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  • Writer's picturebrucefenske

Is the important content on your website easy to find?

The content you think is most important on your website may not be most important to your audience. Many businesses think their customers care about the same things they do, but often that's not the case. Your goal is to keep them engaged and coming back for more. If you aren't sure your site does this, there are many ways to find out.

Where's Waldo?

The book originally titled Where's Wally asks readers to scour detailed illustrations to locate the lost traveler. Hunting for Waldo is meant to be a challenging and entertaining experience. Yet — for the majority of websites — there is no experience more aggravating than having to hunt for content. Your customer should never feel like a lost traveler on their journey to find what they're looking for.

First things first

To discover what content is most important to your audience, start by conducting a journey mapping exercise. This user experience method will help you understand the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. If you don't know your customer very well, you may need to go even deeper with empathy mapping. This is a design thinking method to uncover your customer's desires. Either way, investing time on a method at the beginning when there's a small cost for failure is better than later when failing becomes more expensive.

Showing up

Determining the goals of your customer informs how you organize the website content. You want the right content to show up in the right place at the right time, so put yourself in the customer's shoes. Right up front, your tagline should reflect the benefit you offer and give them a sense of place. After that, display your navigation text at the top or side — where they expect to find it — so they can easily navigate between pages. Be sure to use terms that they use when they think about your products and services.

Telling a story

The content you share is best communicated if it tells a story. Remember, when a customer comes to your site, they're on a journey to find what they're looking for. So think about the hierarchy of your content. Make it easy for them to start their journey, experience the story, and end by reaching their goal. If part of the story is making a decision about whether or not to engage in some way — like registering for a webinar, or adding something to a shopping cart — make that choice easy to find. And the text you use for buttons and forms should be clear and actionable.

The cast of characters

The content elements your customers use on your site — to gain knowledge or to complete steps in reaching their goal — are like a cast of characters in the plot of your story. Each character affects the outcome, and big important characters should take up more space than supporting characters. Make your navigation noticeable, important headings large or bold or colored, and call-to-action buttons prominent so they can't be missed. Your story will be easier and more enjoyable to follow.

In the end

What you communicate, how you communicate, and where you communicate the content on your site is very important. Equally important is the way the content appears to your audience. It should be visually pleasing, discoverable, and easy to consume. The point here is to keep them interested and engaged, not confused or frustrated.

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