When designing a new website or just a new section of your website, you might think putting all the pieces together should be a no brainer. As long as the content is good and covers all the features you want to promote, you should be fine to go.
However, deciding the overall content layout for your website is not a random task. The reasoning behind designing your website layout needs to relate to your business goals to have a powerful impact on your conversion rate.
Deciding your overall website layout is not a random task.
Today we want to show you how to use the concept of the inverted pyramid when designing your website layout. If you have been interested in writing and editing you may have heard about this concept as a strategy to create efficient content.
Generally, this is used by journalists and writers to prioritize newsworthy content. However, we are going to learn how to use the same concept to define your website layout.
The idea of the inverted pyramid is basically about placing your most important content at the top and drilling down to the least important content.
Why not start with your homepage? The following steps will help you decide what to place on your homepage and where. So, you can achieve the highest conversion rate possible.
How to decide what goes where, when designing your new website layout?
1st step: Business goals
The first thing to look at is your current business goals. What are you currently aiming for in your business and how do you want the website to help you reach those goals.
When you are clear about what your current business goals are it is easier to make decisions regarding your content.
The idea would be that you line up your business goals to your pieces of content. For this to work, you need to also prioritize your business goals.
Let's say, for example, your current business goal is to increase your audience by growing your email list and in addition you want to build trust among your readers by publishing valuable content that you want them to read and refer to. Also, you may want your audience to spread the voice and share your content on social media.
This means you have 3 practical business goals:
- Increase the readership of your blog posts.
- Attract subscribers to your email list.
- Encourage (make it easy) your audience to share your content on social media sites.
2nd step: Prioritize business goals
Let's say that you want to focus this month on growing your email list. This means that your top goal will be "Attract subscribers to your email list."
Then your other two goals will have a secondary role.
It is easy to identify 1000 things that we want to accomplish, but our capacity will be always limited by 24 hours per day and all other commitments already acquired.
This is why we always need to focus on one or just a few things at a time. Keep in mind that your website is not written in stone (not even on paper) you can modify it as many times as you need as often as you want.
Prioritizing your goals is basically a short version of your current business strategy.
A simple strategy is to think about your end goal, by end goal I mean the big picture.
Is your goal to achieve financial independence from your family or your 9-5? Is your goal to make more time for other projects or your family? Whatever your big picture is, try to identify which of your short and medium-term goals has the biggest impact on achieving your big-picture goal.
Rate your list of goals based on the impact that will have on your big-picture goal.
Back to our sample: We will assume that your big-picture goal is to create an additional income stream to improve your financial situation. Let's say at the moment you want to focus on building an audience to which you can offer your services or products.
How much can your goals help you to build an audience? (On a scale of 1-10)
- Increase the readers of your blog posts: 3
- Attract subscribers to your email list: 8
- Encourage (make it easy for) your audience to share your content on social media sites: 5
As you can see, this simple exercise helps you to identify where to focus your attention and consequently where to guide your audience.
3rd step: Pair your goals with your content pieces
This is the step where you decide which piece of content helps you to achieve each of your goals.
So back to our example, we look into what pieces of content we have (or can create) that can help us get closer to the main goal of "Attract subscribers to your email list."
A bonus that can be offered in exchange for your reader's email address is the usual recommendation.
Now, this bonus can take multiple forms:
- A newsletter
- A mini-course
- A consultancy call
- A mini video
- A webinar
- An Ebook
The key for this item is to really encourage engagement from your users. Whatever your piece of content or your goal is, you need to clearly identify that X piece of content helps you directly to achieve Y goal.
For our example, this will be an idea of this mapping:
Your business goals - your content offer:
|1st. Attract subscribers to your email list - Freebie: A video series to teach your audience one key tip.|
|2nd. Encourage your audience to share your content on social media sites - Add social media share links to each blog post and position them in key places (top, bottom)|
|3rd. Increase the readers of your blog posts - Highlight the last 3 posts with key visuals.|
Another sample for a different type of business could be as follows:
|1st. Increase sales of your new app - Screenshots of your app main features and clear instructions/links to get the app|
|2nd. Ease the handling of customer complaints - Links to contact form or communication channels available for support (e.g. social media, email, phone)|
|3rd. Grow the audience of your new website section - A concise introduction to your new section with some insightful visuals.|
4th step: Drafting your layout
Now, this is the easy part. You have already done all the heavy lifting in the previous steps.
This is the easy and fun part. Now that you know what to place on your page (defined in step 3), the order in which you place them is commanded by priorities defined in step 2.
So, this is how your pyramid looks:
Now, how do we translate this into a web layout? The pyramid tells you that you need to make the first item on the pyramid the most prominent.
Prominent doesn't mean that it needs flashlights. It only needs to be clearly distinguished from elements of a lower level of prominence.
5th step: Arranging your final website layout
Following our example, we now know that the greatest prominence has to be given to the freebie offer, in this case, a video series to teach your audience one key tip.
The offer has to be clear and the next step as well. This means you need to tell your users exactly what you expect them to do and what benefit they get from it.
The next item on your pyramid is to encourage readers to share your content. For this item, we have to provide the content we most want them to share. Ideally, your latest content is where you want their immediate attention.
You can highlight the last 3 pieces of content and make sure when visitors read it, they have an easy way to share it. This means making your share icons visible and accessible. However, the content has priority. Make sure the sharing icons do not interfere with the reading of your content.
For our particular example, the last item of the pyramid has already been covered. Increasing the readership of your content means that you need to make sure your audience can quickly identify where to find your content.
Images play an important role in all this, make sure that the images do not interfere with the core message. Instead, images should support the message and in most cases, they should help to differentiate the types of content you are providing.
And that's it, you are done!! Your page layout is arranged based on your audience's needs and your business goals.
Are you done designing your website layout?
As you know website design is an ongoing process. Your goals and your audience will change. However, you can always come back and run this exercise as many times as you need and adjust your pages.
It is important to keep an open communication channel with your audience so you can track how their behavior and interests evolve over time. They are your primary source of feedback and guidance for your business plans.
How often do you change the layout of your homepage?