A frequent conversation we have with clients and prospects concerns their desire to increase the visibility of their web presence, and our recommendation that they repurpose and refine both the look, content and functionality of their cornerstone site. Some are, unfortunately, quick to dismiss these efforts as superficial. They say, “So you want to re-skin the website. Okay.”
This is a profound oversimplification. Design, while critical, is just one component of full-spectrum site visibility strategy.
Remember the Saturday morning cereal commercials we all loved as kids? Some hyperkinetic cartoon character would push sugar-coated euphoria on us and a tableful of bug-eyed tots would rock back in their seats, downing crunchy contentment by the spoonful. In the midst of the madness, Sonny, The Silly Rabbit, Cap’n Crunch, or whomever would offer a brief aside: “Part of this complete breakfast.” Then there would be a one-second shot of an idyllic morning meal — the cereal itself accompanied by toast, juice, milk and fruit — resplendent on a checkered tablecloth.
That’s website optimization. The design itself, the pretty colors, animations and effects — those are your cereal. Tasty, sweet, lighter than air. What gets visitors to the table and keeps them satisfied? The experience. And it requires intelligent User Interface accounting for where everything — graphics, blog posts, sharing buttons, copy — is positioned on the page. This attention to positioning is designed to “activate” the visitor. It engages their eyes, mouse and brain to create a more immersive, and thus memorable, experience. It’s the kind of engagement that gets people to come back because your brand gets burned into their mind. And oh, guess what – if done correctly, it improves organic search results. Which mean you can get found for something other than your company name. And that’s the wholesome goodness.
To think of it another way, site optimization is a complete vintage auto restoration and build-out, from the engine itself to the high-gloss frontend flame job. Maybe we aren’t doing things right if we can’t get folks to see past the need for pretty paint. If that’s all they want, or if that’s all they think site design should be, you have our sympathies when you end up with a great looking ride that doesn’t make it out of the driveway.
If you really want your web presence to work. If you want it to pull in visitors and be an engine that builds your brand and your business, we humbly suggest moving past breakfast-cereal design to consider a more fulfilling, and ultimately more nourishing, approach.