Thursday, February 5, 2009

Do people know what your website's purpose is?

This is a guest post by Sherice Jacob, a good friend and excellent resource who I met on Twitter. People ask why I twitter. This is one good reason. To meet interesting and helpful people. How often have you arrived at a website and wondered "What the heck do they sell here?" What is its main gig? It is very frustrating to scratch your head and wonder what the purpose of the website is - or is not.

3 Proven ways to create a clear purpose for your website

by Shrice Jacob

As I browse the web, get quote requests and work alongside fellow business owners to help them create or improve their websites, I’m seeing a disturbing trend - a lack of clarity on websites. Mine is just as guilty (”do you design websites or is it just a blog? Actually - it’s both!”), so as I work toward restructuring my own site, I thought it would be a good idea to cover some ways that you can carve out a clear purpose and focus for your own site.

This is by far the number one reason people get visitors to their site, but few orders. Your site may be attractive, but if your customer can’t figure out what you’re selling, they may just give up and go elsewhere. Here are a few steps you can take to write with clarity, purpose and persuasion.

1. More isn’t necessarily better - Make it painlessly simple for people to learn what your offer is. Can you describe your business in one sentence? Can you describe why people should do business with you in one sentence? Good - now, put those together and you’ll have a powerful USP (universal selling proposition) that tells in just a few words how doing business with you is worth their while.

2. Be clear on what your product IS - not just what it DOES. If you’re having trouble separating the DOES from the IS, keep asking yourself, “and what does that do for people?” For example, “iElectrify is a web design company that creates high-converting websites by combining the best practices of design and copywriting”

And what does that do for people? It helps businesses reach more customers, build trust and make more money. And what does that do for people? It helps them enjoy a fuller quality of life and enjoy running their business instead of letting it run them!

3. Write for Your Audience - This is perhaps the most important of all. If people don’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t try to make sense of it. To see how easy it is for your website to be read, click here and paste in a sample of your text, perhaps from your home page. The Writing Tool will grade how easy (or difficult) it is to read and understand. Obviously you should consider your target audience when doing this - someone selling financial services or practice-building methods for doctors would want their content to attract that particular group.

Finally, have others read your content too - especially someone who isn’t familiar with your website. Good places to get website reviews include and - though on Sitepoint, you’ll need to review 3 other websites first before you submit yours for feedback. Good luck!

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this article, you can find even more web design tips at Written by Sherice Jacob at iElectrify specializes in creating professional, affordable and creative websites that get results. With a strong background in internet marketing, copywriting and niche marketing, works with small to medium-sized businesses to help them easily create and manage their own websites.

Photo credit:

Greg Cryns The Mighty Mo - Exquisite Website Design and Promotion
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