Most people think of web design as making a website look good, but that’s all wrong. Sure, aesthetics is important part it. But the purpose behind the design is the action – does the website get your visitors to do what you want them to do?
When I visit a website, I make a decision in a matter of seconds whether I want to stay and browse, or hit that back button. Two things influence this for me. First, does it look good? And ugly, busy, or outdated website gives me a bad impression of the company, no matter how good their services may be.
However, that aesthetic appeal is only leading to the second factor – do I know what to do? When I go to a website, I’m looking for specific information. So does the design present to me clearly how to find what I want?
What’s your end goal?
There is a final end goal for every business, and that end goal should be the same for every website. I’m not talking about awareness or interaction. Those are secondary goals. The end goal is essentially what you meets your bottom line:
- A sale
- A donation
- A signup / inquiry
And for each of those end goals, there should be a page that represents success. This is the receipt page or the thank you page. Every element on your website should serve the purpose of getting people to that page.
What’s are the steps to that end goal (your marketing funnel)?
If you just put a bunch of “Buy Now” or “Donate” buttons all over your website, that would just be a horrible and spammy website. You have other goals for visitors to your site – read a blog, watch a video, signup for the newsletter, etc…
See all those secondary goals as steps in your funnel. How do each of those things lead people to that final end goal? If someone reads a blog post, is there a link to take them to a product page, so they can go to the checkout page, and make the purchase to the receipt page?
Is everything pointing to it?
Don’t expect people to browse around your site and become interested enough to take action. If you’re an ecommerce store, it’s a little easier – people are there to shop and buy.
But if you’re a nonprofit looking for donations, or a service-oriented business, your design needs to have clear options to take actions. Typically called “calls to action,” these are typically buttons, icons, and images that clearly communicate what a person should do next – take action towards your end goal.
Are you tracking & measuring your results?
By knowing the steps people take to reach your end goal, you can know if there is a broken link in those steps. For example, if you have a ton of visitors going to your site, but very little purchases, donations, or signups, then something’s wrong in that marketing funnel.
How do you know what’s wrong? Google Analytics. By signing up for an account and adding a tracking code, you can see exactly what people are doing on your site, and learn where they’re leaving your site.
So in the end, if your site is pretty but doesn’t actually tell people what to do, it’s pointless. If you’re looking for a good website design or redesign, make sure that the aesthetics serve the purpose of clearly directing people on what to do.
On that note, you’ll notice that though this blog post is aimed at helping you succeed, there’s also an end goal. Right below, as with every other post on this site, is a call to action for a specific service we offer. Since this post was on web design, it leads you to our web design services. That’s the purpose of design.
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