website planningWhen we’re deciding what goes where during the planning of our new website, sometimes we forget that we’re not really creating a site for ourselves, but rather a site for our customers.

Approaching the website from their perspective, though, means separating ourselves from our own point-of-view. It means forgetting what we know and assume as insiders, so we can see things as outsiders might. That mental conversion doesn’t come easy, especially since everyone around the office reflects that same internal perspective.

You can easily pick out a website from people who couldn’t seem to make that transition, from the overwhelming use of the words ‘we,’ ‘our’ and ‘us.’ It’s okay to use those words in moderation, but smart companies tend to favor the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ in their copy. Why? Because instead of making website planning all about the company’s selling issues, it’s now about the potential client’s buying issues. And that makes all the difference.

Let’s face it, when you first land on a website, are you really interested in what some employees think of their own company? Or is your focus on the goals and needs of your favorite person – yourself?

It takes some drilling down to go from how you see your customers to how they see themselves.

Managers often take the tact of of talking about what what they’re company is ‘committed to’ or ‘believes’ or ‘prides itself on.’ Unfortunately, that kind of inward-focused content even makes their eyes glaze over when they read it on somebody else’s website.

If I’m the customer, then show you understand what I’m committed to, regarding my business or family life. Tap into what I believe. Know what I’m proud of. Then start there.

Because then you’ll have my attention. Like any human, I like having my views and feelings validated. I even wouldn’t mind a little empathy for my predicament. The predicament that sent me on my Google web search in the first place.

Most of all, if I see that your company understands my issues, I’ll be much more confident that you can actually solve my issues. I’m more likely to engage with you for next steps, since your competitors can’t stop talking about themselves on their own sites, and never gave me an opening to engage.

To be sure your website makes folks lean forward instead of leaning back, website planning needs to work within the context of the buyer’s universe. Because that’s what you’d respond to if you were the buyer.


If you’re hiring a professional web designer for your new site, great. But since it’s persuasive writing rather than the design itself that convinces folks to buy, check out my web writing approach here.