Introduction to needing instead of wanting
This can be quite a taboo subject and often a tricky point to raise with our clients when starting a new website project. Many people believe that a website is about looking pretty, cramming in the latest ‘gadgets’ or ‘special effects’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Through our many years of experience producing websites we have come to learn that whilst ideas are great, it is important to weigh everything up with our customers before we make any informed choices on their website.
So how do we find out what this sweet spot is? or what ideas to keep and which to push aside? The key way to look at this is to work out the difference between a want and a need. For example is this particular feature wanted by the company owner or is it actually needed for your target audience. For many, having a new website sparks imagination, desires and dreams which often result in the attitude of wanting the website to fit everyone, to have everything and be amazing.
Ultimately it comes down to the customer as to what they wish to put on their website but it’s a fantastic exercise to work out what you need vs what you want and develop them accordingly. A feature that’s deemed a need should effectively be there from the start, yet a want can go into a pile and be developed or added at any point in the future to add extra value.
So why are the want’s a bad idea?
Most people would assume that a want isn’t a bad thing, afterall the more you can provide on the website the better your website will be? Actually this isn’t the case, what you end up achieving is spending more and more time on the areas which aren’t actually needed (just wanted) and this in turn dilutes the essential parts of the site which are needed.
So in short, if there’s one thing you take away from this blog post is that time is best spent on the areas of needs first. Make sure your websites needs are catered for fully and to a high quality before considering the list of wants. Even then, when considering the list of wants you really need to calculate what benefit this will have to your site visitors as to whether its worthwhile doing the want and whether it will dilute or boost your content.
How do we work out the needs? where do we go from here?
Your one viable product or service
For virtually all small businesses there is a single product or service which is the core of that company. For example our core service is web design, although we offer seo, marketing, social media etc our core viable product is website design and the rest fit within the ‘range’ of websites.
We can take this approach with most small businesses, for example a garage will be selling hourly labour slots with a mechanic to do repairs, although they will also have a range of products that fit within the mechanics area that can be upsold or sold additional e.g. air con re-gassing, tyres or MOT’s.
The point we are making here is the actual need for the website is to convey the one core product or range to your customers, any of the extras such as the up-sells aren’t. So the need here is for the website to convey that initial product and satisfy the need of the customer who has landed on the page for that product.
Who is your ideal / target end user?
We quite often get the answer ‘anyone’ or ‘everyone’ when asking who their target end user is, but in the real world there will always be an ideal end user and knowing who this person is really helps to find the people that will benefit most from you.
For example, a large coffee chain is likely to be targeting a more active, on the go younger audience than say a cafe which may want more retired or tourism based traffic. Knowing who this customer is will help you identify what their needs and requirements are, from here we can then locate the actual needs for the website, rather than what we just ‘want’ on the website.
One area often overlooked is how your target audience can greatly impact how your website looks, feels and behaves. For example your logo, colour scheme, layout and typography can and will change depending on the demographics of your target audience. Rather than opt for a design, layout or schematic that you want, opt for one which fits your demographics.
Do not cram information on the home page
A typical want for many website owners is to try and cram every need and service onto the home page in as much detail as possible. Generally speaking this puts people off or causes them to get confused, lost or simply to loose interest. So rather than wanting to place all this information in place, your actual need is to give users a quick link to each section and then provide the detailed information there. By taking this approach you are only giving the details information to those who need it, this keeps the needed information highlighted and undiluted for your viewers.
In a way this approach is like taking your visitors hand and allowing them to choose what areas, information and options they want to know more about. By doing this approach you will be feeding your visitors with the information they need to make their choice rather than diluting that need and confusing them. A visitor armed with just enough information to make a purchase or carry out a call to action is more powerful than a visitor swamped with too many choices and options.
Here’s some help, here’s some ‘need’ pages you really should have
Let’s give you a bit of a helping hand and list our common ‘need’ pages, pretty much every business or tradesmen should have these pages or content in some way or another as it sets out the basics of what a visitor expects to be able to find out about a company. So for us, these pages are
Home – Provide a brief intro, allow people to see the core service/product and find navigation to details
About – People need to know who they are talking to and dealing with
Contact – The lack of face2face means contact details build up trust
Services/Products – You need a landing page where customers can go to find information on each service/product.
These pages form a nice solid customer facing front, we are also strong believes that a company should have a blog, not because there’s an immediate ‘need’ but a blog does allow a company to appear current, real, trustworthy and approachable. It can also allow you space to really set your expertise in your industry allowing you to showcase knowledge and provide content for Google.
Mobile is now a need, not a want
Making a web page mobile friendly is no longer a need or a fancy feature. It is essential with modern internet access to have a page which is fully responsive or mobile friendly. We actually have a few sites whereby over 75% of traffic comes from a ‘mobile’ device (phone, tablet etc), using the latest analytic and monitoring tools you will seen grasp your demographics but for most, the number of mobile users out there is a huge shock and is potentially an untapped market for those who don’t support it.
We all know a website can be a big undertaking and for many tradesmen or small businesses they generally only get one shot at making one. Therefor our advise is to ensure you find your demographics, work out your needs over your wants and try to get an effective site working from the start.
In today’s modern world a website is as essential (if not more) than a business card or a flyer so take the time to ensure your site is correct and make an effort to apply updates on a regular basis to keep it fresh and adapted to your audience.
All of this is covered in our Saxons Kiss product as we provide full support for unlimited text and image updates and can work with you to evolve your site into a real need provider, rather than just something you think you want.