The Two Pillars of a Successful Website
by Nick Usborne
For a web site to get close to fulfilling its potential, you need
absolute clarity on two points.
1) Achieve Clarity On What Your Sites Core Purpose Is.
Is to provide information? Is it to complete direct sales? Is it
to drive prospects to pick up the phone and call you? Is it to start
a free trial? To register?
The more companies I work with, especially larger ones, the more
apparent it becomes to me that very few sites have absolute clarity
All too often, too many different stakeholders impose a variety
of different purposes. The result? A site that is not
clearly focused. A site that appears disorganized and complicated
to its visitors. A site that wanders, meanders and ultimately fails
because none of the writers or designers really know what
they should be doing.
When and if you do achieve clarity as to the purpose of your site,
everything becomes easier.
You can look at every page, every heading, every line of content,
every link and image...and ask yourself this simple question: Is
this content working hard enough to achieve our purpose?
If it isnt, change it, or dump it. Its as simple as
You may be thinking, Nick you are so naïve. Our business
is complex. We have more than one purpose.
That may be. If you are selling high-end hospital equipment, for
instance, your site may serve both to drive new sales and also to
support existing customers.
Thats OK. But make it clear. Make it clear on your home page.
Make it obvious to visitors that there are two distinct areas of
the site one for people who already have some of your equipment,
and one for those who dont.
Then apply the same discipline to every page in each area. Does
the page drive your purpose?
2) Understand What Your Visitors Are Hoping To Find.
Im written about this before. But without this second pillar
in place, your site wont work as hard as it should.
Put simply, you need to understand the expectations of your visitors.
Understand why they are coming to your site, what they are hoping
When someone arrives at your site, whatever the landing page, they
have a pain or problem they want solving.
If your site is doing its job, it will take that visitor only a
couple of moments before they think, Yes, I can find what
I need right here.
When that happens, they become filled with confidence.
Its then your job to help that person achieve their task
as quickly and as simply as possible.
Both Pillars Working Together.
When your own purpose is clear, and when you meet the expectations
of your visitors, everything becomes golden. You both get what you
How do you get to this golden place?
Just step back from your site for a while and do some thinking.
Get clarity on the purpose of your site. And go back over your sites
history to figure out what it was people were hoping for when they
For sure, not everyone came to your site for exactly the same reason
but maybe 80% came for one of three reasons.
This isnt about achieving perfection. Its about getting
as close as you can.