Don’t Build The Website of Your Dreams

Don’t Build The Website of Your Dreams

When you hire a web developer to build a new website for your business, you may already have thought about what you want it to look like. You may have considered what features it will have. You may have thought about how you will tell visitors what you do. You may have tried to think of ways that you can entice people into purchasing your products or services.

I’m here to help change the way you think about your website. After working in the web design and development industry for well over 20 years, the vast majority of my clients initially walk in the door thinking about the website that they want. I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s your business, your livelihood — so shouldn’t your website should be what you want it to be?

No.

Build a website that your visitors will dream about.

It sounds crazy, but it’s not about you. It’s about your potential customers. You might like cute kitties and dancing bananas, but your customers probably don’t want to see that. They are looking for something in particular and they somehow found you — your website needs to cater to them and offer a solution to their problem.

Grab their attention.

You could say that the dancing bananas would catch the attention of your customers. Of course it would. But would it produce results? Not likely. The bottom line is this: visitors to your website are looking for something, so you need to call them to action. Tell them what to do.

Make it easy.

Some people want to get right down to business and hire you. This is the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) crowd. So your website’s navigation needs to be simple and to the point. Visitors should be able to quickly find what they want with a minimum of hassle.

Others want to research your company and the products or services you offer. But you need to provide this information without hampering progress of the TL;DR visitors. Be clear but thorough, and don’t ramble.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The design and layout of your website should be developed based on the audience. Think about your customers — what are they expecting to see? What will make them feel welcome? What will cause them to purchase something from you?

Put yourself in their shoes.

Ask your existing customers why they chose you. Was there something in particular that made them feel comfortable with you? Try to mimic that experience on your website.

Step back and pretend you are one of your customers. Then imagine what the ideal website experience would be for them.

At the end of the day…

Build it and they will come — as long as you build something that appeals to them. They are the reason you are in business. Putting out the welcome mat online begins with your website.

What if you already have a website?

It’s never too late to make it better. In fact, it is recommended that you perform a website refresh at least every 2 or 3 years to keep up with technology, web standards, industry trends, and legal precedents.

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About the author

Wendell Harness grew up in Hemet, California but moved to Oregon in the early 1990's. He's been a retail worker, land surveyor and a web developer. He's also a coffee snob and loves bowling. Wendell spends his days working on websites, then enjoys his family, friends and cats on evenings and weekends.

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