I’ve helped build websites for various organisations, including some very large, monolithic organisations. There’s one thing that sticks out as the most important thing that you must not do if you hope to have a successful website.
It’s a thing that many senior executives don’t quite understand.
And here it is.
You must not build a website that is all about yourself and your organisation.
Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, right? But it’s not really.
How many sites have you come across that have a page for the Sales Team, a page for the HR Team, a page for the Finance Team, etc, etc? There are plenty of these sites out there on the web.
A website should not be structured like your internal organisational chart, no matter how logical that might seem to you.
Because your ‘customers’ – and prospective customers – don’t give a toss about your internal structure. A public website does not exist for the benefit of those inside the organisation.
Despite what your senior execs might think, customers don’t care how professional your board of management looks in the photos on the About Us page. Particularly if the rest of their online experience with you is shitful.
Your website visitors are only interested in one thing: what benefit your organisation can provide to them.
And so it follows that you must build the website for your ‘customers’.
Your website needs to address your customers’ problems and offer solutions to those problems. Don’t prattle on about how good you are. Your customers do not really care about your organisation; they care about themselves and their own organisation. They don’t want to know that your company was in the BRW Fast 100 ten years ago. They want to know how you can make their lives easier and their organisation better.
So, when you’re scoping out your new website, put yourself firmly in the shoes of your customer. Come at the problem from a customer-centric standpoint. If I were Connie Customer, what would I want to see when I landed on XYZ’s home page? What information and functionality do I want to see at the top level of the website? What would make it easier for me? What compelling reasons are there to do business with this mob and is it clear to me when I first land on this website?
Heck, you might even consider asking a few of your existing customers what they would expect to find on the site.
Go to your website right now. Do a search and find all instances of ‘we’ and ‘our’ and consider getting rid of them in favour of ‘you’ and ‘your’. Even on the ‘About Us’ page – that page isn’t about you either, it’s about how you can help your customers solve their problems.
Stop talking about yourself. Start talking about your customers’ problems – and the solutions to those problems.
On that note, I’m off to tend to my ‘About Clayton’ page…