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The Most Important Question To Ask About Your Web Site!

By Martin Gateshill - UKWebHouse -

When you design a website how do you start?

Do you start with the banner graphics at the top, or the order page or maybe the sales letter?

All of those are areas that have to be created but they're really not the place to start.

The place to start is by answering one simple question about your site.

What do you want your visitor to do before they leave?

We'll call the answer to that your primary objective, the single thing you most want a visitor to do before leaving.

Of course the answer gives rise to another equally important question...

If they don't do that, what else would I like them to do?

We'll call the answer to that your secondary objective, it's your fall back position. If you fail to convince them to take the action that you most want them to do, this fall back action will still serve a purpose and get you other opportunities to achieve objective one.

The answer to these questions will define the design of your site for you. Your site will ave to be designed so that it can react 'on the fly' and lead the visitor to objective 2 if you fail to achieve objective 1.


Let's take the case of a web site owner who's selling software direct to the end user.

What would be the primary objective for such a site?

Often the site owner will decide that Objective 1 - the one thing he most wants a visitor to do is to buy the software there and then.

Great, that now defines the site for him. To meet the objective the site has to be completely focused on that objective and it may turn out to be unrealistic to expect to achieve it in one hit.


The sales copy has to describe a problem, lay out the solutions and show how the product available from this very page will solve the problem now.

The copy must be compelling, it must describe the problem that the product solves in a way that creates detailed pictures in the visitors mind. Pictures of the day to day effects of this problem that the visitor would really want to solve.

The copy must then paint pictures to create thoughts and images of life for the visitor without this problem and how much better, easier or more profitable etc life would be if this problem could be solved.

Then, like the 7th cavalry riding in, the copy must link the features of the software to the benefits that go with using it and the problem being solved.

The more powerful the links and the more positive imagery created in the visitors mind, the more likely it becomes that s/he will be motivated to take action to end the problem and buy the product then and there.

The good feelings developed by the copy can be reinforced by glowing testimonials from users who are already enjoying life with the software and without the problem defined.

A superb close should be used that reinforces all of the good feelings achieved so far and adds value by careful positioning of the price to be paid against the real value of the product and the list of wonderful exclusive bonuses on offer if the visitor orders now.

The visitor feels so positive s/he reaches for their credit card, completes the order form and buys the product.

Great! Primary objective achieved.


Sometimes, even if you get all of the above correct, it's just not enough. Your visitor may not know you, one visit may not convince them that you are trust worthy. They not be entirely convinced that your software will deliver all the promised benefits or that it's worth the money. Perhaps they might be thinking that there might be a better, cheaper, better known solution to be had elsewhere.

For any or all of these reasons the site owners primary objective may prove to be unrealistic and may not be achieved.

If this is the case he needs to rapidly switch the purpose of his site to achieving his secondary objective. This can be tricky to do but there is a simple technique that can be employed for the purpose.

First, what sort of secondary objective might be achievable by the site owner? We'll look at a couple of examples.


He may have a newsletter about the subject area that his software covers.

If so, his secondary objective may be to get the visitor to sign up for it before leaving.

That way the site owner has opportunities to build on the pictures painted by the site. He can use the newsletter to reassure, prove the benefits, introduce other benefits. He can show more testimonials and provide a stream of useful, valued information to build a relationship of trust with the visitor.


He may have a 'test drive' version of the software that will allow the visitor to find out first hand what it does and how it will benefit him to own it. If so his secondary objective might be to get the visitor to download the 'test drive' and then supply him by email with how to's, tutorials and other useful information to get the visitor using the software and experiencing the benefits first hand.


Either of these secondary objectives provide the site owner further opportunities to develop a relationship with the visitor until they feel ready to buy the software.


One of the best ways is the intelligent use of Popups.

In this case the site owner only wants to go for objective 2 if objective 1 is not achieved. He knows it hasn't been achieved if the visitor is leaving the site without going to the order page or does go there but doesn't buy the product.

Time for a great Popup triggered by either event.

A good, fast loading Popup inviting the visitor to sign up for the newsletter or download the test drive works wonders. They're about to leave, but now they see something that's so compelling, free, zero risk, high benefit that they'd be crazy not to react to it.

It's a simple technique that has earned a lot of money for a lot of site owners.

Set your objectives carefully and structure your site to give you the best chance to achieve at least one of them.

Look out for more in this series from Martin Gateshill


This free article has been provided to you courtesy of Martin Gateshill of UKWebHouse

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