Can you make your website visitors quickly feel at home?

Do you have clearly separate groups of people who visit your website? If so, do you make it easy for them to identify themselves and set off down the right path? If you do, it’s a win for both parties. If you don’t, there’s always the risk that one of the groups might think there’s nothing on the website for them, and try to find the information somewhere else.

One such divide is prospects versus existing customers. It’s often very hard for existing customers to find the support information they’re after, hidden in the sales blitz. Another divide is people who know what they want versus people who don’t. Visualising different groups like this is hard, but it’s a really important exercise for all website owners.

For example, take Stowlin Croftshaw, the chemical supplier I mentioned yesterday, whose website we helped build a couple of years ago. The company realised that one class of prospect was people who were looking for a supplier of a specific chemical; but a quite separate class was people who had a specific job and wanted to find a chemical which would do it for them. These are very different requirements, and the traditional “product catalogue” approach to designing a website neglected the second group completely.

The company therefore created a section of the site designed for the visitor who isn’t familiar with the chemicals concerned, but simply knows what the chemical needs to do. Critically, Stowlin Croftshaw flag up this section as one of the main options on the home page, so the relevant visitors can see instantly that there might be something there for them.

In a simple way, we’ve used the technique on our own website, when explaining our Google AdWords management services. Prospective clients range from people who’ve just heard about AdWords to those who’ve been managing their own campaign for years but need someone to devote more time to it. The result was that before explaining anything, we let people identify themselves and go straight to a page written especially for them. Have a think about how you might do something similar.

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