As a web designer and after developing hundreds of websites for clients all over the world, we found that creating a successful redesign still just comes down to answering seven key questions.
Here are the seven questions we ask every business owner when designing their website.
Question 1: What do your customers want?
There’s a five second rule when you’re looking at a Web site.
The rule is: With 5 seconds of looking at a website, even your grandma should know what they offer.
There’s no point in having a beautifully crafted website if your visitors won’t have a clue what you do within 5 seconds.
Ask yourself what your customers want and whether they can identify what it is within 5 seconds of visiting your site.
Question 2: What is your customer’s external, internal and philosophical problem?
Most businesses make the mistake of only focusing on their clients’ external problems, whereas deeper motivations are often the real driving forces behind buying decisions.
For example: A landscaper fixes the apparent issue of having an overgrown garden. That’s the external problem. However, a wild garden is not what triggers us to call a landscaper.
When hiring a landscaper or lawn mowing service, we usually do it because:
- It’s hard work and we don’t want to do it. (Internal)
- We don’t have time to do it (External)
- We don’t want our home to look bad. (Philosophical)
That’s why we need to define all three levels of our customer’s problem. Only then can we provide them a solution to their problems.
Question 3: Whom am I positioning as the hero on my website?
Many businesses make the mistake of positioning themselves as the hero of the story.
For example, I’m sure you’ve seen businesses boast something along the line of:
“#1 Dentist in South Florida”
“Top Litigation Experts”
“Best Cake Decorator in Miami”
The problem is, although we are the hero in our own stories, our customers are the hero in theirs.
When they visit our website:
They aren’t looking for another “hero”. They want to know if our services and products will help them be victorious.
That’s why we should position ourselves as a guide, their “Yoda.”
Success give you I shall!
How can we position the client as the hero on your site? Instead of saying how great you are, point out how the visitor can be victorious by using your products or services.
Using the landscaping example from before:
If we know that our hero wants to look good in the neighborhood, we could have a big headline on our website that says:
BE THE ENVY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
This clearly positions our client as the hero. It’s not about us, or what we do. It’s about our clients (the hero) and what they want to achieve.
Now, we need to provide them a clear plan to get what they want.
Question 4: What is your plan for the hero?
How are you suggesting the hero solve his or her problem?
Once we communicate a clear goal that is aligned with what our hero wants, we need to give them the path to get there.
If we want our hero to “be the envy of the neighborhood”: They need to have a beautifully manicured lawn without breaking a sweat.
By getting their lawn cut professionaly. We can communicate this multiple ways on a website.
- Provide a nice large image of the action of cutting the lawn. This indicates the action plan to achieving the desired result.
- Write a catchy subheading under the title, like “Nothing beats a freshly mown lawn.”
- Go straight for a call to action, like “schedule a cut today”.
Any of these options allows a visitor to quickly establish what problems you solve and how to solve them all within 5 seconds.
Question 5: What is your call to action?
Once you establish your client’s desire and the plan to get them there, you need a clear and direct call to action.
Too many sites make their calls to action generic and lackluster. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of sites with calls to action like:
- Contact Us
- Learn More
- More Info
The problem is that these websites don’t say much about what the visitor will get on the other side of the button.
It’s like asking someone; do you want to do something? It’s too ambiguous and too hard to answer. You’re more likely to follow up that question with another question “like what?.”
Whereas, if you were to ask someone; do you want to go rock climbing? They will have a clear yes or no answer and know what to expect if they said yes.
Your CTA is the same.
Following our landscaping example, we can make our call to action something like:
“Schedule a cut today”
This is a clear and strong CTA. Their options and the results of their choice are obvious. If they want their grass cut, they’ll click. If they don’t want their grass cut… they won’t.
Chosing to have their grass cut is exactly what we want them to do anyway. It means new business for us, which is the whole reason why we got a website in the first place, right?
Question 6: What will the hero’s life look like after they take action?
We must help the hero imagine how what their lives will look like after we help them. What does it look like to be the envy of the neighborhood?
It’s gonna look pretty damn good. You walk out onto your freshly manicured lawn, look around at your neighbor’s unkempt, overgrown urban jungle…
…Then look back at your lush trim as you inhale the subtle scent of freshly cut grass. A warm and uplifting sense of pride and peace sweeps over you.
The question is:
How do we create this picture of a perfect future for our site visitors? Firstly, images are great tools. As they say, a picture says a 1,000 words. If you pick the right one, it can make the customer dream of their own future success.
Using the right words throughout your site is also important. Just remember that marketing is all about selling people something they don’t have, yet.
Have a section on your site that clearly outlines that “perfect ending” your client is looking for…
…which is only attainable if they click your shiny CTA button.
Question 7: What will the hero’s life look like if they don’t take action?
Pain is a powerful motivator.
Every hero only takes action when there is a villain lurking. It’s human nature to only take action when there is a risk of experiencing unwanted consequences if actions aren’t taken.
Think about it.
Every hero movie:
- The hero leads some kind of normal life
- The hero faces threat that creates the risk of losing something or someone (or everyone)
- The hero takes action
- The hero defeats the threat (but if they fail, they lose something they care about).
To create strong motivation, we need use the sting of failure or inaction.
In the case of a landscaper, failure means having a garden full of weeds, insects, and possibly even rodents. That’s no good, right. This could lose you the respect of your peers and even decrease the value of your property over time.
Make it clear what the visitor will lose if they don’t hire you. You don’t need to make it too gloomy, but just remind them why they need to take action, now.
There you have it!
When people spend thousands of dollars on a website, it’s often not the design that makes their website provide less than expected returns, it’s the messaging.
Get more leads with clear messaging by answering these 7 key questions with your site’s design and content:
- What do your customers want?
- What is your customer’s external, internal and philosophical problem?
- Who am I positioning as the hero on my website?
- What is your plan for the hero?
- What is your call to action?
- What will the hero’s life look like after they take action?
- What will the hero’s life look like if they don’t take action?
What are your answers to the 7 questions? Let us know in the comments section below.