Website Mistakes You Might be Making


Website Mistakes You Might be Making

Jenni here, and I wanted to take some time this week to talk a little bit about some common mistakes that Sophie and I notice when working with our clients. It probably doesn't surprise you that making a beautiful and effective website doesn't just happen by accident. In fact, we really like to use the analogy of building a house. You'd never just hire a team of contractors to show up at your plot, offer up some piles of wood, concrete and roofing shingles and say, "Ok, let's just get on it with it."  But so many people (and sometimes even website teams!) don't take the time to build a solid blueprint or gather the best materials before starting their build. 

We like to think of Prim'd as a combination of your architect, your construction team, and your interior design team. We believe that the best website teams can help you lay great blueprints, level a strong foundation, and talk to you about whether or not your old couch is going to work in your new space. 

And with just about every single client interaction, here are things we know we have to watch out for to create a really great site:

1. SITTING IN YOUR CHAIR VS. THEIR CHAIR

We kick off most of our client meetings with a planning meeting, where we ask lots of questions before we pick up a single tool. One questions we always ask is, "Tell us more about your best customers. What pain points does your business solve?"

Almost every single time when we ask a client this question, they answer like this: "Well, let me tell you about this one time with a customer..." and then they launch into a story about their method, a missed opportunity they recognized, and what they did to help that person. 

This answer is not a bad one. But they aren't actually answering the question we asked. Although the difference is subtle, the impact is huge. While thinking about your dream clients, and explaining their pain, and notice which "chair" you're sitting in. We ask, "From your customer's perspective, what do they experience?" Most folks do not stand up, walk around the desk and sit in the chair of their customer. They sit in their own chair and explain their own method, from their own point of view. They say, "Well I start with this, and then I do this, and finally I do this."

Clients who are sitting in the right chair would say something along these lines, "My clients feel confused by the overwhelming experience. They often get stuck on this specific part. They don't know that they really need this thing over here." 

Great websites reach out to your potential customers, extend a hand an say, "I get you. I know what you're going through. And I can help." You cannot do that if you are sitting in your own chair and talking about yourself. 

Primd Marketing - Colson Griffith Photography

EXAMPLE: While working with Colson Griffith Photography, we actually started by taking him through The Brand Plan method. Because we had done a deep dive with him on the foundations of his brand expansion, we knew that his target customers were families with young children (approx. ages 3-7). Often times new moms will have lots of pictures of their babies, but once their kids start growing, the years can slip away quickly. Colson was extremely connected to the emotional heart of his clients and employed bold headlines like "You Deserve to be Seen," because he knew that most women didn't always give themselves permission to do a luxury experience, even if it is something family oriented. To see more of our work with Colson Griffith Photography, check out our case study with him here

SO IF YOU'RE PLANNING A WEBSITE:

Avoid sitting in the wrong chair by doing something really simple — use your client's words. Go back to any of your intake emails from your prospects, and look at the words they use when asking for help. You can even start a Google Doc as a sort of "word bank" to draw inspiration from as you write website copy. 


Download our Website Audit Kit!

We've created Primd Website Audit Kit for those of you who squirm when you think of your website. We'll walk you through all of the suggestions in this post, and help you get clarity around where you might need to make some changes.

Download it, and get started on taking your website from "meh" to fabulous!


2. NOT HAVING A "GARDEN PATH"

Another analogy we use all the time with our website clients is that of a "garden path." We believe that great websites have a sort of order to them — they don't just let viewers wander around on their own. Instead there is a path (I always imagine a sandy blonde path lined in pink flowers) that guides viewer from one page to the next, that shows them where to look and what to read, and where to click next. 

Great websites have a clear purpose, and a clear way to measure whether or not that purpose is effective. In our planning meetings, we make sure that we walk away knowing what the number one thing our clients need from that website, and how we're going to measure it. Then from there we can lay out the architecture of the site to make sure it supports those goals. 

Primd Marketing - Maura Tierney Website

EXAMPLE:  Last year we worked with a Maura Tierney Real Estate to create a website that would act as an expansion of her team. Maura is a rising star in her market, and knew that she didn't want a site that she was going to have to touch often, but it needed to be an active part of closing her deals. In our planning phase, we knew her core purpose was getting her hired. But we also knew that in order to get her hired, clients wanted a clear track record. We made sure that the "Properties" section of her site was the most technologically robust, had the most visual eye candy, and offered a clear look at what potential clients could expect from working with Maura. To read more about how we created Maura's site, you can check out her case study here.

SO IF YOU'RE PLANNING A WEBSITE: 

If you're building a website, you should absolutely know which page of your site is the MOST important page, and know all of the garden paths on your site that lead to that page. You don't have to have some fancy software to get really clear on this, but you do need a plan. Something as simple as a handwritten flow chart that shows how you imagine directing viewers through your site is a great start. 

3. MORE IS NOT MORE

This step is often the hardest for anyone with huge passion for what they're doing. We often feel that one of our most valuable roles that we play for clients is to help them distill who they are, who their clients are, what they do, and how they do it. We get it — when you're neck deep in a project you love. You see all of the wonderful nuance and complexity associated with your expertise.  Glossing over important details can feel like you're cutting yourself short, or chopping your vision at the knees.

But great websites don't try to answer every single question. And (especially when it comes to imagery) one big impactful message will go hundreds of miles farther with your dream people than trying to say or show everything.

Primd Marketing - The Boneyard

EXAMPLE: The Boneyard Website a great example of a simple website, where we really tried not to go overboard. Customers coming to this site want to know a couple of things:
1) Where will the food truck be next?
2) What is on the menu?
3) Do you cater?
We created a parallax website that was extremely straightforward (with a healthy dose of Aleah & Rich's fun personality) to make sure that we we giving their customers what they wanted. We danced with the idea of adding a few extra sections or background, but time and again we've returned to the mantra that "Less is More," and their streamlined website has really grown their business. Check out more about our work with The Boneyard in this case study here

SO IF YOU'RE PLANNING A WEBSITE:

Try to reduce every single page down to a thesis sentence. You might consider answering the question, "The one thing I need my clients to know from this page is, __________________." If you have to add a semicolon, or an em-dash to to that sentence, then your message isn't simple enough. This doesn't mean you can't have a lot of copy or long pages. People absolutely scroll. But they scroll if the message is clear. Don't try to say too much. (And just as a hint, assume most of your pages are already saying too much and try to cut).

WANT MORE? GET OUR WEBSITE AUDIT KIT!

We've created Primd Website Audit Kit for those of you who squirm when you think of your website. We'll walk you through all of the suggestions in this post, and help you get clarity around where you might need to make some changes.

Download it, and get started on taking your website from "meh" to fabulous!


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