We never start a website project without a finalized sitemap, a list of all of the pages and subpages to be included in the site architecture.
When you created the sitemap for your website (if you created one at all), how did you decide what pages should be included? Here’s how to do it.
For every page you intend to include on your site, if you cannot answer the following question in a positive manner, get rid of the page: What purpose does this page serve to support movement towards conversion?
Converting customers on the web
Whether you are a for-profit or non-profit, the purpose of your website is to convert web traffic into leads, sales, or donations. Not every page on your site should be a final step in the conversion process, but it should be part of the funnel that helps get the web user get there.
If this sounds like a manipulative strategy, think again. The best websites are not trying to manipulate behavior—they help users find what they’re looking for. By constructing your page architecture and content (including images and video) to move web visitors from the research stage down the funnel to the interest stage and finally to the purchase/donation stage, you are helping them achieve the goal that brought them to search in the first place.
Writing for the web
I conduct webinars on writing for the web. One thing I always tell participants from the beginning (and several times during the webinar) is “Think about your own behavior on the web.”
If you want an idea of how best to develop a sitemap and afterwards the content for your site, spend time watching yourself search for something that is important to you. It can be hobby supplies, stuff for your kids, a new car, travel arrangements, or anything else that illuminates a problem that you want to solve using a search on the web.
When you type a search term in the search window, scan down the search results and when you see a link you want to click, ask yourself what is making you want to click it.
Chances are there is something in the wording of the link (Title tag) or the descriptive text below it (Description tag) that makes you think that the page on the other side of that link is going to satisfy your needs and desires of the moment.
A merciful death
Also notice when you land on a website page that DOES NOT solve your problem. Ask yourself, “What is this page about?” If it isn’t related to what you’re searching for, it’s either poorly optimized or does not belong on the website.
To get any user to take the final step of converting into a customer or supporter, you need to build trust. There are many ways to do this on the web but the main point to take away today is that conversion is a process. If any page on your proposed sitemap does not serve the overall goal of the site and help move traffic down the conversion funnel, call Dr. Kevorkian.