Design Your Website Right: First Understand Why People Come Online

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Most businesses have a pretty online brochure that does not help their business get new customers. If you want to create a direct response website (i.e. a website that is design to convert visitors into leads and sales) you’ve got to go beyond the technology, and understand the psychology of website design.

You have to understand the psychology of website design because it is extremely rare that people will find a website and make a purchase immediately.  Therefore, in order to create a website that will lead to a sale, you must seek to build a relationship with your visitors.

In order to build a relationship with your visitors, it is helpful to keep in mind why people go online in the first place. You’ll see why this information is so important in a minute…

First, here are six reasons why people go online:

  • Search for information – I think we can all agree that people often come online to search for information.
  • Solutions to Problems – Granted this is another kind of “information” that people are seeking, but this kind of “information seeking” is important to you because this is one major way you can position yourself online. You can (and probably should) position your product or service as a solution to a problem.
  • Connect  – People don’t just look for information and solutions, they also come online to connect with and socialize with others who share their interest and values. That’s what the rapid growth of social media is all about. So start thinking about ways that your website can connect with your customer….
  • Research purchases – It’s common knowledge (which I can back up with facts and figures) that more and more people are going online to research purchases, even when they are going to buy the items locally.
  • Order items –  Sometimes, items can’t be found locally, so people go online to order products.
  • Entertainment – People go online to be entertained — some use the internet to watch TV shows they have missed, but many also go to YouTube to be entertained.

As you can see from this list — people go online many different reasons — and only one of those reasons is to buy something.  ANd THAT is why it is so important to focus on building relationships.

If people aren’t coming online specifically to purchase from you, then you’ve got to  show them why they should buy from you. But even if you do tell them why they should buy from you, the sale usually  does not get made instantly —  because people can click away in the blink of an eye.  So in order to really succeed in selling online — you need to learn to give people what they are looking for — information, solutions to problems, connection, entertainment – and build a relationship with them that will lead to a sale.

So how do you design your website to build a relationship that will lead to a sale? I’ll answer that question in my next blog post.

But first, I’m curious, do agree that it’s important to understand why people come online when designing a website? Did I leave out any reasons that you can think of? Please let me know by leaving a comment.

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