5 things every website needs!
Whether you’re building a new website or redesigning an older website, there are 5 things every website needs if you want to be successful. These 5 things apply no matter what type of website you’re building and regardless of the conversion goals that you have set. Whether you’re building an educational knowledge base or an e-commerce site, these 5 things are a requirement if you want to experience success.
1. You need to clearly define your target conversion goal
Conversion is any target action that you want a website viewer to take. It doesn’t matter if you want the viewer to make a phone call, to fill out a survey, or make a purchase…your conversion is the entire purpose for why your site exists. The conversion that you want the user to take should weigh in heavily in your design decisions.
For example, how do you generate a lead through your website?
A lead is a point of contact for your business that represents a potential sell. There are a lot of ways to generate leads- cold calling, networking, targeted ads and referral marketing…the list goes on and on. However, the most valuable leads you can have are Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) who are buyers that have expressed interest in your products directly. These leads convert up to 60% more often than Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
By clearly defining a goal to turn MQLs into SQL’s you can use social media and ad targeting to convince a user to join your sales database by generating a survey where the user fills out some basic information about themselves and then receive sales materials from your business to help close the sale of your product or service. Of course, you have to offer the user something of value in trade (but we will cover that in a future article).
With a clearly defined conversion goal in mind, you can better plan and track your success.
Think about it, how do you know a plan is working out if you’re making up your expectations on the fly? How do you create content when you aren’t sure what the content should be building up to? The answer is that you can’t…it’s impossible to know if you’re succeeding if you’re just guessing. Guessing isn’t a plan, it’s how you improvise in the moment…it can work in the short term, but for long term goals guessing is fool’s gold. You can plan for success by having a clearly defined goal that you understand.
2. You must clearly define your ideal target audience
P: No matter what kind of website you are building, your content is going to be appealing to some people and of no interest to other people. It’s your responsibility to know and understand your audience’s wants, needs, and interest. Once you understand who your website is trying to reach, you will know what types of colors, typography, writing style, and what level of engagement you can expect.
Build user personas to guide you in content creation catered to your ideal audience.
One of the more interesting ways you can help keep your web design on track is to use user personas to track “specific” people who use your content. These personas can be as detailed or as basic as you want them to be, but the important thing is that you see your potential audience and ask yourself what they might respond to. I usually build at least three personas that range in age and sex (if applicable) to help keep my content on track.
For example, if I’m selling video games, it might help to know that user 1’s name is David, a 16-year-old boy with a weekly allowance of $15 dollars, who enjoys loud music and plays his online games with other kids from his school. On the other hand, user 2’s name is Stephanie, she is a 32 year old with an annual income of $32,000/year, and she enjoys hip hop music, and hates online play due to the abusive nature of the multiplayer environment.
For David, we might want to highlight our used games which are significantly friendlier to his limited budget for games. For Stephanie, we might want to focus her attention on games with expansive offline campaign features. These two users will have very different focuses when they come to our website, but by knowing they exist we give ourselves the opportunity to cater to content specific to this audience.
3. You should offer your audience something that they want or need
When you build a website for your business, most people tend to think of what their business needs from its users. Unfortunately, a lot of designers take this approach to building websites…but the truth is that all successful websites offer their users something of value that they can take with them whether they do business with your website or not.
You will find more infographics at Statista
Think about it, with almost 2 billion websites (in October of 2019) to choose from, you are in deep competition with probably hundreds and thousands of sites for every niche. So ask yourself this, why would a user give their time to you and your website?
Simple: because you are going to give the user something that they want or something that they need. In return, the user is going to give you their time and a small window of opportunity to establish yourself as an authority of your topic/business/service. The greater the value you create and offer, then more time and opportunity you have to convert your audience.
4. You need to create a user-friendly design
Your website should be created to cater to your audience. Ideally, your site design should be visually appealing, your design hierarchy should be clearly obvious and help the user to know what to expect from the content at a glance, and the content should be readable by scanning your content.
Images on your website should support your written content, and be created and formatted in a way that doesn’t leave your user guessing as to the context of the image.
Site navigation should be clear, logical, and it should be laid out in a way that carries your user down a specific path. And while flashy animations look cool, you should never lock site functionality behind an animation or media player.
In other words, your user must be able to understand your navigation and be able to form clear expectations for any link they click on. They must be able to skim through your written content for the information that they came to find, and your images should be formatted in a way that makes sense to your site’s content.
5. You need to create unique and compelling content
Finally, the 5th goal every new website should set for success is that you always need unique and compelling content. Even if your website is curating content from other websites, the way that you approach your curation should tell some sort of story. So for example, if you wish to curate viral cat videos think of what your chosen videos have in common and make your content offer some novel observation. So maybe your article is titled “5 of the cutest times a cat made friends with a robot”. Your supporting content would then essentially be your own observation and reviews of videos that people have seen in other places, but if your content is unique enough, you’ll stand out.
You can also cover concepts that have been covered by other writers, but as long as your approach is your own views and ideas, your content stands a good chance of being interesting to someone. The important aspect of creating unique and compelling content is that it stands out in the way it is written.