As a website owner, you must give your visitors what they want.
The main goal of your website is to “sell” your products, services or ideas. An eCommerce (Shopping Cart) site directly earns revenue by taking online orders. Informational sites seek to persuade visitors to travel to a physical location or request further details by phone, email, or signing up for a newsletter or membership. Whatever tactic your site takes, you must study the whole process from the visitor’s point of view. Right from the start, your web pages must be engaging and provide what people came there to find.
Keep the people happy
“Content is King!” This has been the credo of web designers and SEO experts from day one. Incorporate the “keywords” and “key phrases” your visitors are searching for throughout the site. Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines. The most popular of these expressions must be included on your pages in various places.
With endless choices for any subject, your site must be customer focused. Catch the attention of visitors within 3-8 seconds or they will try one of the other three million related sites, never to return again. First impression is crucial, so choose your home page headlines, text, images and colors carefully.
Capturing their attention within the first few seconds is most important, but you then have to make it easy to solve the problem that initially led them there. The home page needs to concisely explain how you can help them. It needs to have a layout and navigation system where visitors will quickly realize that their answer is just one or two clicks away. Don’t irritate them by requiring 4 or 5 clicks or by making it a game to guess which links may have the most pertinent details. Even if they “get lucky”, they may not be able to stumble upon answers in the future.
Web surfers prefer to sell themselves. In the real world, sales and marketing involves convincing prospects in person or via media to try what you’ve got. It often includes playing to their emotions to close the deal. In the cyber world, there are so many website choices that surfers continue to look for “free stuff” whenever possible. Without seeing each other face-to-face, it’s harder to play to the prospect’s emotions, so they know that they have the upper hand in that they can decide against you in one click of a key.
Knowing that they control the situation, your site must offer what they want, not what you think they need. Design the site from their point of view by providing complete information, answering logical questions, giving written and visual examples, displaying choices (such as colors and other options), displaying testimonials that people can relate to, and providing free samples! When prospects feel that a website is tailored to their needs, they’ll bookmark it or take the next step towards becoming a customer.
Know your audience
Keep visitors comfortable by designing from their perspective. Your site should reflect the values of your potential customers. If they expect instructions or FAQ pages or multiple photos, meet or exceed these expectations. When you really prefer that they contact you for certain information (such as pricing or custom specifications) at least guarantee that the details will be provided without sales pressure. Offering a free or discounted promotional item can also entice them to continue the process. Give them what they want and they will return for more!