The average person spends less than 15 seconds on a website. Does your site capture their attention that fast and help them find what they need? There's really no shortcut for smart design and organizing content intentionally, but there is a simple process I can share with you to help make your site more effective and convert visitors to clients.
When I design websites for clients they have the option of providing content, or having me write it for them. Either way, creating great content is usually a team effort. Understanding content mapping and user personas will undoubtedly make your content more effective, and more enjoyable for users, since it will cater to them. All of that results in return visitors and conversions to clients.
STEP 1: User Personas
This is a fun exercise. User personas for a website are descriptions of the types of people that would be on your website. For my business, this could be people looking for branding or web design services for many different industries. You generally want to think of two or three types of people that embody your typical users, and they sometimes have different needs. In a way you're designing one website with several different experiences. That can get messy really fast without a plan.
We'll continue with an example of a small business owner that could be a web design client. You'll begin with their demographics, and then get creative with a description of their daily life, then finish up with how you can help them. Let me be clear that these are completely made up, but they should reflect the ideal person that is looking for a specific product, feeling, or lifestyle from your company.
This section is pretty self explanatory, it can help to do some online research, or even go to a local business similar to yours, or a coffeeshop, to observe everyday people and see which ones might be your type of customer.
During this portion of the description, you'll get into the details of your user's lifestyle. What's important to them? What challenges do they have that you can help solve? What are their needs and preferences?
CARES MOST ABOUT/GOALS
THEIR FAVORITE APPS/SITES
How Can I Help?
Now that you've thought through the details of your typical users or clients, let's get to the point - how can you help them? Getting into the details of their unique life experience provides insight for a niche problem you're solving for them. Then you align your content to explain to them how you'll solve their unique problem.
STEP 2: User Flow
The next step is to think of the top 1-3 actions you want your users to take. We're going to combine these steps with your user persona to create the perfect user flow.
How will these people find the information they need, or that you want them to find, on your site? You've pinpointed the problem you're solving for them, now you'll need to put the solution - your product - front and center. Your landing page is the first section of the home page that loads when someone goes to your site, think of a great tagline that quickly explains your services or the problem you're solving with your product, and bonus points if you can Start with Why you do what you do.
The next important aspect of a great landing page is the call to action, or CTA. This is the button you usually see at the bottom of a landing page that says "Learn More," "Sign Up," or "Buy Now." What is the most important action you want your users to take? Link that information or page here. It's optional but sometimes smart to included your phone number in your header (the section at the top where your menu is) if that's the main way you sell or service clients.
They could choose to scroll down and learn more, or maybe they go straight to the menu to find what they need. The point is to think about the flow of actions. You want them to reach their destination (relevant info, product purchase, client booking) in as few clicks as possible.
A great tip for if you have users looking for completely different things, is to have a section right below the landing page with buttons for each of those to direct a user to their niche. Like on my site for example, my CTA is a client booking button, but you can find the specific service you need in one click from the menu, or in the section below the landing page offering a link for branding, web design, or marketing/support.
STEP 3: Write and Structure Content
Now that you understand your users and how they'll navigate your site, you should have a list of pages you'll need content for. The basics are usually home, about, services, contact, but depending on your business there can be five to hundreds of pages.
As you begin writing content for your pages, remember you have about 15 seconds, so less is more. Write everything out, and then cut back to only what those users need to know. Break large blocks of text into paragraphs, lists with icons, or even an infographic. Remember there's a difference in informing your users, and selling to them. Focus on content that uses what you know about them, and tells them how you'll solve their problem, while being informative.
I like using notecards for this. Design your user flow with a flowchart on paper, write the names of each page on a notecard and spread them out, then begin writing the headings or key sections you'll want on each page's card.
STEP 4: Add to Site
I won't address design in this blog, but if you have a big project, you can sketch out your pages in black and white on paper or in Illustrator/Photoshop to determine where you want your written content and images to go on your site pages. Then, you would go in with design elements like colors, fonts, and upload images and graphics.
You can use an online click and drag platform like Wix or Squarespace and begin adding written content to a template page that you like. Remember your user flow and begin with your homepage, and main menu, then add additional pages. Always keep your formatting consistent throughout your pages.
STEP 5: Look for Gaps
Now go through your site as one of your users. It never hurts to add an extra button here and there to direct people to more information that relates to what they're currently looking at, but make sure it's not too distracting or overwhelming.
Does the flow of information seem logical and natural?
Can each type of user access the information they need in less than three clicks?
Are your most important CTAs and contact info easy to find?
Once your site is live, check your analytics and make changes as needed to direct users to the CTAs that are relevant for your business. If people are leaving after just looking at your home page, brainstorm some ways to catch their attention quicker, add a video or quick links and see if that helps.
What is your most popular page? Maybe add more info about that to your homepage. Have a special event coming up? Create a banner on the homepage to direct people to a page for that. The great thing about click and drag website platforms is how simple it is to make changes and updates. I hope these tips help you edit your current content, or create a new site for your business. As always feel free to contact me if you need more guidance or a quote on a project.