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Why Do I Need a Website? – Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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It is true that in 2015 and going forward that your company needs a website. Have you ever asked yourself why does your company need one? It may seem strange to question this, especially as obvious answers might jump out at you, such as “to have an online presence” and “to sell my products online” etc.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow pioneered a technique known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help us visualise, realise and self-actualise why we need what we need and how to achieve it. Here we apply it to your potential website so that you can understand and utilise its full potential. In short, your business website should be a platform to attract, engage, obtain and retain customers to then drive sales, but this is easier said than done. Read this blog entry to ascertain as to why you need a website and why you should approach its design and build in certain ways.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs takes the form of a pyramid diagram with the base level consisting of the functional aspects, such as the existence of your website, and then finishes at the top level with the performance aspects such as your customer targeted design and processes. Please see this diagram here courtesy of Ugurus:

1. Functional

At the base level, your website obviously needs to exist. With this it needs to exist in good standing; meaning that it is hosted securely and will rarely be offline, be secure and free from spam, have acceptable loading times and be error free throughout. These are the basic components that every website should have before you can ascertain what potential it can reach and how best you can utilise it.

2. Reliable

Moving upwards, reliability is reinforced. Now that you have a website and people know that it exists, it must be a trustworthy and reliable entity for them to visit. Due to these stipulations it will need to have a good and useable design and layout, be regularly updated to keep it efficient, be built with a content management system and/or platform that is trustworthy and robust, make use of back end analytics for further optimisation and of course be useable on multiple devices (desktop, mobile, tablet etc.).

3. Understood

With the latter two points considered, you must understand who your customer and target market is to ensure they know why they should visit your website for that purpose. Nurture and make your customers feel appreciated by giving the option to have an account or profile on your website and also the ability to sign up to your newsletter, implement SEO to get new customers to the website and once they are there, have a tried and tested conversion strategy in place. What binds all of these qualities is quality website content that is focused on your target market.

4. Attraction

Your website will naturally attract visitors if you implement even the most basic of SEO, but with steps one, two and three complete, it then becomes time to focus on driving the correct customer traffic to your website. This would be seen as the correct stage to engage in paid advertising (i.e. in the form of online ads) and ramp up an audience acquisition by utilising your mailing list and social media channels and whatever other advertising and media streams you choose to use.

5. Performance

The top tier of the diagram is also called the peak because by this stage your website should have peaked and you can actually start to safeguard it by refining some of your standards and endeavouring to promote it offline. What is meant by this exactly? In terms of refining standards, we can look to the business customer acquisition funnel design. If the previous strategy here with your business was to acquire new customers by offering a discount code off their first purchase, a newer and more refined method to retain your current customers and still gain new ones may be to run a referral scheme where both parties benefit. In terms of offline promotion and optimisation, your website is now at a worthy status to see it benefit from promotional campaigns via print media and other forms of advertising, as you should be able to calculate a realistic return on investment here.

With the above points all considered, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs adapted for websites not only shows us as to why businesses need websites, but also what business websites need in order to serve their purpose and simply do their job efficiently and effectively. Ireland Website Design understands and abides by the needs of both our clients and their website plans to create bespoke and efficient websites that are fit to purpose and systematically optimised to bring you both loyal customers and a growing customer base.

Weaver, B. (2014). The Hierarchy of Web Needs. (online) Available at: http://www.ugurus.com/blog/the-hierarchy-of-web-needs[Accessed 11/11/2015]

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