Designing your website with a purpose

Author - Alex Price

Posted By Alex Price Founder

Date posted 25th Sep 2016

Category Blog, Design


Anyone working in or around the website design industry will have heard the following phrase many times before:

“We’re looking for a really simple site – it’s really just a brochure site.”

Normally the justification that follows goes along the lines of:

“Our website doesn’t do anything functional and we don’t use it for new business…”

Which is then further backed up by:

“All of our customers hear about us through word of mouth, we just need a nice site to send them to.”

And so the story begins to unravel. So why do you need ‘a nice site to send them to’? Is it because they want to check you out? Learn more about what you do? Confirm you are reputable? Know more about who you are?

It turns out that the ‘brochure’ site isn’t just a brochure site after all, and in fact there is a real purpose to your website – as there is to every website. There is something that users need to find out or do that goes beyond just presenting them with a page of information like a brochure, and the fact is that serious time needs to be put aside to fully understand those users, their needs and how a website should cater to them. Even if you do meet new customers offline to begin with, not considering them in the design and build of your website could mean at best lost opportunities, and at worst the nail in the new business coffin.

This is something we run into a fair amount at 93digital. We receive a new request for proposal (RFP) outlining how a new marketing strategy is being rolled out and so a new website is required, but the prospect is not willing to invest the time in really thinking about the goals of the site and understanding their audiences, acquisition channels and how new business generated through a site is attributed. Being goal focused goes beyond just making sure that your website looks nice and the user journey is mapped out carefully for your visitors.

If you’re investing in a new site, why not take the time to make sure the foundations are in place to add real value? Even if you do meet all of your customers offline and you don’t need a site that carries out a specific function. Why would you not use the site to publish content that defines you as a thought leader with a carefully thought through blog that encourages content sharing? And get potential customers to sign up to a mailing list with clear call to actions? Or follow you on social media with well placed social icons? Or download a piece of content (maybe a case study, whitepaper or resource) that captures some of their contact details?

Of course ideally they will contact you through the site, but these ‘microconversions’ listed above taking place on your website could end up adding serious long term value to your business or organisation. But again they will only be effective if the time is invested at the start of a website project in carefully analysing data, understanding your target audience, what they are looking for and how your website reflects this.

If you head into a website project with the mindset that it’s ‘just a brochure site’, then you will end up with exactly that. And just like how many readers of a brochure will have a flick through it before moving on, your website visitors are likely to do the same.

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