blood-spatter-wall1Today I looked at a website and wondered ‘What on earth are they thinking?’.

The site was crammed with text blocks, ad-hoc advertisements and images. It looked like someone had taken stuff and just thrown it at the proverbial wall hoping it would stick. It was quite clear that no thought had gone into the structure of the website.

A website is just a tool. Nothing more. If it does not fulfil a specific goal or strategy of your business then you are wasting your time and money.

You have exactly 4 seconds, if that, to grab people’s attention on the internet. Internet users are inundated with information and 9 times out of 10 they are browsing the internet for a solution to a specific problem or to learn something new about a particular industry. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they are gone.

Case study

In the case of the website I saw today I realised one primary problem with their site. They are an online and print publication business that focuses on a particular niche. They produce both an electronic and physical print version of their publication each month which is provided free of charge to their subscribers.

Their revenue is generated from advertisers in the print and online versions of the publication.

I am assuming that they want to be profitable. In order to do so they have to attract more advertisers who are prepared to pay a premium to be featured in their publication.

How do you attract those kind of advertisers? By having an exceptionally large reader/subscriber base. So the question is: What should their primary focus be when someone lands on their homepage?

What is the first thing that a website visitor see? The answer is a signup form for either the electronic or print version of the publication.

Using email management software like MailChimp, Aweber or GetResponse etc. they now have proof of the number of subscribers they have to their publication.

This is a rough mock-up of what I would suggest for them.

Signup Form

It has to be at the top of the page because people very seldom scroll down. If you installed heat tracking software on your site you would quickly identify that most visitors never go down past the ‘virtual’ fold.

What’s the next step?

Now that they have the reader’s email address they need to decide where they want to send the reader to after that. Possibly in this case they want people to read some of their latest blog posts. Again, it all depends on what the company’s strategy and goals are.

Using the email management software they have the option to redirect the reader to whatever page they want to on their website. The aim is to keep the reader on their website for as long as possible.

How YOU can stop wasting your time and money.

Before you hire someone to build your website, follow the steps outlined below. These are just some basic guidelines to help you get started:

  • Identify your company’s strategy and goals
  • Identify your target market
  • What exactly is the purpose of the website
  • What do you want people to do when they land on your site
  • What do you want them to do next

All the other stuff is just ‘fluff’. If you have grabbed someone’s attention, only then will they be interested in going through the rest of your site.

You can see an example of how I have put this into practice for my own business:

Image source: Daily Write