A successful website is one that helps you meet your
Do you want your website to help you grow your business?
Creating a successful website is not a simple process. You
cannot simply create a graphic design, write some copy, put it
all online and expect success. Creating
a successful website is a process that continues even after
the initial website design is completed. This process
requires a critical view of business and marketing processes and
a design approach based on giving your website the features,
functionality and content necessary to allow it to be
requirements for web site design is based on the basic
principals of continuous improvement and provides the basis for
a successful, effective business website.
Alignment: Alignment is the process of insuring that all processes in
your business (including your web site) are aligned with your
business goals. Simply put, you must make sure that each section
of your web site works toward meeting at least one of your
business goals. This is the basis for every section of your site
and everything drives from it. Without alignment, it’s
impossible to have an effective web site. Even if it works
great, it’s not going to be much help to your business.
Once you have alignment, each section of the web site must have
a purpose that is clearly understood by the site visitor.
Purpose is the foundation of each site section. Purpose defines
the look and feel (graphic design) and the content of the
section. Having a clear purpose helps you create this content
and it helps the site visitor understand what your site is
about. Make sure your web site clearly defines its purpose.
Don’t let your customers try to figure it out for themselves.
They will probably get it wrong.
Action: Every web designer will agree that navigation
is one of the most important aspects of good web design.
However, most designers view navigation as only the links and
buttons that allow people to find information they are looking
for. The true importance of navigation is insuring that the site
visitor knows what is expected… what action is required. This
is NOT the traditional “direct marketing” call to action.
Rather, it is insuring that the “purpose” of the site
section is clear and that the correct action (the action you
want them to take) is clearly defined. In other words, if you
want the customer to contact you, make it obvious and simple.
The vast majority of site visitors appreciate knowing what is
expected. They enjoy having a path to follow. Even those who
consider themselves free thinkers and prefer finding their own
way appreciate it when the information they are trying to locate
is clearly defined. You cannot increase the effectiveness of
your web site if the visitor does nothing.
Relationship Focused Content:
A relationship is required for any transaction to occur. In the
physical world this relationship is taken for granted. Someone
walks into your business, talks to a sales person, experiences
the environment and makes a purchase. In the virtual world there
is no person to help create a relationship. In fact, the virtual
world is the home of non-relationship where a user can wander
anonymously around your site, purposefully avoiding the creation
of any relationship. This makes it absolutely necessary to focus
your content on creating and enhancing a relationship… a
connection between the site and the user.
Relationships are based on two criteria… trust and emotional
context. A person must trust your business and they must feel
good about doing business with you (positive emotional context).
While their perceived level of need for your products/services
has an effect on the emotional context, your content must work
to build on that need by providing positive emotional support
for that need. Providing them with the benefits of your
products/services is only one of many ways to build on that
measurement you cannot methodically improve your site. Without
measurement you cannot know whether any change to your site
improved or hurt the effectiveness of your site. How do you know
you’re getting better if you don’t keep score? Effective
measurement tells you if your web site is helping you meet your