Study reveals the top two requirements for your website
Every week I sit in meetings with business owners who talk for ages about the design of their website. They are concerned about the colours, the typography and the overall look and feel. And every week in those meetings I say the same thing: “Design is not your primary consideration; that comes later after you have worked out the content you will offer and how you will manage to produce fresh content every day if possible.” Then I get blank looks and the business owner says: “But if we are going to be spending all our time on creating new web content, when are we going to do our work?” The discussion reveals they have failed to understand what people want from their website.
The reason that so many business websites fail to make any tangible benefits for the firm is because the site is something you “do” and then get on with your work, leaving the website alone after the initial design.
Websites are living things. People expect your website to be alive, frequently and regularly updated with fresh new content.
This is confirmed in a new study by Limelight Networks which found that fresh content was the first or second requirement of websites by 68% of people. That’s almost seven in every ten of your website visitors who reckon that fresh content is vital.
The number one need for a website though was performance – making it load quickly and do what it says it will do. In psychological terms this is “convenience” – demonstrating that a site can function so well that the user does not have to think about it. People subconsciously expect to be able to use the website without distraction. So if it does not do well this allows the subconscious to suggest that the site is difficult to use. In turn this makes people less inclined to want to use your site.
There is a great deal of discussion these days about personalising websites or making the mobile experience consistent with the desktop site. But this study found that these issues were really much less important. Only a little more than one in ten people really want a personalised website.
So what does this study tell us? It suggests that if you do nothing else with your website, you will benefit most from working out what content you will offer and how you will do that. Focus on content, delivered fast.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+