Meine Freunde, the web is a big sinkhole of the horrible (must be spoken with French accent, especially the German part). This is not news to you but we’ve become rather inured to it all. There is a solution for bad websites. It’s to make them more webular.
Webularity is the quality of design and writing that characterizes those websites that help users answer questions and solve problems. In other words, your website’s value to your customer. There are many ways to create this value but it always start with the audience.
This is hard, I know. It’s one of those things that few of us like to think about. It’s like trying to figure out the opposite sex, or even the same sex if you’re trying to have a relationship. But the reward is commensurate with the effort put in to understand them.
Understanding an audience can begin with thinking about why you started your company or why your employer exists. It’s always about solving a problem.
They don’t have to be this obscure:
Let’s examine what problem solving is all about. Think about your own behavior on the web. When you do a search, you’re essentially looking for information or a product to solve a problem.
Even when you’re looking for something funny to Tweet, you’re in a problem-solving mood. You’re goal-oriented. The same is true with anyone coming to your website.
When you conduct a search, you follow pretty predictable behavior, even if you’re a pretty unpredictable person. Google and Bing know this quite well. It’s not just the search algorithm looking for patterns. It’s search algorithms based on billions and billions of tracked behaviors and an understanding of how people conduct searches.
In my book, I tell writers over and over to observe their own web behavior and buying behavior. Doing this will tell you a lot about human nature and will give you clues to how your commercial audience behaves.
There are so many ways to search for something using words in a browser window. Let’s search for information about a vacation to India.
|travel to india|
|traveling to india|
|travelling to india|
|travel to india from usa|
|immunizations for travel to india|
|travel agents to india|
|cdc travel india|
|travel to india shots|
|travel to india visa|
|vaccines for travel to india|
|cheap travel to india|
|travel visa india|
|travel agent india|
|travels to india|
|travel agency india|
That is just a small sample of things a potential visitor to India might type into Google or Bing. If you examine them closely, you see different intentions. Someone searching the CDC website for disease information has a very different intention than someone searching for a visa.
Those two people are likely in different places in the buying process (or conversion funnel). The person searching CDC warnings may not even be sure about going to India while the person looking for a visa is already packing their bags.
This is something we all need to examine when thinking about our customers.
Benefits and differentiators
Here’s another example. I recently went looking for a better social media aggregator. I use three services: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. I use them all for different reasons but I get tired of flipping back and forth on tabs. I wanted a tool that would allow me to post to all of them at once or any combination of them or one of them.
There are quite a few of these aggregators out there. Like any product, I would be looking for benefits that differentiate one from all of the others. The differentiators that were important to me were:
- Easy user-interface.
- Allows me to post to just one service.
- Allows me to post to all three services at one time.
- Quick to set up and connect to my social media accounts.
- Free to use.
Easy is a big benefit for me when using anything on the web. When I arrive at a website, it has to be very clean and easy to navigate. I have to find what I’m looking for immediately or I’m gone, looking for a solution elsewhere.
This search is no different than searching for any other kind of service that you might be selling. I was in a hurry and I was goal-oriented.
On a search like this, I usually skip the paid ads. I often look for links that read something like “10 Best Social Media Management Tools.” I clicked a couple of those links and if they were nicely formatted pages, I read the brief review of each tool and clicked through to the website.
The page that had the reviews had nice images that broke up the page and gave me a sense of what to expect if I went to each tool’s website. Hootsuite’s was one of the most appealing and clean. TweetDeck is the tool I’d previously used for Twitter and it has a nice interface and website, but had some limitations in functionality.
Hootsuite had all of the benefits I was looking for and in no time, I had it set up with all but my Google+ account. I still haven’t figured out why it can’t find that but I will. I really like using this product. It was easy to find, easy to set up, and it’s easy to use. Easy, easy, easy.
Easy is good for webularity when I’m the target audience. It meets my needs and that’s what all of our websites should do for customers.