Brainstorming content for your website? Keep these 5 things in mind
Till about a decade ago, the first thing you needed to start a business was a physical address. Today, the first thing you need is a website address. Your website is the first place a prospective client / partner / employee / competitor arrives at to take a look at your work. It is considered the first test of authenticity, accessibility and competitive edge. It becomes important, therefore, to put your best foot forward when it comes to your website.
The website can be made for a private individual or celebrity, business firm or company, a trust or organisation, or a service provider or seller. Each of these has its unique requirements, selling points and focus areas. The cyber world gives you the opportunity to push your boundaries and put your imagination to use. It does not limit your capacities but at the same time it can be a confusing space. You may find yourself surrounded by too many options that can potentially clutter your website and confuse visitors.
So, where should you begin when planning a website? What should be on your priority list? Here are five things that you must keep in mind:
1. Target audience
The people you who you would like to get interested in your website are your target audience. If you are a business this could be prospective clients or investors. If you are an individual – for example, an artist - this could be media personnel, art enthusiasts or prospective buyers. Having a clear idea about your target audience helps you visualise your website from their perspective. This is a target oriented approach that helps you sort and stack you display material.
The second most important thing is to have a clear idea about the message you want to put forward through your website. This message should ideally be a single-line that puts forward the idea and the spirit behind your brand, company, personal style, or work. Large companies now spend significant resources to figure out the key message that is pushed repeatedly through advertising channels. Brands often convert this into their tagline. Having a message gives your website a voice and clarity. It gives a recall value to the website and helps to convert each site click into a stay.
3. Tone, Language and Approach
Once you have a clear target audience and message, you must then decide on the tone, language and approach that you want to use. This is also intrinsically linked to the two preceding points. A website that aims at a younger audience might opt for a more colloquial language and tone. On the other hand, if the target is to disseminate information, the use of language will be more formal and clear. Before you make up your mind, take a look at websites of your competitors or peers and make a list of the ones you like. This exercise helps in narrowing down elements that you would like to emulate as also the things you want to avoid.
4. Balance of written content and visual appeal
Often when thinking of websites, people forget to take into account the visual elements that they would need. Visual elements on you website carry a strong impact. It is what a visitor sees first when he arrives on your website. A poor choice of visual element is also likely to drive away a prospective client. Equally important is how you balance the visual elements on your website with text. The website of a photographer, for example, will naturally have stronger visual elements as compared to that of a mattress company. Video tools have also a made a huge impact in the last few years. However, video elements on a website must be adequately placed and well-utilised. Heavy text on websites is preferred only in case of information or news portals. What one must aim for is a balance between visual and written content.
5. End purpose / Objective
The end purpose of your website is essentially what defines its look and layout. If your objective, for example is to make a sale, then the structure and content must draw the visitor into viewing your products, helping with queries, informing about return / delivery policies etc. On the other hand, if the objective is to simply inform the visitors about your services, then the content must create interest and curiosity. This is also what clearly distinguishes an e-commerce website from a corporate one. A writer might use his website to display his daily blog while a painter might use it to sell his creations; a firm might display the various sectors in which it is operating, while a retailer might use it to sell products. The difference between gets mirrored in their respective website.
A website offers you a clean slate along with the freedom to present your message. Easy tools are available these days that allow you to set up simple websites on your own while more elaborate websites require help of coders and designers. Visualisation and content are the crucial cementing factors in design. Get a second opinion, once you have the content together – it might help you avoid blunders.