In the past 23 years of building websites for clients, I found that two main things drive the client’s decision-making process: their goals and their budget. Often, those two things are pulling in the opposite direction.
When your goals are larger than your budget, going with cheaper web design services will significantly reduce website production quality. Low-quality design can create a feeling of low confidence in the visitor, lowering your conversion rate on otherwise well written and optimized website.
[BUDGET/GOALS = PRODUCTION QUALITY]
Some clients find that building websites that will satisfy all their goals will put a heavy strain on their budget, but on the other hand, if you build a website on a tight budget, you will find that your website will meet very few of your goals.
An experienced web designer can strike the right balance between your budget and your goals. However, neither of those two things are important to your website visitor. Not directly anyhow, but more about that later.
Your website visitors don’t care about your budget nor your goals. They only care about information that search engine promise they will find on your website. I mean, do you care how much your favourite pizza place spent on their website when you are ordering pizza?
Have a clear idea of the purpose of your website; from there, you can devise your goals.
Each goal you set, should be a response to how it helps the website’s primary purpose.
A SHORT HISTORY OF WEBSITE GOALS
A lot of things have changed in the past 20 years, and long gone are days when having a website would put you ahead of your competition.
Once most of the businesses had some kind of website up and running, and race for whose website was better looking was on.
With the exponential growth of the web came over-saturation of the search engine result pages. Web designers responded with SEO services, Google responded with a search engine update that would only return websites that are located in the visitor’s vicinity, segregating search engine results into confined geographical areas.
For instance, if you would search for a plumber, Google would only return plumbers in your area; as a result, search engine result pages were less crowded.
Since the web didn’t stop growing there, the Local Google update did not solve the problem of crowded search engine result pages for the long term. SEO got more competitive, and websites with more backlinks and just right keyword density would pop up on the top of Google, not necessary, or even at all, because of their quality.
Since then, Google has been updating its algorithms on a regular basis to make sure that quality websites show first on search engine result pages. Google’s concept is that quality websites deserve organic traffic from search results. However, quality is not easy to asses when it is done algorithmically; hence, all algorithmic updates Google rolled out since then.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT ORGANIC TRAFIC?
Visitors that come to your website organically are easiest to convert to clients. They already have the need, and they believe that you have what they are looking for. That’s why they click on the link to your website, after all. You only need to provide the client with the information they’re looking for. We call that addressing visitor’s intent.
Visitor Intent is the motivation that brought your visitor to your website, and addressing your visitor’s intent is the force that further motivates them to stay on your website, and possibly convert to clients.
When you are building a website, addressing visitor’s intent should be your primary focus. All your goals and budget should be in the function of addressing visitor’s intent. Whether you have an eCommerce store or blog about your travels, a customer that purchases your products or subscribes to your blog is a converted visitor.
ABOUT ADDRESSING VISITOR INTENT Before we talk about addressing visitor intent, we need to talk about Google’s intent. What Google is trying to do is to predict which websites will answer a specific search query the best.
I deliberately said websites, not a website, because Google is trying to offer its users a variety of options, not just one option. If you copy competitor’s website content, Google will not want both your websites close to each other. Most likely, both websites will provide similar, if not the same, value to the search. As a result, your website would not rank well as it could.
In the service industry, there is only so much variety that you can have between two websites that compete for the same clients. This is why Google has to highlight some other criteria, other than website content, to rank those websites. Criteria such as Authority Backlinks, Citations, Mentions, Social Media, Customer Reviews, and so on all play a part.
Your ranking is, more than anything else, based on the probability of how well your website will answer specific search engine queries, and based on the overall trustworthiness of your website, and how well it addresses visitor intent.
There are two types of visitor intent:
Informational intent – your website visitor is in the process of researching,
Transactional intent – your website visitor came to purchase your service or product.
Ideally, we want to convert both of these two types of visitors, and it is not impossible to do so. However, it’s important not to go too far, not to alienate visitors by making the content too complex.
The best example of badly used informational intent would be using fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) to convert visitors. FUD is not a marketing strategy. It’s a hostile takeover :).
The best practice is always to write content that will answer your visitor’s questions in an informative way and gives them extra value.
HOW TO ADDRESS VISITOR INTENT
You have approximately 4 seconds before your website visitor makes her mind if it’s worth investing more time on your website. The percentage of visitors who leave your website at that point or earlier is called Bounce Rate.
The bounce rate is essential metrics for website optimization because it tells us how confident visitors feel that your website has what they are looking for. This is why Google also uses the bounce rate as one of its metrics.
Well-addressed visitor intent reflects in a low bounce rate.
Ask yourself what your visitor’s expectations are. Do they know the product you are selling? Are they only looking for prices of your product, or they need to know more about your company, type of clients you are working with, your work experience, and what they can expect from working with you?
Try to imagine what information you would like to see on the website if you were looking for a new accountant, for instance. Check your competition, make sure that your website stands out, more than anything, make sure you don’t repeat the same phrases as your main competitors no matter how great their content is.
If you are looking to redesign or optimize your existing website, you can call Aroma Web Design at 778 387 3525, and chat with Britta today for a free consultation!