This chapter is about what makes a Web site good. A good site helps users, owners, and builders reach their goals.
We’ve talked about users. Now let’s see how sites help owners. We’ll look at the same two sites: CarlysSchool.Com, and WanderingDog.Com.
The owners are the people who pay for the Web site. They have things they want the site to do for them. Let’s call these things the “business goals” of the site.
The two example sites in this chapter – CarlysSchool.Com, and WanderingDog.Com – belong to money-making (we hope!) businesses. So an obvious business goal is: sites should make money.
But commercial sites often have other goals as well. People who run small companies care about how they make a living. Many business owners would make more money if they worked for a company, but they choose not to.
Let’s talk about money and non-money goals.
Businesses make money by selling stuff to customers. No news there.
A Web site can be part of the selling process. But the role it play varies.
Let’s look at Carly’s School. Recall that it sells obedience courses. Carly’s School trains humans to obey their dogs.
Here’s how the buying process might work for a customer.
Figure 1. A Carly’s School customer
Here are the parts that the Web site helps with.
Figure 2. What CarlysSchool.Com helps with
CarlysSchool.Com doesn’t actually complete the sale. Instead, the Web site generates leads. Leads are potential customers. The Web site helps bring them into the business, where the sale can be completed.
WanderingDog is different. It sells directly from the Web site.
Here’s a sample sales process.
Figure 3. A WanderingDog customer
Here are the parts of the process that WanderingDog.Com helps with.
Figure 4. What WanderingDog.Com helps with
This Web site handles more of the sales process.
Users are just a click away from thousands of sites. If owners want to attract customers, their sites have to offer clear value propositions.
A value proposition tells customers why they should buy a company’s product or service.
Carly’s School trains humans to obey their dogs.
This is a promise that Carly’s School makes.
For Carly’s School to succeed, it needs to:
WanderingDog.Com helps you find the portable dog electronics you want.
This value proposition says you get the electronics, yes, but there’s more to it. There’s the “you want” at the end. WanderingDog.Com helps customers make good choices.
WanderingDog.Com is vulnerable to competition. There are hundreds of sites that sell portable electronics. They’re all just a click away. WanderingDog has to deliver on its promise.
That’s why Jesse spent time learning how people choose products. He couldn’t deliver on the promise otherwise.
Marketers talk about “branding.” The most important things branding does are:
CoreDogs is typical of a branded site. Look at the page header:
Figure 5. CoreDogs header
The name of the site is there. Just put a
.com on the end of it, and you have the site’s URL.
There’s a logo. It ties in to the dog theme. Notice how simple it is. Easy to reproduce. The logo is used in other places, like CoreDogs’ Facebook page.
The value proposition is right there as well.
The CoreDogs color scheme is white, brown, and black. Dog colors. The header uses the scheme.
If you look closely, you can see some dog paw prints.
All of this builds a set of mental associations with the name “CoreDogs.”
If you build a site for yourself, a business, or a non-profit, keep branding in mind. Try to create an identity for the site, and link it to the value proposition.
You learned that:
We’ve talked about two typical commercial sites. But what about your site?