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Does Your Website Pass the Grunt Test?

What is the Grunt Test? The “Grunt Test” is a quick and powerful way to evaluate your website that was created by StoryBrand’s founder, Donald Miller. 

The Grunt Test gets its name from the idea that, if you showed your website to a simple caveman, they should be able to “grunt” exactly what you do and how to get it just by looking at the homepage.

If they can’t, your business is likely not performing as well as it could. You could not only be losing money but even be scaring off potential customers.

Peoples’ natural attention span when searching for a solution to their problems is extremely short. The human brain’s instinct is to "survive and thrive'. Meaning that our brains will filter out anything unnecessary or confusing. We are drawn to simplicity because our brains are wired to conserve energy.  

What does this have to do with your website? If a visitor can’t quickly figure out what you do and spends too much energy trying to find the information they want, they’ll likely leave your site and move on to the next search result. 

I know it sounds ridiculous to say that the average person is so fickle with what they spend mental energy on, but it’s true. It’s in our biological nature to avoid confusion.

Conduct Your Own Grunt Test

To conduct your own test on your site, show someone your website for less than 10 seconds. Say, 5 seconds only. Then turn the screen away and ask them the following questions:

  • What product or service does the business offer?
  • How will it solve your problem?
  • What do I need to do to buy or request information?

If a visitor can’t answer these questions within a few quick seconds, you’re most likely losing business. Clarify your message, answer these questions, pass the grunt test, and get results.

How to Pass the Grunt Test

What do you do if your website fails the grunt test? Don’t worry, you’re only a few short steps away from improving your business. Changing your website to pass the test is quick, easy, and low-cost. You can’t afford NOT to do it. Here are the two steps to follow to help your website pass the grunt test.

Step One: Be Clear and Simple

Be clear and simple with your homepage messaging. If you’re a barn builder, don’t say something like this:

“Evergreen Barns - We build premium, long-lasting, award-winning barns, without the premium price”

 Instead, say:

“Evergreen barns - We build quality barns for an affordable price.”

Clarity in communication always leads to more sales. I’ve gotten many responses to this way of thinking along the lines of “But we don’t want to undersell what we do” or “We want to make sure people know we’re the best because we have such and such.”

 I understand that simplicity seems counterintuitive, but that specific information can all come later. Your goal is to guide your visitor through the buying process. The most important part of capturing that lead is clarity. Explain the details later. It’s for this reason that the best product doesn’t always win, the one who communicates clearest does.

Step Two: Use Clear and Repetitive Calls to Action

A potential buyer won’t engage with your website unless they are told to. The average person will not go out of their way to learn more before simply moving on to the next search result. This goes back to how we are wired. Our brain would rather keep searching for a simpler solution than spend the energy trying to learn about another.

Clear calls to action tell your visitor exactly what they need to do. “Call Now”, “Schedule A Visit”, or “Buy Now” are all examples of clear calls to action that tell your buyer what to do to get your product or service. 

Avoid using CTAs like “Learn the Evergreen way” or “Discover More". These phrases, while creative, aren’t clear. Our buttons need to tell the visitor exactly what they’re going to get for clicking. These more creative options can work in some instances, however. Use the creativity on interior pages, ones that customers who are already interested enough to keep digging will see. Simplicity sells better than creativity when it comes to your messaging.

What good is a clear call to action if the user can’t find it? Be sure to place your buttons throughout your website, especially your homepage. Include a CTA in the top right-hand corner of your navigation bar, put a CTA below your main headline in your hero header, halfway down your homepage, in your footer...get the gist? 

Don’t be afraid to keep that call to action prominent to your visitor as they browse through your site. Keep the option available to remind them of what you want them to do. Regardless of where they are on your website when they decide to take the next step, the CTA button should be readily available.

Design Your Website To Deliver Results

Learn more about the Storybrand Framework from a Storybrand Certified Agency.

Most businesses are wasting money on marketing! We help businesses build a compelling brand, build websites that work, and develop campaigns that deliver quality leads. Clients who work with us improve their marketing results and build stronger brands. The "grunt test" is just one small piece of the puzzle, but you can learn more about the StoryBrand framework here.



Brandon Dillon
About the Author
Brandon is the Graphic Designer at VDG. His favorite hobbies are ATV riding, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, and cooking.
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