I hate to break it to you, but your web site isn’t about you

I got my issue of Website Magazine this weekend, and a line in one of the articles caught my attention. The article was specifically about keeping your graphic designer on a short leash, but this particular line is applicable to anyone who operates a web site.

According to the article, effectively designing a web page “requires putting aside your own corporate and personal needs — instead considering everything from the perspective of your site visitors.”

In other words…your web site isn’t about you.

It doesn’t matter what you like, and it doesn’t matter what the latest craze in fancy web effects happens to be. Web sites that sell are the ones that tell visitors in simple terms how they can meet the visitor’s needs, and then make it very clear what the visitor needs to do next to get those needs met.

In other words:

  1. Avoid the flashy (literally) stuff that you think looks cool but that distracts from your message
  2. Tell the visitor in short and simple terms how you meet their need
  3. Focus the visitor on what to do to get you to meet that need
  4. Keep the layout simple and uncluttered — focus the visitor’s eye on that call to action
  5. Sit back and watch the pennies roll in

Ok, so maybe it’s not quite so easy as putting up a simple page with a big fat “click me” button, but carefully thought out page design that focuses on what your customer needs can go a long way toward improving conversions on your site. Perhaps it’s time to take a more critical look at your site, and seriously consider whether your site suits you…or your all-important customers.

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