So far we’ve asked:

  1. Why does your website exist?
  2. Who is your website for?

Now, you need to answer:
What do you want your ‘who’ to do on your website and why?

Why you need to know your ‘what’

If you don’t know ‘what’ you want your ‘who’ to do, your website could be leading your target audience in the wrong direction.

For example, imagine a donut maker named Dolly Donut hires Doug Designer to design her a website. Doug interviews her for her ‘why’ and ‘who’ and this is what he comes up with:

  • Why: Dolly wants a website to sell her donuts.
  • Who: Dolly wants donut lovers to buy her donuts.

Based on this information, he decides to make a website with a photo gallery of donuts, some recipes, a map to local donut shops with her donuts, and a contact form.

Unfortunately, the website isn’t as effective as it could be:

  • Doug assumed Dolly owned a donut shop, but instead she’s making donuts for resell elsewhere.
  • A photo gallery may entice donut lovers to buy donuts, but it doesn’t lead to helping Dolly sell her donuts.
  • Recipes may delight donut lovers, but won’t do much to help Dolly sell more donuts.
  • There’s little information targeted to bakeries or retail businesses that could sell Dolly’s Donuts.

Doug may have created a beautiful website, but in the end, it didn’t do anything to help Dolly’s business. That’s why you need to know what you want your audience to do and why.

3 minute exercise

Remember your personas, who represent the ‘who’ that you want to visit your site? We’re going to put them to work.

Take each persona and list three, sentence-long stories describing what you want your persona to do, using this format:

I want [persona] to [do something] so that [specific reason].

or you could write the stories from the perspective of each persona like this:

I’m [persona’s name] and I want to [do something] because [specific reason].

Imagine if Dolly had written,

“I want local bakeries to contact me so that I can send them samples of my donuts for resell.”

With clear directions like this, Doug would have designed a completely different website for Dolly. It’s too late for Doug and Dolly, but it’s not too late for you.

Try to come up with three stories for each of your personas, spending no more than a minute per persona.

Next week, we’ll look into checking your current website to see if your content matches your intended ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’.

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