Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Purpose Driven Website

There are billions of websites on the Internet. Each one of them has a purpose, or so I hope that's true.

I hope we are are past the "I need a website because" stage.

I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with people that wanted a website but weren't really sure why. Here are the Top 5 assumptions for having a website.
  1. In this day and age everyone has one.
  2. If I have a site I can sell my widgets to everyone.
  3. Brick and mortar business and foot traffic is off, so I can make it up on the web.
  4. When people come to my site they will call, click or email an order.
  5. If I get a million people to my site and each one spends a dollar....
All of these assumptions assume that the website will magically attract visitors who will purposely and profitably interact. It's is NOT that simple. It's even tougher for localized business that require local interaction.

Before you begin a website, or redesign an old one, you need to answer these two questions:

  1. Why do I need a website, and what is the purpose of the site?
  2. If my website is 100% successful, what would it do?
It is not enough to have a website taking up a few thousand kilobytes on the Internet. Your website needs to accomplish a purpose - have an objective and drive visitors to a specific action or set of actions. What are those actions? Well, part of that depends on what your business or organization does. Here are some examples:

  • Purchase a product
  • Book a service or appointment
  • Get directions
  • Ask a question
  • Have a question answered
  • Get additional marketing information IE: features and benefits
  • Get detailed information about products and procedures IE: Medical procedures, user manuals
  • Customer service requests
  • Provide social interaction
Those are purposes for having a site. Of course there are other questions that need to be answered such as:

  • How will I be found?
  • What information an I offering to attract visitors?
  • What exactly do I expect my visitors to do?
  • Does my site have a realistic revenue model?
 I'd like to ask the question again: If you website is 100% successful, what would it do?