Why your pretty website needs to do more than just look good
The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #21
Welcome to episode #21 of The Goodness Squad podcast. I have always felt like the way I built my websites could be seen as a service to those who visit them. And today I’m going to talk to you about why your website needs to do more than just look pretty.
Making your visitors feel welcome on your website
My younger brother is in the Air Force, which means he has never lived close to us. He’s lived in California, Ohio, Florida and we haven’t gotten to see much of his family. So when he comes to visit, it’s a big deal. I get prepared and I want it to be a wonderful experience for him, for his wife, for my nieces and nephews.
I make sure that they have clean pillows. I wash all the linens, make sure that their room is perfectly clean. I make sure they have clean towels in the bathroom and that they’re easy to find, nicely stacked up and that there’s one for each member of their family. I call them and ask what the kids favorite cereal is, what their favorite meals are for dinner, what are the things that they absolutely won’t eat?
Then I customize our menu for the week to fit those needs. I figure out what their favorite snacks are so that when we’re staying up late playing games, we have their favorite snacks. We’ve planned our activities around what they have not yet done here in Utah so we make sure that they are getting to do the activities that are most interesting and most important to them.
I kick my kids out and I put them in different bedrooms so that my brother has two bedrooms and a bathroom all to himself. I clean out the laundry room so that their newborn baby can kind of have his own little room in that area and not be woken up by other kids walking in and out of all the bedrooms. I prepare my home to welcome those I care about.
We all do this to some degree, we all want our home to feel welcoming to the people that we care about. And we do that by focusing on them, by focusing on their needs, on their desires, on their dreams. Your favorite kind of cereal may not be the same as the wishes people have when they come to your website. But my little four-year-old nephew, when he comes to my house and he sees his favorite cereal, it’s a dream come true. He feels welcome. This is what your website should do for your visitors.
So let’s look at the opposite. What if I did the opposite? What if I took all the pillows, towels, blankets, food, and I just put it all in a pile in the room downstairs? I didn’t keep my kids out of their room. And I just said, “okay, the family room is for you.” There’s no air mattresses, there are no cots, there are no beds. Everything’s there and it’s a mess.
All the towels are there, there’s food, they have pillows and blankets, but it’s all just sitting in one big pile downstairs in my family room. And I say, “okay, go have at it.” How welcome is my brother’s family going to feel? Probably not quite as welcome as in the first example.
We need to think about the difference of how those two situations would feel to you as a guest. How would you feel being welcomed into someone’s home in those two different scenarios?
Your pretty website should also serve the people who visit it
Now, I want you to think about your own website. Which scenario describes your website, is your website designed in a way to serve and help and meet the needs of those who are coming to visit you? Are you welcoming them into your online home in a way that is focused on them, or you?
So let’s look at a different scenario. What if I decided that we only wanted to go to the activities that I’ve already been to when my brother came? And I only wanted him to use particular blankets and pillows? And I had opinions about everything and I only made food without sugar while they’re here because I’m on some strict diet? What if I put all those kinds of limits, that were all about me, on him when he came and his family came to my home?
We do this on our websites. We make our websites all about us. Or we make our websites, all the information there, but it’s all in one big pile in the family room.
Here’s one simple example. When you decided to design your website, did you choose your favorite fonts and colors? Or did you think about how you wanted people to feel when they came to your website and then pick fonts and colors that would create those feelings?
I’ll tell you, this is a big one that I fought when I was doing web design. I would tell people “you want to create a website that creates certain feelings for those who visit you. This is your home you’re inviting them into.” Time and time again, it was “No. My favorite color is red.” But red is creating the exact opposite emotion than you want to create. “It’s okay. My favorite color is red.”
Why do we do that on our websites when we wouldn’t do it in our own homes when we’re welcoming guests?
Clutter on your website does not serve your visitors and it takes away from having a pretty website
Let’s talk a little bit about clutter, almost all of us try to pick up when someone comes into our home. I’m trying to get better at that. Honestly, I’m trying to be a little bit more authentic and let people come to my home even when it’s not perfect. And guess what? I’m doing the same thing on my website.
I have wanted to update my About page for six months now and it has not been done. I don’t like my About page, but I’m trying to embrace that done is better than perfect. I want you here no matter what. But there has to be a happy medium.
