I’ve made over 100 websites in my agency and here’s what I’ve learned:
Before you continue: this only applies to businesses that sells a product or service. If your website is a blog or forum and you don’t have anything to sell, it probably won’t help you.
The right way to plan your website
Step 1: Set “measurable” goals
If you sell a product or service, your ONLY goal is to get more customers! To help achieve this goal, track the following “measurable” goals and tweak your website to improve the numbers. Primary goal: convert sales. This means either a purchase, booking, or lead generation. Secondary goal: collect emails. Not everyone is ready to buy, especially on their first visit. Don’t let them leave without giving you their email. Backup goals: support the primary and secondary goals. These might not directly relate to a sale, but it’ll support your goal. You can measure time spent on key pages or if they watched a sales video. This could also be press/media inquiries or testimonial/review submissions.
Step 2: Who are your visitors and what do they want?
When someone enters your website, they don’t give a shit about YOUR goals. They only care about what THEY get out of it. So figure out what that is for each “type” of visitors: (I’ll to use a “fitness coach” as an example) Superfans: this person is ready to buy and knows exactly what they want. You just have to make it easy for them to find it. Window Shoppers: this person has desires (like lose 20 pounds or get six pack abs) but they don’t know if you’re the right person for the job. Strangers: this person has no specific goals. They landed on your page because they you through Google search or someone sent it to them. Others: these are anyone who’s NOT your potential customers. (i.e. job candidate, press, vendors, etc.) Their goal is to find out if you’re legit.
Step 3: Find out what pages you need (and don’t need)
For each type of visitors above, think about the typical “journey” they have to go through so they end up hitting one of YOUR goals. For example, a window shopper who’s been following you might be interested in seeing success stories as well as pricing. Their user journey might look something like this:
Another example is a stranger who landed on your page because their friend sent them an article (i.e. how to get six pack abs). They probably want to know more about you, but not ready to work with you yet. Their journey might look like this:
After mapping every possible user journey for all of your audience, you’ll know exactly what pages are needed, or not needed.
Step 4: Set goals for each page
For each page in your user journey, write down 2 things:
- Visitor goals: for each visitor type, write down what they want to know or any questions they might have on this page.
- Your goals: your goal for each page is to guide them to the next page in the journey.
For example, for Success Stories page:
- Visitor goals/questions:
- Will this work for me (are there similar case as me)?
- How long will it take?
- How much does it cost?
- Your goals:
- Guide them to packages and pricing
- Collect email in exchange for a freebie
Now create a rough wireframe of the page. Keep in mind, you have to give the visitors what they want by answering their questions first. Once you’ve done this, you can add call to action for what you want them to do. Don’t forget search engines: some pages might not necessarily have a goal other than ranking on search engines (i.e. blog post). If this is the case, come up with the keywords you want to rank for, and optimize the page for those keywords.
Want detailed instructions with an example?
Don’t scare your visitors away
I saw an interesting TED talk where the speaker tells a story about a store in San Francisco that had 348 different kind of jams. She noticed that they have a lot of visitors, but their sales weren’t great. After doing an experiment, she learned that when people have more choices, they’re less likely to buy. Rather than making the “wrong choice”, they preferred to make “no choice” at all. This is a common problem I see on websites. Whether it’s the number of products or the overwhelming pages on the navigation, when there’s too many things for people to click on, they don’t click at all and just leave. Keep all choices on the website to a minimum. Never have more than 2 call to actions on each page.
How long should your pages be?
It depends… I’ll break it down to 3 different types of pages:
1. Sales pages
If the visitor to take out their credit card and purchase something, you’ll want to have as much information as possible. Every possible question that customer has should be there. The last thing you want is someone to say “I think I wanna to buy, but I just have ONE question… I’ll come back later” We all know that “later” turns into next week, next month, then never.
2. Lead gen or freebie pages
If you want someone to contact you, give you their email, or sign up for a demo, you want to the least amount of information as possible. For example, most people that contact us want to know how much it’ll cost and how long it’ll take. If we just give them the answer, they’ll just leave without putting in their email.
3. All other pages
It depends. But generally you want your pages to be as short as possible BUT as long as it needs to be. I know that’s not very helpful, but what are you gonna do… 🤷♂️
What to include on your homepage
When you walk into a mall there’s usually a directory by the entrance so you can easily find anything you’re looking for. Your homepage is kinda like a directory for your website.
Here’s a typical structure of homepage that I use:
- Hero: In a short sentence, tell them exactly what you do and give them ONE call to action. (i.e. product/service page or email form to get freebie)
- How can we help: Right below the hero, add a row of 3 to 5 shortcuts to pages that MOST of your audience are looking for.
- Sections: These are full width sections that serve as advertisement for things you want to promote.
How speed affects usability
Most people forget to pay attention to the speed of their website. But did you know that speed can also affect usability and conversion? Ain’t nobody got time to wait for your page to load. If it takes too long, they’ll just leave. That’s not all. Google will penalize websites that load slow and your ranking will go down. To test your website speed, use the PageSpeed Insights tool.
Want more tips like these?
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