The Biggest Rookie Website Mistake and How to Avoid It

Qualifications vs results

About 90% of new websites have a critical error:  they promote the company’s qualifications, not the customer’s best interests.  A business owner’s first website tends to promote the merits of the business.  Granted, your capabilities are vital.  But touting your abilities on your website is a misguided strategy to turn visitors into customers.

Feature the desired results, not your claims to excellence.

Leading with your corporate capabilities in your content is a common pitfall.  Many business owners believe people arrive on a website looking for the best qualified firm to do the work they want.  Most often, this isn’t the case.  Most website visitors first want to see a clear path to a desired destination.  They check first to see if your view of the desired outcome is the same or better than their own.  A strategy to match your content to the results visitors want is more likely to earn the next set of clicks from your visitor.

Your site’s first job is to make evident on landing a clear view of the desired outcome.

The desire to reach this outcome is the force motivating your visitors.  They want to make a specific change.  Show them the results they seek.  On landing, website visitors glance for signs of a path to a desired solution.  They spend only a few seconds — and minimal effort — to see if the sought end state is obvious on your site. Show that you fully grasp the desired results.   Your qualifications matter only as the means to take them there.

Don’t people want to have “The Best?”

It’s hard for business owners to see any problem with devoting the website’s content to the organization’s merits.  Won’t website visitors choose you based on how well you can prove you’re the best in your field?  When creating content for a first site, many business owners believe that to win customers, web visitors must see how your products and services excel.

However, it’s a mistake to assume that obvious excellence is what motivates a website visitor to choose your products, services, or cause. That’s because usually, people don’t use the web to make optimal choices.

Website visitors aren’t necessarily looking for the best choice. They look for the first reasonable solution.

Does it come as a shock to think that most people are not looking for the best option?  Research supports this.  Citing his own observations and others’ studies, usability expert Steven Krug offers this fact:  People don’t compare options and choose the best.  People “choose the first reasonable option…. As soon as we find a link that seems like it might lead to what we’re looking for, we click it.”

As a business owner, you are free to build your web content around any idea you wish. Offering your best qualifications is one option.  But that’s not what your visitors are looking for. In general, your visitors want a solution that easily looks workable at a glance.  Pass the “visible desired solution” test, then present more detail about your approach.

Source:  Steven Krug, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability p 24.

For more strategies to strengthen your website, subscribe to Joanne’s blog, Websites that Work: Making websites easier to run and better at building your business

Comments are closed.