When was the last time you visited a website and didn’t get what you were looking for? Maybe the site was too confusing or maybe the site looked great, but you didn’t know what to do next. So you ended up clicking the most used button on the Internet – the back button. Keep in mind that your website is like a box of chocolates.
“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
Mama Gump’s motherly advice was not only applicable to life, but also to the Internet. Your website is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Website usability nowadays is also like a box of chocolates.
What is the primary purpose of your website?
“Because I have to…”
“To build my brand…”
“To get traffic and leads for my business…”
I ask this question a lot, and the above answers are pretty typical of the responses I hear from business owners. Sometimes people know and understand the purpose of their website, but when I go to analyze it, I’m frequently baffled.
I believe the primary purpose of a website is to tell visitors 3 things:
Here’s what we do.
This is what it will do for you.
And here’s what to do next.
Who Is This Article for?
You may be wondering if this is relevant to you. This article is for small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs and anybody else who has a stalled website that isn’t getting traction.
When you’re done reading this article, you’re going to be in a position to take action and start getting continuous results from your website. And Forrest and his Mama are gonna guide you along the way.
Don’t Make Me Think
“Stupid is as stupid does.” What does that even mean and how does it apply to websites? It means that an intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid. You are what you do. In the case of websites, it comes down to this: judge your website by what it does and the continuous results it produces.
Remember that the primary purpose of your website is to tell visitors 3 things: Here’s what I got…here’s what it will do for you…and here’s what to do next. Does your website do that?
I recently heard a great website usability test from Andrea Warner (@andreawarner) of WhichTestWon: Show your website to a 10-year-old and ask them if they get what you do.
“Fact of Life: We don’t read pages. We scan them.” – Steve Krug
That’s a quote from the master of website usability himself, Steve Krug in his amazing book, Don’t Make Me Think. (I highly recommend you read this book. You’ll finish it in a few hours and gives actionable tips on how to convert your website into a lead generating machine)
People scan websites, they don’t read them. Do you read every word on every website you go to? We’ve seen the best results when websites are easy to scan and clearly tell visitors what you do and how it benefits them.
This is probably the most important quote from Forrest Gump. It’s critical that your website explains things in a way your audience understands. Speak in terms that they understand.
Remember the primary purpose of your website when you’re creating content. Does your website clearly explain things so your audience understands them? There are two easy ways to find out:
1) Analytics: If your website is getting you the continuous results you want, then you’re probably doing a great job already.
2) Website Analysis: Get someone else, preferably someone not in your industry, to do a website analysis and see if they ‘get it’.
We’ve analyzed over 13,000 websites over the years and it’s amazing how many miss this key point. If your audience doesn’t know what to do next, they’ll click the back button and go to a competitor’s website.
Forrest’s best friend, Jenny, gave Forrest a clear call-to-action when she told him to run. Does your website have a clear call-to-action? We recommend having a clear CTA on every page of your website directing visitors to where you want them to go.
One way of doing this is to segment your audience. For example, if you’re a senior living community, you could put two buttons on your home page that say, “Searching for someone else” or “Searching for me”. Or if you’re a real estate agent, you could put two buttons that say, “Looking to Buy” or “Looking to Sell”.
Another way of directing your audience AND capturing leads at the same time is to offer something of value in exchange for their contact information. You could offer a white paper, a 1-page tip sheet, a set of tools to make the daily life of your audience easier, etc. The key is to make sure your offer is useful to your audience and your call-to-action focuses on benefits.
Next Step = Pick the “Low-Hanging Fruit”
The quickest way to pick the low-hanging fruit is to make sure you have a clear call-to-action. Direct your visitors to where you want them to go. Next, get a website analysis to make sure your website is set up to generate continuous results.
To your continued success,