I went to Office Max early one morning — I had to get printouts (they do all my printing and do a fantastic job, by the way) for a speaking engagement I had later in the day.  The web site said they were open at 8am, and I arrived about 753am.  I drove by the front door to confirm the posted time.  The information was there — in letters/numbers that were smaller than an inch high.  With my over-40 eyesight and the early morning hour, it took a few seconds to see.  Having confirmed that I was a few minutes away from getting in, I parked the truck and waited.In the seven minutes I waited, two other people drove up and did the exact same thing.  Both sat longer than should be required to see those tiny numbers.  Apparently, there is quite a demand for a brick-and-mortar store’s hours in the early morning.  And because people want that information, I’d like to think the store should offer it in the easiest method possible to see.  Suggestion: 3-inch letters that I can see as I drive by.

Let’s move the same concept to the web.  I don’t have a brick-and-mortar office.  You find me on the web or direct contact by phone or email.  It should be my duty to make sure you can find the information you want as quickly and easily as possible.  I can tell you with utmost confidence that people will not call or email to ask those simple questions. They’ll just go some place else.As I am in the midst of a website overhaul, I’m asking the question, “What do my prospective clients want?  Why did they visit my website in the first place?”  That’s a direct application of Rule #1, and the only reason I should put anything on my website.  I’m creating an FAQ to answer some of the more mundane issues, and will have special areas with improved visibility for the things that most people care about.  Based on what people ask me in person, people are, at a minimum, looking for:

  • Hey, when’s the next class? (Dec 13-14 is the next public class that has empty seats)
  • How much does it cost? ($695, but the price is going up in 2011).
  • How long have you been doing this? (Well, “this” is a bit nebulous, don’t you think?  But it wasn’t nebulous to you, so I have to read your mind and provide that information — teaching more than 20 years; doing speaker training for 5+; exclusively as my sole source of work for 2-1/2).
  • What do other people say about your classes? (They love ’em!)
  • Have you trained anybody famous? (My brother came to my class — he’s pretty famous to me.  But unless you run in eclectic North Carolina circles, no.)

It’s a great challenge to make the right information easy to find without overloading folks with information they DON’T want.  Google has us conditioned to search first and browse second.  The information you need must be locatable by the user,  whether than user is a Google bot or a human.

What would I find at your website?  What are your hours of operation — or the answer to the key question(s) your customers have about you?

Make the information people want easy to find.