By Brody Dorland published September 12, 2011

How to Structure Your Web Content to Get Better Conversions from Buyers

There is no shortage of articles on buyer profiling and personas on the CMI blog, but today I’d like to take that process one step further and show you how to improve the effectiveness and performance of your website by incorporating your buyers’ needs and wants into your website’s content architecture.

Step 1: Define key visitor tasks

Any good buyer profiling exercise should provide you with a list of each persona’s primary needs, wants, and pain points (you can download this buyer persona template from Barbra Gago). When thinking about website content, you want to figure out how your audience’s needs might translate into actual online research activities. You also want to determine both the online resources and keywords that might be used when doing this research, but when they land on your online doorstep, then what?

Ask yourself (and your customers) these two questions:

  • What are the 2-3 things your personas are going to want to do/ learn/ find when they land on your site?
  • What are the 2-3 things YOU want them to do/ learn/ find when they land on your site?

The answers to these questions become the defined Key Visitor Tasks (KVTs) that now need to be mapped out within your website’s content and information architecture.

Step 2: Create your conversion funnel

With your KVTs defined, diagram the high-level flow of your overall online marketing efforts so that all parties involved — information architects, (IA), user experience professionals (UX), copywriters, search engine optimizers (SEO) — understand the primary goals of your website. Do this by creating a complete online marketing funnel diagram that displays each of the acquisition, conversion, and follow-up/ nurturing components of your marketing efforts.

Click image to enlarge.

In this simple example, note how each conversion goal has been called out and numbered. The next step is to map these goals to linear conversion paths within your website’s content.

Step 3: Map your conversion paths

I’m sure most of you reading this are familiar with the concept of developing a detailed sitemap as part of a website development effort. Taking this process one step further, you should literally map out the flow of your conversion paths directly on top of the sitemap. This can be accomplished several different ways graphically, but below is an example that correlates to the previous funnel diagram.

Click image to enlarge.

As you can see in the legend, I’ve taken the numbered conversion goals from the funnel and created a color-coded overlay that sits on top of the website content architecture. With each conversion path spelled out, the UX and content folks are able to get a clear picture of the paths you want site visitors to follow. Again, these paths are based on both the key tasks that your visitors will want to complete and the task you want them to complete while on your site.

Now it’s up to the designers and writers to develop great page content and calls to action to keep your visitors moving through those paths as you intended. If you do all this correctly, visitors are going to convert.

What is your process for converting buyer needs to website content? Are you mapping your conversion paths? Did this explanation help? Tell us in the comments!   

Author: Brody Dorland

Brody is an online marketing consultant, blogger, podcaster, and co-creator of DivvyHQ, a cloud-based editorial calendar application that helps you manage your content, ideas, editorial teams and production schedules all in one place. Follow Brody on Twitter @brodydorland.

Other posts by Brody Dorland

  • Scott Frangos

    Excellent article on this often overlooked tactical focus, Brody — thanks.  I particularly enjoyed the charts.  What do you recommend for analysis and adjustment AFTER the original strategy is in place, but you learn that visitors might be behaving a little differently (bouncing from certain pages in the funnel, etc.) than you at first thought?  And… good meeting you at CMW.

    • Brody Dorland

      Thanks Scott! And I’ll follow up on your email shortly…

      Regarding analysis and adjustments, we set up each conversion path as a goal funnel in Google Analytics to see how they’re performing and from where any abandons are coming. If we’re getting “exits” consistently from certain pages, then we go back in and look at ways to tweak content and CTAs. And since each conversion path is set up as a goal within the system, we get a pretty good idea (over time) which content paths are the strongest/weakest and which areas of the site is garnering the most interest. Google Analytics can tell us a lot, but if companies aren’t setting up these goals/funnels, then they’re just flying blind. 

      So great to meet you at CMW! Looking forward to chatting more…

  • Brendan Cournoyer

    Wow, interesting stuff Brody. I don’t know how many companies actually take this sort of detailed/organized activity-based approach to their site design. Certainly does a nice of job of representing how each portion of a site has a specific purpose, and it’s direct effect on the business.

    • Brody Dorland

      Thanks for the comment Brendan! You’re right…Most companies don’t do this. And I need not remind you that there are a lot of companies will under-performing websites out there…

  • Frank

    Great article but it looks like a spelling error in the first chart:  “Achedemic/Trade Media & Groups”…should this not be Academic?

    • Brody Dorland

      Thanks for the heads up Frank. Looks like I’m going to have to fire my diagram guy. Oh wait, I’m the diagram guy!

    • Brody Dorland

      Thanks for the heads up Frank. Looks like I’m going to have to fire my diagram guy. Oh wait, I’m the diagram guy!

  • bryant

    Stumbled into this.i could have used this earlier,Well this is a great article,but the is a problem,now i have to go an fix my poorly designed website! I am sure i have to stay up late till i get it where i want it.thanks brody

  • james william

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm nice Dude