Just about everyone has a website today. Certainly, if you’re in business one
way or another, you have a website. And people have different objectives behind
their sites. Some are content-driven. Others provide an online service and have
sophisticated user interfaces. Others still are designed to entertain and amuse
their visitors. But regardless what your website is designed to do, there are a
few primary objectives you should keep in mind before you start building.
This first website objective is FOCUS. Your site needs to have a narrow
and specific focus. Why is this? Because there are literally millions of
websites out there and the visitors you’re lucky enough to attract will only
take a few seconds to decide whether they’ll stick around or whether they’ll
simply click the back button and continue browsing elsewhere. Within those few
seconds, your site needs to communicate exactly what it’s designed to do so the
visitor can decide if it meets his or her needs or not.
One of the best exercises to enhance the focus of your site is to establish a 15
to 25-word positioning statement that guides all your development activity going
forward. Think about it like a mission statement. It should articulate exactly
what your website does in just 15 to 25 words.
Another way to look at it is to do a Google search for a keyword in your field
and see what comes up in the results page. Under each listing, there’s a short
description of what that site is all about. As it turns out, the search engines
get that description from the meta tags on those websites but it’s exactly the
same thing. What do you want YOUR description to say?
Once you’ve established a positioning statement, you should display it
prominently on your homepage. It should be one of the first things visitors see
when they land on your website. And as I mentioned above, the same statement
should be included in your meta tags as your site description. That way, the
search engines know exactly what your site is about at the same time. And if
your site shows up in a search results page, that description will show up as
part of your listing.
The second objective is DEPTH. Again, this objective serves your visitors
as well as the search engines. Build a massive amount of content all about your
narrow business focus. That way, if a visitor lands on your website and decides
in the first few seconds that they need what you’re providing, they’ll go on to
find a ton of resources all about that topic, satisfying their need and
establishing trust along the way.
Depth of content helps your website with the search engines as well. Google uses
complicated algorithms to assess value to different websites and one of the
biggest things they look for is content. If your website has a narrow focus and
lots of content about that focus, it will get ranked higher within your area of
expertise. Google will consider your site a good resource for people searching
for your narrow focus.
The third objective is to make your site STICKY. This is a relatively new
term that describes a website’s ability to keep a visitor on the site. A lot of
sites do a fairly good job of attracting visitors but many of those visitors
take one look at the site and leave within a second or two. As I mentioned
earlier, the positioning statement can do a lot to help someone understand what
your site is designed to do. But you need more than that to keep them browsing.
The visitor needs to see immediate value when they visit your site. They need to
see something that will benefit them right away. They need to see something they
can use to make their own lives better. This is the foundation behind today’s
value-first marketing moniker. People have been over-marketed and have become
skeptical in clever marketing slogans. They want to see the value. They want
proof that you can deliver. They want to sample your product or service before
they buy anything.
You should spend some time and think about what you can offer your website
visitors as soon as they land on your site. It could be information. It could be
a tool or calculator of some kind. It could be a free subscription. It could be
an entertaining video or an interactive game they can play. Whatever it is, you
need to capture your visitor within seconds and guide them to something that
will benefit them.
Once they’ve received one piece of value, give them a second and then a third.
Guide them through a maze of value, encouraging them to continue browsing and
discovering even more. This is the key to a sticky website and you can get a
good idea of your progress by measuring your average time on the site through
your analytics platform.
There are a million different websites out there and they’re all designed to
achieve different objectives. But each one of those websites can be a bit better
by incorporating more focus, depth and stickiness. All three improve your
website’ effectiveness and all three offer benefits with the search engines as
Tactical Execution with Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a strategic company focused
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