Most clients who want a website just think, “I need a website. Like other websites.” A website to them is a home page (probably with a slider of images they’ll never / rarely update), maybe three callouts below it. For pages, they’ll want an “about us” or maybe “our company” page, maybe a “services” page. Oh, they’ll need all their social networks on it, either as widgets with a feed of activity or cute little buttons. They’re gonna need a blog. Definitely a blog. They haven’t written anything for it yet but they’re planning things to write.
What they don’t have is a purpose.
The best websites are those which embody a single purpose. When Google destroyed Yahoo and AltaVista and all the others with their superior search algorithm, they also re-defined the purpose of a website. There is no doubt as to the purpose of Google from their homepage: they are search. That’s almost all there is on google.com.
What does your website say about your business? How does it define your purpose? Does it look like every other website?
Most likely, you don’t have a single purpose for your website but you should consider it. Your website isn’t made of bricks. Don’t be so precious about it. It’s not a building that is expensive to renovate. Don’t try to make it into a housing for all that is your business. Refine and reduce.
For example, if you are a restaurant, put your menu on the home page. Put it in text not a PDF download! This is what people are looking for when they visit your restaurant website. Don’t waste their time with a homepage that summarizes everything else on the site. Don’t force them to download a document. Put your location, phone number, and hours below the menu. That’s all you need: one page, one purpose.
If you’re a music venue, put your calendar of events on the home page. That’s all we came to see. Don’t waste our time. Calendar, then address.
There is a really plain reason that Seth Godin can get away with breaking all the “rules” of content, SEO, design, and social media — his site has a singular purpose (collect all his work) and a laser-like focus on that purpose.
What does your business do that defines it? Make that your homepage, give your website a purpose, and skip all the superfluous crap that everyone else is doing.
“Seriously, do not start down to the path to a website for your small business until you read Todd A’s book.” — Amazon review
Check out good.simple.open for more ideas about doing better work.