the sky floor

Your New Website: Why You Need to Start with the Difficult Work

October 26, 2022

Here is a truth that I probably shouldn’t tell you: when creating a new website, the most challenging work isn’t placing buttons or writing HTML and CSS; it is how you position yourself to the world. 

In fact, you can find many vendors who can create a website – although they may not all possess real taste. You can get a commodity productized website from Squarespace or Wix – although it will not be unique. 

You can get a decent website in a hundred different ways, but it won’t be great, and the challenges will be superficial and tangential. I.e., what font should we use, is the spacing right, and is our brand guide guiding the design? You may think, “isn’t that what creating a website is? Design, positioning, branding, and content.” And it is that. But if it doesn’t communicate who you are, why the user should care, and what makes your offer different, you didn’t start with the complicated work. 

The Difficult Work

The most challenging work when creating a website is using it to communicate for you effectively. Websites may seem interactive, but at the end of the day, it is a static experience. The user will come to your website, and they won’t have you there to guide them. 

You must do the hard work of nailing down your value proposition and positioning before you lay out the first home page design. Doing this upfront will save you time and effort and help the web design fall into place. If you can answer the hard questions about your business and who you are in the broader world, some fussy design problems disappear. If you start here, you will also hone your messaging in all other areas of your work. You will save time and effort when you hire someone to create your website because you can answer their most intense and vital questions: who is this website for, and how do you want to reach them?

But how do you do this work? Here are some quick starting points:

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Brand Story

Define your brand story. How do you help your customers? Why should someone hire you instead of the next best competitor? These are essential questions you must answer. You may think these answers are obvious, but when was the last time you sat down, wrote down the answers, and distilled them to their essence? Start there. 

User Personas and Stories

Once you know who you are, figure out who your website visitors are. Who is your ideal customer? What issues do they face in their lives or work? Most importantly, what pain point are you going to relieve? 

Bring it All Together.

Okay, you know who you are and your target audience; how do they use your website to match themselves to you? At the end of the day, a website has to turn the visitor into a salesperson who sells to themselves. The user needs to convince themselves that what you offer is for them. Here is the convergence of what you offer and the website visitor’s wants.

Brand Website Workshop  

Maybe all of that sounds great, but you don’t have time or mental space to dive in like this. The Sky Floor offers a Workshop for this very situation. It can be super hard to look at yourself with honesty; bringing in a third party can help clarify and emphasize weaknesses and strengths. Even if you have no intention of re-doing your website any time soon or with us, we would love to facilitate this process!

When creating a new website, start with the hard work of defining who you are and who you want to reach. Doing this first will clarify the design process and create a more substantial web presence for you!