The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

When it comes to an opinion, most people are happy to share theirs – sometimes whether you like it or not! When it comes to your website however, you really want the honest opinions – and that may not be your friends and family.

It’s a bit like selling a house. Time and again we hear property experts and popular television shows telling us the decor is not about your tastes but those of the potential buyer, who needs to be able to picture themselves living there in order to secure the sale.

It’s the same with your website – so you need the opinion of others who can view it objectively.

Hopefully by this point you understand the importance of always having your target audience front of mind throughout your website build (if not, click here for a walkthrough on this subject), but it’s easy to led astray when you come across a great animation or effect on another website and take a fancy to including it on your own, totally forgetting the preferences and tastes of your target market. So how do we avoid these pitfalls?

Ask yourself, who do I trust to tell me the truth?

Over the years I’ve heard many people tell me, with great enthusiasm, “my friends and family love it!” And I’m sure that’s what they told you. It may even be true – but ask your self this…

Are your friends and family your target audience?

Do they truly represent the majority or bulk of the group you know will actually be looking for your product or service? Are they in the right industry? Would they invest the amount you charge to have their (very real) problem solved? Most importantly, would they tell you the ACTUAL truth if they didn’t like what you’ve created, no matter what the cost to your relationship with them?

If the answer to ALL of these questions is YES – terrific, ask away! You’ll get some valuable insight and perhaps some additional features which could really serve your audience. If the answer is NO, you could very well end up with a site your relatives all love – but nobody buys from and the time and money you’ve invested is wasted.

Sidenote: you should always seek these opinions at the early first or second draft stage of your website build in case many changes are needed – to save time and cost further down the line.

So here are a few ideas we’ve seen work as a far better barometer of your future success, when looking for others – outside your business – to review your website:

  1. Stakeholders. People who have a vested interest in your commercial success, such as shareholders, trustees, non-executive directors – you can even ask your accountant, who may have seen others succeed in similar ventures and can spot any glaring errors
  2. Trusted Clients. This should be a VERY small pool of those clients who’ve been with you a good while, who know and share your Company values (read my article on this if you need a refresher on identifying and promoting these) and whose opinion really matters to you. These are the sort of clients you want a whole business filled with, so it makes sense to create your new website to appeal to their tastes
  3. Key Staff. Not everyone in your organisation may understand the concept of your target audience / being selective in this so this is one I wouldn’t open up to the whole team – just the key people who know your customers and their needs on a first-name basis. They’re the ones with insights to share and who hear “I can’t find it on your website…” more than others might
  4. Your web designer. Dare we say it, but the person you know who has seen more websites succeed and fail (assuming you chose someone experienced), is the best person to help you learn from others’ mistakes. Be prepared to listen to what they say and go with it – even if just for a short period – and trust in your own judgement in choosing to work with them.

We once worked with a terrific company who sold mid-upper-range accessories for a predominantly female market, but the client was obsessed with bargains. Their target audience however were young, affluent and instagram-obsessed – all they wanted was to be seen with the latest bag – not a bargain, they wanted status symbols. We stripped away all the “SALE SALE SALE” banners and “Bargain Basement” section, replacing them with high quality, aspirational images and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the handmade and unique nature of the product – values they themselves held dear. Sales through the site quadrupled. 

You didn’t start your website to create something you want for yourself, you set out to solve someone else’s need. They are the people to ask what they think of your website – before it launches – and leave your Mum and Dad to pat you on the back afterwards.

Want 5 easy ways to make more money using skills you already have? Grab your FREE copy of my eBook, Leverage Your Expertise Online, today: and discover how to create new income streams by unlocking the hidden profit in your business through your website.