Have you ever been on a giant website that has more pages than you know what to do with? It's like the navigation bar goes on for miles. You click around for a while, searching for a page that simply tells you what you want to know. In the process, you end up on pointless pages and wind up leaving the site without finding what you needed.
Lots of companies, big and small, have this problem: They feel that they need to tell website visitors everything, but they end up with too much information that visitors can't effectively sort through. This causes two problems:
- It’s a worse user experience. You'll have lots of users like the one described above, who aren't able to find what they need or what. They'll be frustrated and leave the site — meaning your site is unsuccessful.
- It's more expensive. The cost of building a website often depends on the number of pages the site has. After all, the more pages, the more work required of designers, developers, and content creators. Cutting back on total pages also decreases your total bill.
The solution, then, is to minimize your website pages. Easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve got the secret to solving that problem: A website purpose map.
What’s A Purpose Map?
Glad you asked! A purpose map is a site map on steroids. (FYI: A site map is a graphic or textual list of all your site pages and how they're organized in your navigation.) A site map simply lays out what and where your pages are; a purpose map completes the profile by adding the who, when, why, and how. A purpose map simply determines the purpose of every single webpage.
How To Make Your Purpose Map
The good news: Making a purpose map is crazy easy. It doesn't require any software or special skills.
Start with the site map you'd like for your new website. Draw out all the pages in an organized chart. Then, for each page, determine these three things:
- Buyer persona. Who is this page for? Which of your potential customer profiles does the page speak to? Because your buyer personas have different challenges and needs, pages should only speak to one buyer persona. That means you need different pages for each buyer persona.
- Lifecycle stage. Are visitors to the page ready to buy, or just shopping around? Talking to prospects based on their stage in the buyer's journey will help nurture them through the purchasing process. Again, you should have different pages for each lifecycle stage.
- Goal. Website pages shouldn't just exist for the heck of it. There should be one specific end goal for the visitor. Whether that goal is purchasing your product, downloading an offer, or subscribing to a newsletter, there needs to be a clear objective.
At the end of the day, you should have enough purposeful pages that cater to each buyer persona at each lifecycle stage with the goal of moving them to the next lifecycle stage. Knowing these elements allows you to plan a page that helps the visitor meet their goal.
This process helps with two things: First, you might find pages that don't have a clear purpose or don't match with any of your personas or lifecycle stages. You'll need to either revise those pages or cut them out completely. Second, you might realize that you're missing pages that could help convert visitors to customers. Once you are aware of those problems, you can plan to fix them — before the website redesign process really begins.
How Purpose Maps Save You Money
As mentioned earlier, website design quotes are often dependent on the number and types of pages you have. More pages will result in a higher cost because developers and designers have to create more templates and spend more time in total. If you're able to cut unnecessary pages before getting a web design quote, you can expect less sticker shock.
Plus, putting this map in place will save some back-and-forth with your developer — because you already know the purpose of each page, you won't spend as much time clarifying or updating pages. This is especially important if your developer charges by the hour.
Most importantly, though, a purpose map is a plan to bring in more customers. When you create pages with purpose, it gives your site visitors a clear and efficient path to follow — from stranger to customer.