and
✓ Avoid filling pages with unneeded fluff and useless detail.
SEO Still Matters
While your writing with the visitor in mind, you also need to think about how your customers isolate your website, amidst other similar businesses. What search terms or phrases might they need to punch in to find you? Those terms become your key words/phrases. They are the terms most likely used by searchers and are part of implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO improves your website’s performance and find-ability, and is an essential part of your website design and content. Don’t overlook this task, however tedious it may seem.
Seeing as I’m not an expert on the subject of SEO however, I’m not going to get into any further here. But be sure to do your own due diligence so you comply with implementation best practices to get found on the web.
This article only covers the tip of the iceberg as far as how you might create great website design and content that lead to business success. But at the very least, if you apply what you’ve learned here, you’ll have a good start to delivering what your visitors want and need, and some help to solidify your place on the internet superhighway of information and commerce. Then your prey…I mean customers will fall into your lap.
Your questions and comments are welcome below. Do share them.
And if you find this article and information useful, I speak to it in much more detail through the information products I share with business owners. Be sure to check them out. I want to learn more about writing better content here.