- Recipe for a Great Website: First Ingredient: Use the Right Software
- Recipe for a Great Website: Second Ingredient: Understand Your Visitor
- Recipe for a Great Website: Third Ingredient: Give Your Visitor What They Want
- Recipe for a Great Website: Fourth Ingredient: Use Your Voice
- Recipe for a Great Website: Fifth Ingredient: Keep Safety in Mind
After selecting your platform, the second ingredient for a great website is to understand your website visitor, what they are looking for, and how you can help them achieve that goal.
In the process, if you can also help them get a step closer to liking and trusting you enough to become a customer, that’s even better.
Your visitor’s journey to get to your site
When your visitor gets to your website, it’s not by accident. They got your business card, your name from a friend, or heard you on a podcast.
Maybe they searched for something, and out of the 823602345 results, your site was on the first page, probably in the top three – and they CLICKED on it!
They started their journey with a purpose and chose your site as their next step. Maybe they are looking for a Mother’s Day gift, a local restaurant, or a DIY how-to to build a bookshelf.
Whatever their reason, they looked at your site’s name and the page description that Google showed them, and they decided you could help.
Regardless of how someone arrives, when they get to your site, does it move them one step closer to their goal? That’s your website’s job, to help them on their journey. To get them where they need to go.
Your visitor needs to trust you in order to keep going
The other part of helping your audience on their journey is that they trust you to help them get to their destination. Your website represents you and your brand, and I don’t mean your colors and fonts.
Your website’s visitors are looking for clues that tell them they can trust you for the solution to their problem.
Your website (and the rest of your online presence) shows your audience what it is like to do business with you and your business.
Your website visitors pick up clues from your content, your graphics, and, yes, your colors and fonts. But they also see if you have policies in place to protect their data, if you care enough about your visitors to have a security certificate protecting your site, and if your checkout process is simple and easy.
The attention to detail in the layout and functionality of your website tells your visitor whether you care about them enough to make your site easy to use and as helpful as it can be for them.
Your visitor’s journey through your site
Once you think about your website being a step on someone’s journey to their goal, go a little deeper. Not only are they on a journey that involves your site as one step, but your visitor also will travel THROUGH your site.
It’s rare that someone will click on a website and buy something without visiting any other pages on the site. They will want to see what your shipping and return policies are, maybe read about you on the About page. They might find blog posts about your product.
And maybe they don’t buy anything that day, but if you can wow them enough, they might get on your email list or follow you on social.
If you know your customers well enough, you can help them. You can have the most helpful pages readily available on your site. Linking to helpful blog posts from related content is another great way to help people navigate.
Clear and concise menus in the header and footer, a clean, uncluttered layout, and an FAQ offer visitors easy ways to answer their questions.
Some sites even use a “Start Here” page to make absolutely sure their visitors have a great experience.
Knowing your visitors, understanding what they are looking for as they come to your site, and helping them get closer to that goal – that’s the goal of every website.
Ready for the third ingredient of a great website?