Overcoming a huge obstacle to getting your website done right

Adventures In Digital Marketing Episode 9

When you’re working on a website design, trying to figure out features and functionality, there is a big challenge to keep the focus on the right things. Sometimes it’s really easy to get distracted with what you want on your site. Today’s episode talks about this challenge and how focus in on the right things.


Good morning, everybody and welcome back. This is Rob Orr and this is The Adventures in Digital Marketing Podcast. I want to talk to you today about something that I see that could help a lot of website owners that are working on redesigns and working on maybe their first custom design or something along those lines because this is something that has come up a lot.

Over the years, I’ve been doing this and I wanted to talk about this a little bit because I think it can really help people out.

One of the biggest challenges that businesses, people, entrepreneurs, creators, bloggers, you name it, whoever one of the biggest challenges that we face is our website represents who we are. The problem with that comes in that we’re not the primary user of our website.

So when we’re going through our website design, we have to keep that in mind. It’s a really huge deal. It comes up all the time when I am talking with people about their websites and just different features and functions on existing websites that I’m working on and those kinds of things.

You see what happens is we start talking about thinking about all the different information that we need to convey. We think about, well we need to tell people about this and we need to put this up, and we need to make sure that I’ve got this opt in form here, or I’ve got this resource here.

Then it also becomes about what we like as far as website design goes. We started looking at things and we’re trying to get inspiration for the websites that we like that we think would look good if we could do something similar on our own side.

That’s actually one of the things that I challenge clients with is, “Hey, go find some websites in your industry and some websites that are not in your industry that have features and functions that you like, that you would like to maybe see if you could use on your website.”

It’s a great exercise because especially when you’re looking at websites outside of your industry then it becomes something where you can spend more time thinking about, “Hey, how can I communicate my message the way these people are trying to communicate their message with these different features and functions.”

It definitely causes some out of the box kind of thinking. Here’s where the challenge comes, this goes back to a redesign story that I did couple of years ago. The big challenge was we were building this website and they had very specific things that they wanted.

One of the most dangerous things is when it comes to doing custom web design and development work is that people think that because they have studied a little bit of web design and looked at inspiration they think that they know more. It becomes really challenging for people to think that they know what they’re doing instead of trusting the professional who does it every day.

Anyway, I was working with this lady and we were going through her wants, her desires, the things that she wanted to do, the new features that she wanted to add in and it just kept becoming this jumbled mess of all of these things that she wanted to have on her website. It was just like a complete feature dump in it. We had to have all these various different things.

The conversation was so hard to bring back around to the user side of things because that’s really where it matters. I wrote a blog post about this a long time ago. I’ll have to see if I can find it and I’ll link it up in the show notes. (

The bottom line is that your website design, while it does represent your brand, is not for you. Let me say that again. Pause obviously for dramatic effect there. Your website design is not for you.

Yes, it has to represent your brand and yes it has to convey your information and the things that you want it to do. But ultimately your website design, your website layout, your features, your functions are there for your users.

Those are there for the people that are going to be interacting with your website far more than you are. These are your customers, your clients, your ideal sales, target audience, those kinds of things.

So when you’re thinking through these things it’s so crucial to think with them in mind and not with your design needs in mind because those things don’t always match up. In that instance where I was telling you about from a couple years ago is it became all about all the things that they wanted to have on their website.

It was, “Hey, we needed to have this feature.” And then, “No, we don’t want to put that there. We want to put it down here.”

It was just ultimately at the end of the day we were able to work it out and put together something that worked out really well for them. But for them to understand that it wasn’t their design project was a really big challenge for them.

She ultimately came around and started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but man it was so crazy. So think about it this way when you’re working on your website.

Yes, your website definitely has to represent your brand. It’s you. It’s your branding.

It’s your colors and it needs to represent who you are as a brand. I mean that’s kind of should go without saying, but when it comes to the features, the functions, the various ways that people are going to be interacting with your website, it’s no longer so much about you as it is about them. It’s about how you ultimately can help them, but you need to feed them in the way that they want to be fed.

You need to speak the language that is going to be something that they’re going to understand. You want to make sure that you are dialed in and focused in on how to communicate with them because the first question that every website visitor asks when they hit your website is, “What’s in it for me? How can this website answer my questions and help me find the help that I’m looking for?”

It’s a really basic question, right? If you’re not doing a good job of answering that question then you’re going to turn around and end up bouncing them right back out of your sight back into the search results and on to your competitor’s site that may be doing a better job of answering that question than you are.

So when you’re working on doing your web design and you’re working on page layouts, and those kinds of things, I would encourage you to listen to your web designer because that’s what they do.

Your web designer, that’s their whole job is to take your message, listen to you, figure out who you are, what makes you tick, how you help and then take all of that and put it into a visual graphical representation that is going to communicate well with your target audience so that all ultimately they’re going to engage you to do what it is that you’re trying to get them to do when they land on your website.

That could be to pick up a phone and call you or maybe it’s to read a case study and opt into your list. Maybe it’s to submit a form to request a call or, I mean the calls to action are up to you, obviously. But how you build it out is going to be based on how you or your target audience answers those questions.

What’s in it for me? How can this person help me? I hope that helps.

It’s really kind of a challenge sometimes to get over that hump of you wanting to make your website be something. But really, once you’ve end up focusing less on yourself in focusing on your visitors then overall your website’s going to be much better off.

Does that make sense? It seems to be kind of a practical kind of thing, but it’s something that will definitely help you with your users as you’re trying to build your website and take things to the next level.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Until next time, this has been The Adventures in Digital Marketing Podcast. My name is Rob Orr. We’ll see you next time.

See Also:

Join The