If you’re reading this, then you already have some appreciation of how important the content on your website is – but how do you decide what content to put on your site?
A website should read as a good friend talking and this is achievable regardless of the topic or language required. A good friend when you ask them about their weekend will not respond “went to shops, bought shoes, ate dinner” they will tell you about how they felt, give you descriptions and in doing this, they may attract you to the shoes they bought or the restaurant they ate in.
Even in the world of Twitter and 140 characters, we have developed ways of expressing ourselves in more than a purely factual matter.
When we buy a product, we are increasingly interested in the backstory – is it organic, is it fairly traded or is it a new concept product or service. Advertisers are cashing in on this too as we chase ‘the lifestyle’, so they create adverts for a product that convince us that their product will complete the lifestyle we are chasing. Your website is an invite to your product or service, an advert to the world you are creating.
Stories don’t happen by accident! Tolkien didn’t sit down and write The Hobbit in completion in one go. He spent time working on character development and building the story plot with all the twists that keep people hanging on to the imagery that the words convey to ensure we are reading right to the end. Storytellers are experts of marketing! When you are working on your website content, you need to hold the reader’s attention right to the end.
What we are trying to achieve when we have a product to sell is to take the potential purchaser on a journey – maybe they haven’t even heard of your product before, but by the end we want them to crave it!
The graph below outlines this.
When a reader has a connection with a story, they are generally feeling an emotional connection. This is no different from the ‘story’ or the ‘feeling’ gained from visiting a website. Sometimes we have expectations from a website and if the site doesn’t meet our expectations then the story is lost on us and we dis-engage from the website content.
Professor of cognitive science and usability consultant for the Nielson Norman Group, Donald Norman, explored the relationships that people develop with design in his book ‘Emotional Design’. Norman found that how a user experiences a product is highly dependent on design on three different levels.
All website visitors will experience some level of these three stages – online banking platforms will provide equal evaluation opportunity as a site with extravagant visual design. This is so important to when it comes to evaluating a site against the graph above when it comes to brand loyalty, which is of course the perfect end result!
You need the website viewer to make a connection with your site on all three levels for them to maintain an interest in your site.