Strategic Website Design for Real People

One of the most common questions I get is, “How should I organize my website?”

How to Design an Effective Website

I get it. It can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for creatives who love people, not tech. Still, we all know the website is essential. It’s the number one place your target market will look for more information about who you are and what you do. If your site is sloppy, your audience will deselect quicker than you can say, “Home page.”

Effective, well-planned websites can make or break your efforts to attract (and keep) your ideal audience. No pressure, right? (Insert eye roll here.)

Let’s break down this whole website puzzle with a good metaphor.

Think about the last time you had a guest in your home (or were a guest in someone else’s.) Assuming you like the guest, you want to make sure they feel comfortable and welcome. When they come in the door, you hug them. You show them where to put their stuff and point to the bathroom. Then you invite them to the kitchen where you pour a cup of coffee before you head to the living room to plop down on comfy sofas and talk about life.

Your website is your online home, so the same principles apply. You want to welcome a reader at the front door and hug them (your home page.) You want to show them around a bit, so they know where to go (the blog, your services, etc.) Then you want to pour them a beverage and plop down to get to know one another (your about page, your contact info, etc.)

You don’t want to ask them to leave. That would almost be rude! That’s why you put external links (like social media icons) in less conspicuous places, like your footer.

Once you have decided on the rooms in your house, it’s time to add some style. Just as the decor of your home reflects your style, the decor of your website (colors, fonts, images, etc.) reflects your brand. Whether your style is classic, minimalistic, eclectic, or something else, pick one and stay consistent on every page.

Finally, add some personal touches. Add elements that reflect your unique personality and your unique mission. Do you love worksheets? Add a few. Are you funny? Use humor in your headlines. Are you passionate about fitness? Use metaphors about working out. The idea is to share the part of you that sets you apart from everyone else. It helps your reader know you, like you, and trust you.

Once you have put your house together, it’s time to give your guest a tour! If someone were in your home, you would personally walk them around and show them where to find things. The challenge with your website is giving a tour when you aren’t directly in front of your reader.

You solve this by including a call-to-action on every page. Think of it as a self-directed tour. For example, when your reader reaches the bottom of your home page, you may say, “Check out my latest blog posts for more great information!” (Make sure you link to the blog page.) At the end of the blog page, you may say, “Get new posts delivered right to your inbox! Subscribe here!” (Link the subscribe page.) At the end of the Subscribe page, you may say, “Have a question? Send me an email!” (Link to your contact page.)

Remember, your reader is interested in what you have to offer, but they need a little direction to help them figure out if you and your message are what they need. Your website is an invitation to come in, look around, and stay awhile.

You will be the hostess with the mostest when you create an inviting online home for your audience.

Still have a question? Do you want to get more specific? Let’s work together! Click here to set up your personal Swayology session.