Saturday, August 6, 2016

Website redesign tip #1: Start with the story

Most of my work right now is founded in a website redesign. Smart companies know that their 1990s website just isn't doing it anymore, but how do they update? There are two paths: begin with the design or begin with the words.

Always start with the story. Why?

  • Your story drives your company. Who you are, your mission statement, your values, your history--all of these together drive how you do business everyday. This is your story, and it's one you want your customers to know.  
  • Your story drives the look and feel of your website. Making things pretty is one thing, but making them fit your brand is, as we say in Texas, "a whole nother". Think of it like fashion. Anyone can dress well, but it takes something special to put together a look as personal as Donna on "Suits" or Cate Blanchett. Their fashion choices are driven by who they are. If you know your story, you then know which icons, which colors, which templates, which fonts fit and which do not. 
  • Your story drives the flow of your website. The best websites are no longer behemoths of hundreds of pages--they are designed to be browsed on mobile devices with few pages that flow well and stay on topic (i.e., the long scroll.) But, how do you know which 6-10 pages should form the core of your website? Your story, not your design, should inform this choice. 

So, how do you actually do this?

You are telling your story everyday, in every business meeting, in every sale, in every professional interaction, whether you realize it or not. Find a content marketer, a content marketing strategist, a writer, to help you clarify your story. Then, he or she can help you create wireframes and lay out the user's experience of the story in a way that maximizes the impact of the story and leads them to an interaction with you. 

Once that's done, it's time to start the website design. And, your content strategist can help you give your web designer clear direction to complete the site quickly and effectively, saving you both time and money and creating a better website in the end. 

Websites that are all about the story

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