website design

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I’ve worked on a number of brands at different stages of their lifecycle. And depending on the stage, they need a different type of web site organization. Marketing is about moving a consumer closer to a sale.

A fairly common definition of steps to a sale is covered by the acronym AIDA: awareness, interest, desire, action. For an unknown brand you don’t achieve awareness just by having someone on your website; they must know what the company does. Does the brand pass the Is-Does test?

Once there and aware how does one create interest? Typically with some context about a product’s usefulness or a unique function that captures the imagination. A website home page must pass the interest test, if none exists.

Third, if a brand has met the A and the I, we must tackle the D, desire. Often ads and websites load up on benefits to achieve desire. This can border on bragging and quite often diminishes the Interest factor. Be wary of shallow, common benefits. Also beware of pile on.

Action is where the money is. The best action is click to buy. Or go to store to buy. But some actions are brand positive and moving closer to a sale, say, like a prove comparison or a feature comparison. That’s action.  Feel something thane do something.

Knowing what stage you’re in and not covering tread upon ground is key.  Coke doesn’t need to work on awareness. Know where you are — and design your web home page experience accordingly and you are doing your visitors a service.  Otherwise you are bombarding them with the kitchen sink and ceding the experience to search and whim. Peace.


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As a marketer, I’m not a big template guy. In fact, I believe templates can be harmful.  At, the world’s first drag-and-drop web community, the secret sauce was that everyone, grandmothers included, could design and create their own web pages. (No code required.)   By dragging and dropping or copy and pasting objects onto a blank Zude page anyone could have a unique web site.  But by providing new users with a large assortment of design templates  took that secret sauce and short-circuited it.  Fail.

PPT templates hinder presentation creativity. Marketing brief templates reduce output quality. And website design templates make for a Levittown approach to digital marketing. Formula TV shows (80% of Americans know who the bad guy is by minute 40), Googled business plan formats, and repurposed corporate documents and RFPs are infecting the creative side of our brains.

Tables and graphs and well-organized data are still important time savers. As long as there are organized inputs, there will be templates. But we must learn to stop repurposing stuff and create things anew.  To all templates, perhaps we should add the line: “If this template could talk, what would it say?”  Go forth and try to de-templatize.  Peace in the Strait. 

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