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Website Success


3 Steps to Defining Your Message

The young couple were clearly interested, but there was something holding them back. They are getting ready to start a new business and had asked me to meet with them about creating a website for them. We had covered the basics, what kind of business they are starting, how Drake Web Development charges, and some possible payment arrangements, etc. But I could sense they were still not quite ready to move forward.


I’m not sure why, but I decided to explain to them how Drake Web Development goes about creating the messaging for the websites we produce. Suddenly there it was – the commitment to move forward! “Yes, this is what we want to do.” Then she said, “I wasn’t sure how we were going to come up with what to say on the website.” I was reminded that many of us have to see and understand the big picture before we can move forward with the first step.


I know what it’s like to have this need for the big picture. It’s difficult to take the first step when you don’t know what the second and third steps are. And if you have to come up with how to move forward on your own, it’s even worse. Without the big picture, you get stuck; your mind is frozen at the starting line. Perhaps this is because we’ve all been part of a project without a solid plan and the results are always less than we’d hoped for.


What you have to say to your visitors is important, so you want it to be powerful and persuasive. Without a messaging plan, your website is unlikely to communicate in a compelling way. The consequences are your visitors leave without responding to your call to action. Having a solid communication plan is the cure for this – it’s that important.


So, how do you define what the message of your website should be? There is a three-step process we follow:


First, we want to develop the website strategy with you. This gives us the foundation for a deep understanding what we are trying to accomplish with your website and provides the raw material of your communication with your visitors. We give you a list of questions to think about. These questions are the basis of a conversation we’ll have about a week later. We delve into what you want your website to do for you, what your visitors want or hope to get from your website, and why they should choose you over their other options. At the end of this conversation, we know what the goals of the website are and the pathway we will use to reach those goals.


Second, we create a set of talking points based on a communication framework that incorporates story elements. Since ancient times we have known that the best way to communicate powerfully is through story. By incorporating story elements as the structure of our talking points we are able to create powerful and compelling messaging for you. No, typically your website won’t start out with, “Once upon a time.” But it will have a hero (your visitor), a guide (you), a story theme, a problem to be solved, a transformation, and other elements of story that make your message compelling. This step gives us what we’re going to say, but not necessarily the exact words we’ll use.


Third, from the talking points in step two, we develop your website messaging wireframe. This consists of page sections, each with a specific purpose. For example, there will be a page header (sometimes called the hero section). The purpose of this section is to tell your visitor what you do, how you make their life better, and how to respond to you. This all has to be communicated in less than five seconds to keep your visitors from leaving. There are sections that explain the problem, establish your authority, reassure your visitors about their concerns, and so on. Because we are trying to get your visitors to understand your message, this part of the messaging process goes through several rewrites. Our goal is to be as clear and concise as possible – the fewer words used the better. But the meaning must come through loud and clear. There is no room for assuming your visitor just knows what you’re talking about without being told.


As part of step three we actually build the webpage. As the message develops and is rewritten, it is placed on the webpage along with graphics and images to support the message. You can actually watch this part of the process unfold – words are tweaked, images replaced, and designs changed to make sure the message is clear and powerful. You are a part of this process every step of the way. Nothing is finalized without your knowledge and approval. We developed this messaging strategy because your message to your visitors is what counts; it’s the whole reason you have a website.


Picture yourself having a specific plan for developing a powerful and compelling message for your website. Instead of being frozen at the starting line, your messaging is created using a solid plan. This plan starts with a foundation of strategic goals, utilizes the power of story to develop talking points, and then is presented as a clear and compelling message your visitors will want to respond to. At Drake Web Development, we don’t just build beautiful, attractive websites – we build websites that are beautiful and communicate your message in a powerful and persuasive way. If you would like to see yourself with a website that connects you with your visitors in a clear and compelling way schedule a free consultation – we’d love to work with you. We never charge for talking with you, so feel free to contact us today. You’ll be glad you did.

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