Is your website Valuable or Vain?

Looking for information on company websites sure can be tough slogging, can’t it?

So often, as I click and read, and click again and read again, and again, and again -– wasting too much time looking for information – that enduring Carly Simon hit comes to mind: “You’re So Vain!”

It’s simply confounding how many sites are all about the organization, and nothing about what visitors need. When navigating through many sites, it quickly becomes apparent they’re focused on design that flatters the organization rather than content that gives value to visitors.

But why? Visitors are looking for information. It’s content, not design, that determines whether they buy or donate or join – whether they do or don’t do what an organization wants them to do.

Not sure if your website has the right value/vanity balance? Ask a few representatives of your target audiences to take a test cruise and tell you: does the site answer their questions? Engage them? Persuade them to act?

If not, here are four tips from a frequent and frustrated website visitor:

  1. Make content the top website priority.
  2. Identify the goals for the site and decide how content can help to achieve them.
  3. Identify target visitors and their needs; decide what content will meet their needs and offer them value (knowledge, solutions, entertainment, etc.)
  4. Keep it fresh; update content regularly to ensure it is timely and accurate and to give visitors reasons to return and keep them engaged.

What’s the return on investment of a website with high value/low vanity? More traffic, more targeted visitors, goal achievement: really good value.


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