Building anything is hard work, with some things getting easier with practice and skill.
We have to admit though to ourselves, doing everything on our own is too much pressure and something will have to give. Fortunately there are so many people in the world, finding someone good at the things that take us too long or not our strength is possible.
The thing that makes planning and building our own website hard is that it is often tightly connected to our brand and so very personal. It is hard to say all we want in just a few words and organise the site so that users and ultimately customers can navigate it. As ultimately they do not live our organisation day to day, they see it from the outside as something useful for them to complete a goal.
Giving a user an overly complex system that has a hierarchy that matches our order system or company structure, is likely to put them off. We need to remember to keep to a light touch and offer layers of depth, they can advance into not a deluge of unfamiliar terms.
Where to start
This might feel personal when you have so much you want to say and capture. Even as a development agency we can feel the desire or frustration to get it "right". For this step we recommend turning to someone else, like a copywriter or web agency to help get that first pass of getting your message down and organised. Then get summary out in mockups in front of customers and staff to get feedback and simplify.
The goal is to find the essence that resonates, to get the audience to lean in and ask for more.
We should have the mindset that we are stepping into the customers view and they do not need the life history and catalogue lobbed to them. The aim is to feel more that they are sat with a good engineer or sales rep who is walking through the answers to their questions at the rate that fits.
Distill the messages into different buckets, one that is around the brand and business that can sine through but will be more subtle showing up through repetition rather than depth.
The website "does not" equal your Brand, but it is an important first contact much as walking into a shop. So take the second bucket of terms and approach as the marketing or brand direction for this versions. Then it is this campaign we want to convey with undertones connecting to the brand.
We like to think of it more in this way, as it helps us talk about the Approach being the thing we are focused on and not perfecting or changing the underlying brand. Brand redesigns are different projects and some times things that more evolve or are revisited as the business grows. So you can feel the website is important as it is, but it is not precious, and all will need to be updated and added to as customer needs and product lines evolve.
Homework for you
- One list of 3-5 terms to describe the brand
- Second list of 2-3 terms to describe the marketing Approach moving the customer forward on their journey.
- A bullet list of services your business offers, and sections you can educate and support, to form pages of the website.
- Take these out with some imagery to convey them and get feedback to how it makes people feel about the brand approach.
Come and chat with us if you need to talk about this some more.