What the Heck is This Site for Anyway?
Life would be so much easier for web designers if the site owner would answer three questions before you start the design. A web user should not have to guess your message.
A little background before we start. To often what an owner envisions for their site it is completely different from what web users are seeking. The trick to being effective is reversing your roles and become the seeker. The seeker is always after what is important to him or her. The content is the most important thing. Let them find the content, and take an action easily, and you will succeed.
If you are lucky enough to have your creation listed high enough on a search to be seen. Then lucky enough to have the right data displayed to catch the eye of the seeker, and gets him or her to select your page. Why have what you want him to do buried behind another set of menus. ( And yes I used the word lucky to give all the SEO guys out there a little chuckle.)
The standard joke about the midwest and mountain section of our country being the fly-over states is ten fold truer when it comes to much of the content that makes it on to most sites. Much of it must be somewhere, it is also very pretty, but just knowing it is there is enough.
1. What Are You Offering Specifically?
A list of your capabilities in a form that is saying here is your answer for the problem I understand you have. (The web equivalent of sound bites)
Yes support and backup are essential but always presented as “Here is the answer for your problem. Here is the cure for your pain.”
2. Who Do You Want To Spend Time On Your Site?
This is always so obvious to the site owner, but we need to be told. People outside a profession have no clue as to what is really going on. You text addresses them. You expect them to come - they need you. You should really care less about some none potential customer not understanding why your site exists.
3. What Action Do You Want Them To Take?
This site visitor had a problem, they were seeking a solution that you recognized, and you have it waiting for them, now what?. What does he need to do next? Make his response easy and in plain sight. Do not demand any more information from him than absolutely necessary, but allow a path for him to say or upload as much as he might want.