Your website needs to direct visitors where to go next
Have you ever been to someone’s home that is so cluttered that you can’t even walk on the floor? I have been there, on my mission. It is difficult to feel welcome and comfortable in that type of home. Have you ever been to a website and you can’t figure out up from down? You don’t know where to start. You don’t know what’s most important. You can’t even find what you’re looking for. You came there looking for something very specific and you cannot find it.
That’s like everything for my brother, all his towels and pillows and blankets and cots and everything, in one pile in the family room and saying, “okay, have at it.” He might have eventually found it, but is he going to want to come back to my home over and over and over again? Are these people going to want to come back to your website over and over and over again? Your website needs to be well organized; it needs to be a journey.
When my brother comes into my home, I might give him a little tour. Here’s where the cereal is if your kids wake up before mine. Here’s where I put the towels. Here’s where you can find extra linens if someone pees the bed in the middle of the night. I would walk him around, one thing at a time. I would not overwhelm him with 67 different calls to action on the same page. Your website should be similar.
Your website is not the place for being clever or cutesy
Last, do you focus on being cute on your website? Coming up with cute phrases and cute sayings instead of being clear? Clear always sells. What if I sent my brother on a treasure hunt to find his towels and the cots and the food? What if I made cute little phrases and he didn’t know what those little phrases meant, but he had to figure it out in order to really find what he wanted?
Sometimes people will do this simply in their website navigation. So instead of calling your About page About, they call it Hello. Somebody comes to your website and they don’t know what Hello means, and you’re making them think and wonder and guess as to where the darn cereal is.
I hope you can see this. I’m going through this analogy back and forth. How I want you to treat your website as if it were your home and you are welcoming guests into your home.
Your website is about your visitors, not you
It is about them and their needs and how you can help and serve them. The words you put on your website, the way you organize it, even how much space there is between different elements on your page, serves them. If everything’s all crowded together, really close, it becomes quickly overwhelming and hard for them to find what they’re looking for.
True web design is a service to those who are coming to your website.
Your challenge today is to find one way on your website in which you can focus more on the visitor than on yourself.
How can you make it about them? How can you welcome them into your home? To do so you need to know them. You need to understand the types of people you are trying to attract to your website, and then do the things that will attract them on your website. I want you to either:
- change a color
- change a font
- make it a little bit more well organized
- clarify your navigation
- remove some clutter
- have one call to action per page You could have more than one, but it should be the same call to action – to subscribe to your email list up at the top and subscribe to your email list at the bottom and in the middle. That’s fine. But they know that your goal for them on that page is to subscribe to your email list.
Simplify something on your website.
I promise you that as you do this, you will see better conversions. You will have more people staying on your website longer. You will have more people joining your email list as you focus your web design as a service to those who are coming to see you.
My favorite tool for simplifying your website design
Now, many of you might be wondering, “uh, Misty. I don’t know how to do web design. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
If you would like a simple solution, I would like to invite you to check out Elementor Pro (affiliate). Elementor Pro is my very, very favorite tool in the world. I love it. I am pretty careful about the tools that I recommend. I have to personally use them, especially if I’m going to recommend something as strongly as I do Elementor Pro. This tool is a WordPress plugin that will allow you to customize your theme.
You might think that you can do that with some other page builder you have. This is way above and beyond that. You can customize every single nook and cranny of your website to your heart’s desire. It gives you full control. It’s only $49 a year compared to hiring someone to design your website for you or spending hours and hours and hours trying to figure out how to code it. It is so inexpensive. It is worth so much more than what they charge for it. It is a fantastic tool.
If you decide to purchase Elementor Pro through my affiliate link, which is in the show notes, shoot me an email with your receipt and I would be happy to send you over my tutorials for how to use it so that it does not overwhelm you. There is still a learning curve, but it’s a much shorter learning curve than learning how to code. It’s much less expensive than paying somebody thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to design your website for you.
Thank you again for being here today. I am truly, truly grateful for your support for your trust. I am most grateful when you put into action the things that I teach you here, and then when you tell me about it. I love when you leave me reviews and tell me how this podcast has helped you. I want to continue to help you. So continue to leave me those reviews. Continue to send me feedback.
Make sure you hit subscribe because, in the next episode, we’re going to be discussing why learning to say No is essential to the success of your business.
If you aren’t yet a member of The Goodness Squad, I would invite you to jump on over to TheGoodnessSquad.com/join. That link will also be in the show notes. I would love to help you discover what your superpower is when you join The Goodness Squad. I hope to see you there.
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