The Heart and Soul of Your Website

Would you read it if you didn’t write it?

Nearly all corporate sites commit the sin of dullness in their writing. It’s as if the clients and their consultants believe that if the design is good, all is good. Not so.

Writing is not the place to skimp on your budget. Seduce me, entice me, entertain me with words. Don’t be cryptic, don’t be stupid, and please don’t be dull.

-Jeffrey Zeldman, 37signals manifesto #11

Content comes in a host of formats:

Blogs, advertisement presell pages on social media, youtube videos, even e-mail newsletters. Content is the media that engages your viewers, informs them, entertains them, or includes a call to action depending on your objective. But most importantly, content is the medium that introduces your readers/viewers to your company and builds a relationship with them. It’s why your website can’t simply rest on its laurels once you have a web page. You need to close the deal with content.

Information is more critical than ever because marketing today has evolved from the impulsive “buy now” mentality that existed in earlier eras into a form that requires building a relationship with your public. Back then, ad campaigns were more homogenous, and healthier economic conditions gave people more disposable income to impulse buy. This isn’t the case today. Consumers are more conscious than ever about parting with their hard earned cash. They need more time to understand the product and the company, much in the same way regular positive interactions between two people builds trust and understanding.

The internal makeup of a website.

If HTML and layout provide the flesh and bone of a website, writing and content are the heart and soul. It’s what allows that genuine feel and authenticity that reminds us a person is on the other side of that screen, not some random computer program or bot.

And that’s really all it comes down to. As consumers, we have a myriad of alternatives and options at our disposal. An abundance of choices means a genuine, entertaining message will help set you apart from the rest. So please, don’t forget the content.

Red Flags When Interviewing Web Design Firms

We hear the horror stories all the time from clients.

Stories about how the web design company they hired made all these grand promises and expectations and then disappeared as soon as their new site was launched, leaving them with a mediocre website and no support in managing it.  

And clients aren’t the only ones getting scammed. We have faced situations where competitors have used sites we’ve built to promote their own companies and gain clients. The web industry can be a “scammy” world and we’re not afraid to admit it because we want things to change.

So we’ve compiled a checklist of questions and red flags that we, as experts in the industry, would ask if we were looking for someone to build us a website.

1.Have them Prove that it’s their work.

A lot of times in meetings with web design firms, they will bring up other websites that they have built to show as examples of their work. This can be very beneficial for you, as a potential client because it gives you a visual of their capabilities. Especially, if the example website is for an industry that is similar to your own.

But we have found that it’s not uncommon for web design companies to just pull up websites of similar industries that they know you will love and sell them off as their own work. This is very easy to do if the design company’s name is not listed in the footer.

An easy way to solve this problem is to simply ask for proof of design. Every design firm has a login set up on the backend of the website. If their name is not listed as the creator at the bottom of the website, ask them to log into the backend. If they cannot log in, they didn’t build the site.

2. Are their sites mobile friendly?

While looking at example sites, look up the URL on your phone and see how it looks in mobile view. Not all companies are good about making their websites mobile friendly and if a lot of your customers will be using their phones to view your site, this can be a vital detail that many miss.

3. Promises to get your site ranking higher in a week.

Search ranking takes at least 30-40 days to register with Google and other platforms. So if they make a promise like this, consider it a Big Red Flag and have your guard up for any more false promises.

A smart thing to do is ask the design firm if they have any software programs that they utilize to measure ranking and keywords. If they do, ask if it would be possible for them to run a test on your site now and then again after the first couple months of your new site being launched. This will allow you to compare your sites ranking accurately after hiring the new design firm, as well as, hold them accountable to deliver.