I recently had a client ask me about getting maximum utilization out of their new website. I didn;t care for the word they chose for measuring success of a webiste.
Maximum utilization is a good goal but not the thinking I take into a website. When setting a website goal I look at the maximum growth and more importantly the maximum conversion of that growth.
In every step of the process we expressly target the audience that can best convert to your goal. While your site may not have a tangible product it still is selling the experience of being the premier source of information for every person that visits.
Like any Labyrinth or maze you did as a child, I view the online process as something that is easier to finish when done backwards.
Step #3 The What
First, I aim to learn from the client the end result that a website exists to accomplish. All great strategies begin with an exit plan and your website will be no exception. The most important thing for a good web design to understand is what is the single goal we want at visitors to accomplish when on the website. This single goal dictates all the other steps leading up to it and lend themselves towards that.
The design, the menu and the writing style are all dictated by the end goal.
Step #2 The How
Stepping backwards to the next step in planning we look at the onsite funnel. This means the flow of visitors from the page before they arrive to our goal. In order to maximize this step in the conversion process we focus on usability of a website and putting things where they are “looked for”. Easy to complete forms and a call to action that ties into what the page is about provide an easy to locate outcome to every page. How this is accomplished depends completely on the previous paragraph and the desired goal conversion. In the case that we are brand building we provide easy to share designs that encourage and offer benefits to our social networks. In the case that we driving a signup or sale, goal completion has as few steps as possible, utilizes a less is more approach and is tested and tracked to assure the best possible visitor response.
Step #1 The Where
Now moving backwards to the initial phase of conversion for a clients website we look at the entry point to the website.
In this initial phase are action is once again dictated by the desired conversion of the website. The product you are selling and the experience you are offering help dictate the emphasis of inbound marketing that will be most effective. Inbound marketing is all about anticipating where the client will be looking for what we are offering. No online marketer should ever plan to just “try everything”. Every niche and website goal lends itself better to different traffic approach. We must evaluate far more than just “which keywords” people search for. We must know if our highest converting visitor will come from search, social, B2B sources, PPC, blogs and more. While we will implement all approaches to get the highest gross number of visitors from any source we will also target our message, tone and planning to the audience we expect the greatest response .
This above is how each step relies on the following step and how every website conversion is best planned backwards. We must make sure the design of the website funnels visitors to the goal with purpose at every phase. We must always make sure the website experience is what the source of our customers expected to find when they arrived.
This last point is what bring returning customers back to the website they now trust.