Websites are hard. If you’re reading this, you’re probably, to some degree, unhappy with your website. Whether with the design or performance, or both. And with so much information available it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Today I’m going to get back to basics with 3 things you can do today to improve your website design and make it actually serve its purpose.
Three Questions for Effective Web Design
At Cuthbert Media we’re heavily focused on the end-users psychology before diving into tactics or strategy. We take the time to look at the ideal customer’s motivations and priorities and try to figure out why they do what they do.
So, instead of getting into page speed or bounce rates today, I’m going to introduce to you the three questions people ask subconsciously once they’ve landed on a web-page;
- Where am I?
- What do I do here?
- Why should I do it?
They’re asked in that order too. So it only makes sense that we answer the questions in the order they’re asked – don’t make the user do the work!
It’s simply a matter of answering these questions properly, and you’re on your way to a website design that’s effective!
Where am I?
This one is probably easiest to get right. Open up your website in another tab and have a look at it. Where are you?
It’s important to note that your branding alone isn’t enough. Users need to know what kind of site this is, what business you are in, is this a blog or a company site? Are you selling something? What does this business do?
Branding is the beginning, but if your brand is ‘Harry’s Quick Fixes’ then you have a problem. I don’t know what you fix without looking for more information.
Assume the visitor knows nothing about you, remove your business name and ask yourself, do I know where I am?
Be crystal clear.
What Do I Do Here?
Do I browse? Search? Click on that big shiny button? Most websites have some sort of CTA (Call to Action) button on their homepage. It’s not 100% needed in all cases, but it’s a good place to start.
Take a second to consider what you want out of your website. What is your main objective? Use that to determine what you present to your visitors.
Make it clear and don’t try to balance equally between multiple objectives. For example, at cuthbertmedia.com our goal is to offer people a no-strings website audit. At our blog, we want to teach and help people with marketing their business.
If its an eCommerce store, maybe there’s a particular selection or category that you want users to browse. The answer to this question depends very much on your specific circumstance.
Determine the actions you want visitors to take and you can then tailor the website design towards that action.
Why Should I Do It?
The ‘Why’ part of this equation is The most important of the three.
You have to answer; why they should take the action you’ve presented AND why they should choose you over something else (or nothing at all).
If you don’t give a compelling ‘why’ then people will not take action and your website will continue to sit there, gathering dust and costing you money. The ‘why’ is your value proposition, or ‘USP’ (unique selling point).
Why is your business amazing? What does that mean for the customer? Why should they care?
Phil Clarke, at Nottingham Trent Universities ‘The Hive’, explained it like this;
“After you first answer the question, follow on by saying ‘which means that’ and then answer that. Do this a few times until you really get down to the reason people would do business with you.”
Answer the ‘Why’ and you’re doing better than most websites out there.
There you have it. Three questions to answer through your website to improve it today. Where am I? What do I do here? And Why should I do it?