How to make sure your website passes the Grunt Test

Website design can be tricky. You need to share a bunch of information in a very limited amount of time for a potential client to determine if she wants to stick around.

In a recent post, I shared the four pillars of conducting a successful website audit.

In that post I briefly touched on the Grunt Test.

The Grunt Test is something Donald Miller shares in his book, StoryBrand. And, it’s the first thing I address when determining if your website is effective.

Because unclear messaging can be the very reason you are losing visitors once they arrive on your site.

Does your website pass the grunt test? Make sure it answers 3 questions: what you offer, how it makes life better, and where to buy right on the top of the homepage on your website.


Donald’s simple, yet effective, way to evaluate a website comes down to clear versus unclear messaging.

Donald poses a question: would a caveman understand your offer by looking at your website?

The logic and concept behind asking if a caveman could understand your offer is pretty straight forward, but I prefer to ask a slightly different question.


If you gave someone five seconds to look at your website and then closed their laptop, could that person answer these three questions?

  1. What do I offer?
  2. How will it make your life better?
  3. What do you need to do to buy it or get started?

I also like to add in a fourth question: Who is it for?

I include this in my brand bio on the homepage so visitors can easily identify if my services are for them. Sometimes, this piece isn’t necessary, but there are a lot of great examples of how it can be used.


For instance, my friend Carolina Guzik is a contemporary photographer for awesome people.

While “awesome people” may not be a very descriptive identifier, it lets her potential clients know she works with awesome people–aka fun, cool, laid-back people. If that’s not your vibe, then you’re probably not going to want her to photograph your wedding day or family.

I love how she uses “awesome people”  in her brand bio. It’s right on the homepage of her website to answer that fourth question (Who is it for?). I’m still working on getting her to add it above the fold so visitors don’t have to scroll. But nonetheless, her brand message is very clear and concise.


This same simplistic approach to gauging your website’s effectiveness can be used in evaluating your brand’s messaging. If you can’t easily explain what you offer to someone on the street, you may need to evaluate your brand bio by using the same questions and principles of the Grunt Test.

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