When we talk about building a website, we usually think of design, more than content; aesthetics, more than context. We have seen lots of websites featuring state-of-the-art visuals and interactive elements.
We grow to envy companies that invest a great deal of mechanics in their websites; giving its visitors a fantastic lineup of features that will end up being the talk of the town. Then we assume that only businesses which manage to generate astronomical revenue can make such an investment.
"We don't need wonderful," a client told me once. "We just need okay."
The client was asking for a mediocre quality work and juxtaposing that with lower pricing.
"What's wonderful?" I asked. "And what counts as okay?"
The client sighed and said, "Look, I can't afford to spend much on a website. Wonderful is big, bold, beautiful. Okay is ... OK. It's not great, but it'll do."
I can't imagine any creative firm responding to that request with a positive nod and going: "Of course. We will lower the price tag in exchange for quality."
There is an egregious misconception that great websites must be expensive and involve big, bold, beautiful designs.
The truth is, even the simplest websites can be great if they deliver the right experience to the target audience.
What does that even mean? 🤷
The Hero’s Journey
In every movie, every book, every story there is a hero. They are just like us — common folks — with regular dreams and desires. One day, their lives are disrupted by an external factor. Perhaps an earthquake, or an alien invasion. And there goes the rest of the story, as our hero tries everything they can to go back to the life they once knew — only to find themselves changed by circumstance.
Your website is a platform that delivers a story of change (read: conversion).
The hero is your target audience.
Before you send a word out to your friends and family that you’re looking for a team of professional website builders to create or revamp your company website, there are certain things you need to consider, such as:
What is the role of a website in your business?
A website can have different roles depending on the business model of your company. Is it going to be a place where your audience can directly purchase your products; or is it going to be a place where your audience needs to first understand what you do and how you do it before they contact you for further information?
Or, maybe, it’s a place where your audience simply needs to know where you do your business and how to reach you. Websites can be beneficial for you if you were to assign it a specific role in the way you do business; but it can be rendered powerless if you treat it as a general tool with no specific context to your business.
Who is your primary target?
Just because your website exists in the boundless digital space doesn’t mean the answer to this question is: “Everyone”.
Building a website is a lot like constructing a residential complex — before hiring a contractor, you need to think about who you want living in that complex. The answer to that question will determine the journey you are going to create for them.
Say, if you want professionals living in your residential complex, then you probably need to provide daycare centers around the neighborhood. Not to mention lots of co-working spaces.
The same goes for your website. If you are targeting product investors, then you better feature your product in all its amazing splendor to attract their attention and create their journey.
How are you going to communicate with your visitors?
When you ask junior communication staff with zero writing and design experience to update your company website and engage your audience, that’s going to cost you potential customers. It matters how you translate your products/services into an effective, attractive and inviting content — both in design and copywriting terms.
A poorly designed website is not the one with no interesting visuals, it is the one with visuals that do not support its message. A website with poor copywriting is not the one with a lot of text, it’s the one where the text has no clear message and no visible purpose.
Your job is to create a journey for the hero of your story: from the moment they land on your website, to the moment they contact you for more information, or to make a purchase of your products, or inquire your services.
Death by A Poorly Built Website
The sad truth is most companies prefer to take the easy way out, which often costs a great deal more money. They invest millions of dollars in social media and advertising campaigns, but completely neglect their websites.
What happens when you don’t invest in your website, anyway? It’s not as if a poor website is going to kill your business, right? Assuming you do everything else correctly?
After all, it is just a website.
A website is the difference between a six-million-dollar solution and a sixty-dollar problem.
If your website is doing what it is supposed to do, and it communicates exactly what you need your target audience to know — you won’t have to spend so much on advertising or social media campaign. Because those campaigns will lead back to your website.
Your website is the face of your company, and also your community base.
A website gives your business legitimacy, credibility and a channel of communication which you can control.
Ultimately, your website carries not only the integrity of your business, but also the story of your stakeholders. The heroes of your journey.
Information Structure in Three Acts
Once you have figured out the role your website plays in your business, as well as your primary target audience and how you wish to communicate with them — then you can begin to structure the information you wish to share.
In storytelling terms, I would suggest structuring your information delivery in three acts: opening – body – conclusion. In short, it goes like this:
This is what your audience will be exposed to as soon as they land on your website. You want their first impression to be nothing short of wowed. Put the right text and design in the opening.
Make sure you communicate who you are and what you do as a business.
Covered in the Opening are your Home page, About Us page and What We Do page. Make them sing.
This is the tough part. Don’t get too technical that you drive your audience away. Aim for simplicity and vigor.
This is where you talk about how you do what you do best and why they should reach out to you. Use a lot of verbs and don’t be vague about your products or services. Don’t say “best in the world” unless you have proof of it. Don’t oversell. Be frank and get straight down to business. Why should the audience pay attention to you?
Covered in the Body are your Portfolio (Our Work) page, Archive page, Blog content, Media page, etc.
The most neglected part of a website is the conclusion — if it has any. It’s important to let your audience know what you want them to do now that you’ve come to the end of the journey.
Should they contact you? And why? Or should they share the website’s link to a friend? Also, why? For every action you want your target audience to take, you must give them a good enough reason for it. Be courteous. However big your brand is, always take the time to thank your audience.
Covered in the Conclusion are your Contact page, Gallery page, Testimonial page, etc.
Free Website Audit ✔️
If you think your website needs revamping but you don't quite know where to start, please do not hesitate to give us a shout out. We will audit your website free-of-charge.
All you need to do is shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Redraft Audit".
Up next: Toys! Believe it or not, almost the entirety of toy industry relies on storytelling to keep it going. There is virtually not a single toy in the world that doesn’t come with a story. Seriously. Every single toy currently in existence — each has a story of its own which the company producing those toys wants you to remember and repeat.
Previously, we’ve talked about how video games are adopting storytelling as part of its development process. Toys, well. Toys have always used storytelling to keep its production line going. How?
Yep, you guessed it. Find out next Monday, February 1st at 9 a.m. and subscribe to ReDraft today.
Ride with me?
Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer
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