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> The Point (Thinking)

All Websites Must Do These Three Things

378 words, 1:53 minutes

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Whatever your online presence is for - running a giant ecommerce site, generating leads for long sales cycles, establishing yourself as a thought leader, affiliate marketing – your web presence must accomplish three objectives, in this order:

Validate – Design, navigation and load time will get you through this first step – which takes about three to six seconds for your visitors. Does the design and organization legitimize your business, association or institution? Are the products I want right there in front of me? Does it look like a company that can get the job done? Does it feel like an organization I’d want to join? Does your site provide a great user experience across mobile platforms? Is it what I’d expect to see when I come to it?

Educate – Now to keep your visitor. Content and engaging activity rule this step. Is the product or service easily explained? If thought leadership is your game are you offering valuable information on your visitor’s industry, issue or economic, political or social environment? Is your content easy and desirable to share? What can I do on your site for learning, entertainment or making a choice? Strike the right balance between free and gated content. And be hard on yourself – content is rarely so exceptionally good that people want to give up their contact information. Which leads to . . .

Motivate – So your content is great, your website design is fantastic and I can find things easily. I want to do business! This last piece is about removing barriers more than providing content. How many steps does it take to buy something? Are you going to make me work for my discounts? For lead generation, make it easy to contact someone – email, live chat, phone number. Analyze your online/offline process to make sure the response time is quick.

Whether you’re moving running shoes, light bulbs, plane tickets, networking equipment or anything else you still need to organize your website to move your customers through the decision funnel. Every website – actually every web presence, including landing pages, microsites, social media sites – should pass the validate, educate and motivate test.

Remember that your website is your 24 x 7 motivator. Is it working for you?