Much of my time I spend looking at or reviewing websites and too many times I see websites that are simply missing the mark. Most often I’m seeing something that is created without much thought and often it appears that the website has been designed as an afterthought.
It’s a shame really since for most of us, our website is our storefront to the world.
If you’re building a brick and mortar business you’ll likely spend countless hours looking at locations to find just the right storefront. Yet this something that’s often overlooked by the online business owner.
Designing and laying out the pages of your website isn’t just about what you think might look right, or even what everyone else is doing. It requires focus and very strategic thinking. Do this with your website and you’ll be making it a lot more effective and see better results because of it.
Let’s cover what you need to be thinking about when you’re creating or redesigning your website.
Starting with the Goal in Mind
To strategically design a website, start with the end goal in mind. This should be the goal for your visitor. What specific action do you want your website visitor to take?
This could include:
- Purchasing a product
- Purchasing a service
- Signing up for an email list
- Spending time reading or learning
- Applying for a job
- Donating to charity or investing money
- Entering your sales funnel
- Contributing content or something creative
This specific action will guide all of the rest of your website planning.
Make It Focused
Strategic design involves making a website highly focused. You don’t want pages and elements that get in the way or distract from the goal of the website. Each page or element needs to have a specific purpose in aiding you toward that goal.
Let’s say want to create a resources page for your website. However, this page is full of external links that lead the visitor off your site. If you want to keep the visitor reading on-site, this is an element you should get rid of.
If you want to understand what makes a focused web page, look at a good landing page. A landing page has a single goal, to get the visitor to sign up for an email list.
On a good landing page, there is no element that does not lead the visitor down the page to the sign-up form.
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What Goes on in Your Visitor’s Mind and Your Branding
Although you should be focused on the action you want your visitor to take on your site, also think about the impression you leave in their mind after they leave your site. Branding is an important consideration in strategically planning a website.
When someone first hits your site, it should be immediately clear who you are, what you do, and what your core values are.
Everything on your website and each of its pages should be in harmony with this. One of the most important considerations is what pages to include or not include on your website. Plan out your website’s pages and its navigation and structure with the end goal and branding in mind.