Why serving your visitors is more important than loving your website
When people visit your website, how do you want them to feel? I know you want the perfect website, but what you want and what your visitors need can be two completely different things. These 5 tips will help you create a website to serve your visitor.
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MYTH: You have to love your website
Early on in my marriage, I realized that my husband and I like different types of sheets. I love the cooling bamboo sheets and he likes the really cozy, warm, flannel sheets.
Now, if I had decided to get him sheets as a gift and given him the bamboo sheets, that gift would have really been for me, not for him. But if I had bought the flannel sheets, then I would have been unhappy. So guess what I did? I bought both types of sheets, cut both in half and sewed them together, down the middle, so that his side of the bed was flannel and my side of the bed was the cooling, bamboo sheets.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking, what the heck do sheets have to do with websites?
Well, I want you to understand that most people actually build their website as a gift to themselves. They think that they’re building it for their visitors, but really they’re building it for themselves. This would have been like me, naively thinking that my husband liked the same sheets I did and buying the bamboo sheets and then him feeling frustrated and not really loved.
What if I’d given that to him for his birthday or Christmas or Father’s day? That gift really would have been for me, not for him. Maybe I hadn’t taken the time to get to know him, maybe I didn’t care, whatever reason – the gift would have been for me. It would not have made him feel loved and appreciated and known and cared about.
Fact: Your website should serve your visitor
You want your website visitors to feel loved, cared about, appreciated, understood and known when they come to your website.
When I say that you don’t need to love your website, does that mean that I want you to hate it?
No, that would have been like me buying flannel sheets and forcing myself to sleep on them. I would have been uncomfortable and hot and I wouldn’t have slept well. And, if I’m being honest, I probably would have resented my husband. That’s not a good idea either. I don’t want you to hate your website.
What I want you to do is find some middle ground where your website is something you can be proud of and enjoy looking at, but it’s also something that truly serves those who visit it.
So how do we do this?
5 tips for designing a website that welcomes your visitors
I’m going to give you five tips that will help you do this. These are based on requests that I have gotten from website design clients and from questions that I’ve gotten inside of Tech Check.
Tip #1 – Pick colors based on how you want your website visitors to feel
If you head over to my Pinterest account, which is Misty D Marsh on Pinterest, you’re going to find a board titled ‘Brand Design Inspiration.’ Inside that board, you’re going to find a sub-board called ‘Color Psychology.’
There are certain colors that evoke certain emotions in us. I want you to choose your colors not based on what your favorite color is, but based on the emotions you want your people to feel.
Now that doesn’t mean that you have to choose a color that you hate. On my website, I have orange and blue. These are complimentary colors. They both evoke emotions that I want my people to feel.
- Orange evokes empowerment and action. I want my people to take action and I want them to feel empowered.
- Blue evokes more of a calming sensation and I want my people to feel understood. I want them to feel safe.
Those two colors were chosen because of those emotions that I want to evoke in people.
Now are orange and blue my very favorite colors? No! Teal, like a deep turquoise, is actually my very favorite color, but I chose those colors because of the emotions they evoke. I don’t hate orange and blue, but they aren’t my favorite. I want you to choose emotions as you pick colors for your website.
Tip #2 – Choose a logo and a font that fits your ideal client
I have a client who serves children and they want a logo that is super elegant. That’s not the right logo for their website. Their taste is probably elegant, but if a child or the mother of a child comes to that website and it looks elegant, that is not going to speak to the fact that this website serves children.
You want to choose colors, fonts, logos, and just a general overall style that fits your ideal client. Again, you don’t have to hate it, but it needs to be created with your ideal client in mind.
So for this client, that might mean something more like a fact-based font or really bright colors, red, yellow, and blue. It might mean large blocks of color, no matter what colors are chosen, there’s a lot of color on the website. Those are things you need to take into account if you want to attract your ideal client and make them feel at home on your website.
Tip #3 – Use their words
A lot of times, I see my clients wanting to sound very smart and professional. This is not as effective as you would hope it would be. It can actually make your website visitors feel uncomfortable, misunderstood, small, stupid even. You do not want that.
You want to avoid big words, meaning big words from your industry. Like if you are a photographer, don’t use the word aperture. You want to avoid that top level language in your industry.
In addition to that, I highly recommend you seek out your ideal client’s words, ask them what questions they have, ask them what they’re afraid of, ask them what’s difficult for them, ask them what they wish was different in their life, ask them how they wish their life was better or what’s bad about their life right now. As you gather these answers, either from your own audience or from other people’s audiences but where your ideal client also visits, those are the words I want you to use on your website.
I often have people tell me quite often,” it feels like you were reading my mind” and when they feel that way, what they’re saying is “I feel like you really understand me so I’m willing to learn from you.” The way I do that is by using words, phrases, sentences that my ideal client has actually said. Things members of my audience have actually said to me, I put those on my website so that they feel very welcome and comfortable.
So instead of trying to sound as smart as you possibly can to impress your readers, I want you to speak to them at their level.
Tip #4 – Stick with design norms
I know that you want your website to be unique. There are lots of ways to make it unique while staying within design norms. You don’t need to be all crazy.
What do I mean by design norms? Here are a few examples:
- Stop calling your about page something cute like Meet Me.
- Keep your navigation extremely clear. People should know exactly where they’re going when they click on something, because otherwise you risk confusing them. You risk them not wanting to make the mental effort to figure out what you actually meant, and that makes them uncomfortable. So be very, very clear in your navigation.
- Keep your logo up in the top left. That’s where people look for it.
- Actually, make sure that your logo links back to your homepage. That is a norm that people have come to expect, that if they click on your logo they’ll go to your homepage.
- Make sure you have your contact information in your footer.
- Make sure that your menu on mobile is up top. Don’t try to put it in some clever place. Again, clear is always better than clever even when it comes to design.
Tip #5 – Focus on what you want your website visitors to do
I don’t think that your website should be ugly. You want to make a good first impression, but the way your website looks – every tiny little minute detail that you’re spending hours or thousands of dollars on – that matters far, far less than what you want your visitor to do.
And why? Because you’re only going to make money when they do something and they are only going to change their lives when they do something. So you need to focus on what you want them to do.
One of the ways that I see people distract from this is by using lots of flashy things on their website: sliders, arrows that don’t actually point to anything, animations, lots of things flying in all over the place.
Now that doesn’t mean that those things have no place. If you want to have a couple of arrows fly in and point to your call to action, Great! Now you’re focused on what you’re wanting people to do. Nothing else on that page is animated except for two arrows that point to your call to action. That’s effective. It’s going to draw their eye and their attention to exactly what you want them to do. Tons of animation all over the place, just because it looks cool, is going to detract from your call to action.
So there you have it. Five tips to make your website something that your ideal client likes instead of focusing on you.
- pick colors based on what you want them to feel.
- choose a style and logo that fits your ideal client not what you love
- use their words and not yours.
- stick with design norms.
- focus on what you want them to do.
This will create a website that your visitors love. A website where they feel welcome and understood, which in turn will make it far more likely that they are going to trust you enough to do what you tell them to do. Which means you will have a much greater chance of changing their life and earning money.
Learn how to create a homepage designed to serve your visitor
If you would like more help with your website, go sign up for my Homepage Makeover Masterclass. In this class, you’re going to watch me makeover a real client’s homepage, in just one hour, so that it is more effective at making them money and helping their people.
This is the MAP Method, Money And People method, and this is something you don’t want to miss.
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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.
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