The First Principle of Web Design
The most important principle when designing your website is, what is its purpose? In other words, when a visitor arrives at your website, or more specifically, one of your web pages, what do you want them to do? In other words, what specific and definable action do you want a visitor to take upon arrival on your web page? It’s not only your website as a whole that needs to have a clear purpose. Each individual web page needs a clearly defined purpose as well.
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Here are some possible actions you might want an individual customer or client to take after they visit a page of your site:
- You want them to learn something
- You want them to contact you
- You want them to click a link
- You want them to sign up for something
- You want them to buy something, or take the next step in the purchase process
There are other purposes we could list, but the above are the main ones a local small business is likely to be concerned with.
It’s crucial to observe that your page’s purpose must be focused on the needs of the visitor. For example, if your page’s defined purpose is for the visitor to learn something about your business, or your product or service, it must be something the customer wants or needs to learn. If it’s just about what you think they should know, but they have zero interest in, the page will fail in achieving its purpose.
Sometimes, however, the page itself can help create the need or desire in the customer, who may arrive at the site not understanding that it’s in their best interest to know something. In that case, the page will actually have TWO purposes: to show the customer that they need the information, AND to actually go ahead and provide that information.
Let’s look at the example of a web page that has the purpose of getting a visitor to pick up the phone and call your business. In that case, you may use part of the page to explain why they would want to call you. You can give them all the reasons why you would be the best local choice to handle an emergency plumbing job, for example. Then, the page also needs to make it dead simple to take the desired action. In this example, the phone number should be clearly visible, right at the top, and the words CALL NOW or something similar alongside.
When you do that, the customer will have no confusion about what they should do. Once they’ve decided to call you, doing it is the easiest, most natural step they can take, because you’ve given them every reason, and every opportunity to do so.
Hopeful, the first principle of web design, giving each page of your website a clear purpose, is now within your grasp. If you have questions, call Lucidpage at 843-360-9658.