The Internet moves at the speed of light. You have mere seconds to capture the attention of your website visitors. Whether you do or not all depends on what you give them what you’re looking for in that short time span. Check your Google Analytics reports to see just how long your average visitor is staying, what brings them to your site, and what’s the last thing they look at before they leave.
Although even the most popular websites will have some people who just don’t get it, it’s important that you are presenting the reader with the most authentic version of you and your brand. If you do that, the ones that don’t stay will be the ones that don’t get your brand. And the ones that do stay will be the exact audience you’re looking for.
When you’re considering the design of your website, there are so many factors that come into play, including user friendliness and search engine optimization tactics. But the overall vibe of your brand is an important factor, too. The look and feel of your website should match the one you’d like to project with your brand.
This goes far beyond slapping your logo at the top and coordinating colors with your business cards. Start by asking yourself how you want to come off to your audience. Is it a big deal to be serious and trustworthy? Do you have a young brand? Do you need to convey a nurturing vibe or is your brand tough or edgy? These are all questions you should have answered when you were establishing your brand identity. Now use those answers to help decide how to design your website.
Think of your website as a physical building. In a way, you’re building a restaurant for your brand and ideas. You want your target audience to feel as at home there as possible. Plan your design around what would make them comfortable and what would get them to the destination you have in mind.
For example, if you’re selling preppy clothing, you’re building a place for someone with a distinct aesthetic. You’re not going to hang chains from the ceilings or playigoth rock music. The vibe is going to be very classic because that’s what the type of visitor you’d like to host is looking for.
If you don’t get the look and feel right on your website, there’s no need to even worry about the copy. The people you want to read here your copy will leave before they ever read more than a few words. But if you get the visual vibe right, it’s time to start working on getting the tone of the copy right.
Start with your target audience’s most powerful buzzwords. What do they care about? What resonates with them? What are their hopes and fears? For instance, a spa brand appeals to people who are seeking pampering. Words like “luxurious,” “calming,” and “soothing” are big buzzwords in that industry. Therefore you would use them liberally in your website content.
Next comes tone, which is just speaking to your visitors in a way that they understand and feel comfortable with. Think of the copy as the waiter in that restaurant you built for your audience with the web design. If it’s a country western bar, he might greet everyone with a “Howdy, y’all!” If it’s formal audience, he would be more reserved and respectful. Again, it’s about making the audience feel comfortable.
Eric Thomas is Brand Manager for BrandMe, the UK’s leading promotional gifts supplier. He likes writing about tips and ideas for business and website owners.