Earlier today I came across the article, Should Writers Be Held Accountable for Web Page Performance?. The article got me thinking or rather rethinking about where the responsibility lies when a website fails to meet certain goals. Can any one person or aspect of your site be held accountable when it’s not performing the way you’d like?
I don’t know why, but I think there is still a belief in ‘if you build it they will come’ for online businesses. That somehow the act of putting up a website is all that’s needed to make money. When that doesn’t work people often look to one aspect of a site, often traffic, as though if that one thing were improved the site would become a major success.
You can get 10,000 unique visitors a day and still have a website that will fail to convert any of those visitors into a single buyer. Likewise you can have a website built to maximize conversions and yet without a single visitor who is there to convert? Or perhaps your design is one that visitors find trustworthy, but your copy gives them no idea what they’re supposed to do. Or maybe your copy is flawless, but your shopping cart is so convoluted that no one can figure out how to make a purchase.
The truth is all aspects of your site and business should be working together if you want to maximize your chances for success. This is a lot easier said than done and perhaps you’ll never be able to get every aspect of your business completely in harmony with each other. Still it’s the goal you should be working towards.
Among other things a successful site might include:
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Usable design
- Effective sales copy
- Valuable informational copy
- Optimization for search engines
- Calls to action
- Intuitive navigational paths
Given the above partial list of what can make for an effective site and the different people that may be responsible for each who should be held accountable if sales aren’t where you want them to be? Should your designer take the blame for the poor copy? Should your copywriter be held accountable for the poor optimization? Should your SEO be responsible for an unusable design? Are any of them the reason there’s no reasonable business model behind the site?
A Site In Harmony Sings
Beyond simply being there, your copy needs to reinforce your design and both need to reinforce your unique value proposition. A motto like ‘Quality is Job One’ would seem to be in conflict with competing on price. Lower price often comes with a sacrifice in quality. It doesn’t have to, but quality is often associated with a higher cost. Maybe the preceding motto would be a better fit for a company like BMW than it is for a company like Ford.
It’s quite possible the copy on your site is under performing. It’s also possible that you finely tuned copy is suffering because of a design that competes with it or because it’s trying to sell a product that no one wants. Every part of your site and business has it’s place and each should be working together to create a greater whole than the sum of each part.
When every aspect of your site is working together, when each part complements the other parts, your site is in harmony with itself. A site in harmony reinforces it’s message over and over again enhancing your message at every turn.
If the reason you give people for buying your product over similar offerings by the competition is your friendly and helpful customer service, then perhaps a design palette of warm colors would appropriate. Perhaps too you would want to provide a comprehensive FAQ and help section that is easily searchable. You might lean towards a more personal style of copywriting instead of corporate speak. You should probably give contact information on every page of your site with several different ways for people to get in touch. And above all else make sure you practice good customer service.
Before you blame one aspect of your site for a lack of success look at how all the aspects of your site work together. Check to see that all are promoting the same message instead of competing with each other. Try to get your site more in harmony with itself.
If you liked this post, consider buying my book Design Fundamentals