Article written following a conversation with two of my favourite web-designers: Rob Dewing of Northerwood, a WordPress expert, and Andy Wood of Pulse8, a graphic designer and videographer.

You will often hear people refer to a website as a ‘shop window’ for an organisation. Whilst we agree with the generic principle, in this day and age, we think we can do better than that.

We come across examples of websites that are trying to be all things to all people. To precis Winston Churchill, you can’t please all the people, all the time.  Is a fear of missing ‘something’ driving us to try to ‘chuck everything’ at our website?  The reality is that a truly considered design and structure will attract and retain far more customers than a ‘shoe-horning everything in’ approach. 

Perhaps even worse are those websites which just don’t have enough content.  Not enough information for visitors to understand what you do and not enough information for search engines to list you appropriately. A disaster for your SEO ranking on both counts.

In other words, we’re looking for the Goldilocks of websites – one that is ‘just right’. But how do you know what is just right for your customers?  You put yourself in their shoes and map the journey they will take through your site.  This will give you give you a clear structure and idea of the information and calls to action required at each stage of their journey.

It also helps to set some goals for your site.  Do you need it to be about awareness raising or sales?  Is it mostly for returning customers or new leads?  Is it an online catalogue or more of a community resource? Be clear about what you want from it and don’t expect it to achieve things you haven’t built it to do. 

And, yes, it is possible to have one website with multiple goals without resorting to the ‘chuck everything in’ approach.  You simply need to think about clear directions for visitors; perhaps have different landing pages for each audience, so you can build their journeys differently, for example.

Not all websites are the same because they shouldn’t be.  They are needed to perform different functions for different organisations.  If you can get yours functioning ‘just right’, then improved SEO rankings will follow.

If you’d like some tips on planning your website content, try the blog I wrote earlier this yearIs your website losing you business?“.