Goal Oriented Design and Its Impact on Your Site’s Effectiveness

Take a 5 second look at your website, and then close your eyes.

What were the top three things that you noticed? If those top three things are not related to the top three things directly related to helping your business turn visitors into customers, your site isn’t implementing Goal Oriented Design principals.

Goal Oriented Design is a layout philosophy that prominently features the information and/or activities on your site that are most relevant to bringing in new business. Every business has a different sales cycle, customer profile, and website activities that help bring in new customers. For example, one business might have a high conversion rate for those who sign up for an e-newsletter, another might have good success with offering a free survey or trial download. The point is, that each and every business has a specific set of activities or information, that it can provide on its website that helps it bring in new business. These set of activities, or Goals, are what should be featured prominently on the site.

So, when you are looking to develop a new website or redesign an existing one, the following steps will help you develop a design and layout that helps you meet your business goals:

  1. Examine your sales cycle. What are the activities and/or information that prospects typically need before they decide to buy?
    1. Are there a series of FAQs or specific questions that most prospects ask?
    2. Do you tend to convert people who read your newsletter?
    3. Do prospects need to compare your product or service to one of your competitors?
  2. Distill this list down to three to five distinct activities or key pieces of information. These will be your Goals and you will want to create design elements that feature these items prominently in your layout.
  3. Create a design/layout that make each of those items prominent on every page on your website. Adding these elements to just the homepage on your site will minimize the effect. In most cases many people enter your site through a page other than the home page. Moreover, you never know when they will decide to click on the item that you are trying to feature and don’t want them to have to find their way back to the home page to do it.

For example: look at http://www.personalstockstreamer.com. The two prominent buttons on the home page, and at the top of every sub page on the site, correlate to the two most important parts of this business’s sales cycle: offering a free download so that prospects can try out the product, and making it easy for prospects to read about the feature set offered in the software. When you first look at the site, these items “jump out at you” and are easy to find.

So, take a 5 second look at your website and then close your eyes.

What are the top three things you remember? Are those things that your prospects are interested in, or will give them the information that they need to move them along the path of your sales cycle? If not, your site might not be doing everything that it could to help you bring in new business.

With a little bit of business introspection and some modifications to your site you can go a long way to help increasing your site’s effectiveness.

— Ryan Chapin
President, Nuts & Bolts Interactive, Inc.

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