Five Requirements for an Effective Web Site
An effective web site is one that helps you meet your business goals.
- Nobody is looking at my web site.
- People are looking at my web site but business isn’t improving.
- I can’t tell if the web site is doing me any good at all.
- I can’t see where my web site is helping my business.
If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. In fact, most small business owners are in the same boat. You’ve invested time and money having a web site designed but you just don’t see any real results.
The reason for this is simple. Most small business websites are not designed to be effective.
Creating an effective web site requires a lot more than just good looking graphic design, pretty pictures, and a flashy interface. Your web site is not an advertisement. To be effective your web site must be an extension of your business. Its entire purpose should be to help you meet your business goals.
The Five Requirements of an Effective Website
Creating an effective web site is not rocket science. It is the science of business which can be much more demanding. However, our development methodology guides our design with the use of the five basic requirements for creating an effective web site. Including these five basic requirements in your web site design methodology will dramatically increase the probability of having an effective web site.
Alignment is the process of ensuring that all processes in your business (including your web site) are aligned with your business goals. Simply put, you must make sure that each section of your web site works toward meeting at least one of your business goals. This is the basis for every section of your site and everything drives off of it. Without alignment, it’s impossible to have an effective web site. Even if it works great, it’s not going to be much help to your business.
Once you have alignment, each section of the web site must have a purpose that is clearly understood by the site visitor. The purpose is the foundation of each site section. Purpose defines the look and feel (graphic design) and the content of the section. Having a clear purpose helps you create this content and it helps the site visitor understand what your site is about. Make sure your web site clearly defines its purpose. Don’t let your customers try to figure it out for themselves.
They will probably get it wrong.
Every web designer will agree that navigation is one of the most important aspects of good web design. However, most designers view navigation as only the links and buttons that allow people to find the information they are looking for. The true importance of navigation is ensuring that the site visitor knows what is expected… what action is required? This is NOT the traditional “direct marketing” call to action. Rather, it is ensuring that the “purpose” of the site section is clear and that the correct action (the action you want them to take) is clearly defined. In other words, if you want the customer to contact you, make it obvious and simple. The vast majority of site visitors appreciate knowing what is expected. They enjoy having a path to follow. Even those who consider themselves free thinkers and prefer finding their own way appreciate it when the information they are trying to locate is clearly defined. You cannot increase the effectiveness of your Custom Web Development Toronto if the visitor does nothing.
Relationship Focused Content:
A relationship is required for any transaction to occur. In the physical world this relationship is taken for granted. Someone walks into your business, talks to a salesperson, experiences the environment and makes a purchase. In the virtual world, there is no person to help create a relationship. In fact, the virtual world is the home of non-relationship, where a user can wander anonymously around your site, purposefully avoiding the creation of any relationship. This makes it absolutely necessary to focus your content on creating and enhancing a relationship… a connection between the site and the user.
Relationships are based on two criteria… trust and emotional context. A person must trust your business and they must feel good about doing business with you (positive emotional context). While their perceived level of need for your products/services has an effect on the emotional context, your content must work to build on that need by providing positive emotional support for that need. Providing them with the benefits of your products/services is only one of many ways to build on that need.
Without measurement, you cannot methodically improve your site. Without measurement, you cannot know whether any change to your site improved or hurt the effectiveness of your site. How do you know you’re getting better if you don’t keep score? Effective measurement tells you if your web site is helping you meet your business goals.
These five requirements are essential to building an effective web site. It’s time to take a look at your site and ask yourself these questions.
- Is my web site aligned with my business goals?
- Does each section of my web site clearly demonstrate its purpose?
- Is each section of my web site aligned with at least one of my business goals?
- Does my web site effective in getting a visitor to do something?
- Does my web site work to build a relationship or just give facts?
- Do I have measures in place that tell me how well my site is working?