In addition to teaching us what to do when evaluating a claim to knowledge, any good baloney detection kit must also teach us what not to do. It helps us recognize the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric. Many good examples can be found in religion and politics, because their practitioners are so often obliged to justify two contradictory propositions.
The rules and structures to be aware of, and also break.
Your website has a clear purpose and your brand amplifies it. Headlines are great message builders. Once someone lands on your site (it doesn’t matter which page or where they’re coming from) you need to make it easy for them to understand why your site exists and why they should care about it.
(The awful truth of new visitors: they really don’t care about you. You need to be able to connect with them in a very short period of time before they click on their browser’s back button.)
Readability first. Let design help.
Most of your website visitors will come for your content. They will want to read and find great articles and/or tips you have to share. Use design to your benefit and make it enhance your content (think: typography). Highlight what you need your visitor to see first once they land on a certain page. You are able to guide the flow of your site with graphic elements without distracting your visitor. Less is more.
Let your brand personality shine.
You’ve come a long way in crafting your brand message, don’t let it hide under the coldness of your computer screen pixels. Let your brand’s personality shine through your website and social media design. You don’t have to be extremely informal and use exclamation marks all over your instagram feed, but you can definitely add a human touch and build long lasting relationships with your audience.
(This is a very delicate topic since personality can be sometimes be seen as informal talk and not appeal to your audience. I recommend starting a conversation in order to get to know your visitors more.)
Your website is about building relationships.
Each business has their own goals for a website (e.g. book appointments, sell a book, get new members.) The readers on the web are smart, will smell your sales-y copy and will walk away, which is why it’s important to deliver a strong message and offer high quality content so they can trust you, bookmark your site and come back. Every time we have someone visit our business’ digital home, we get a chance to help them and provide value to them; wanting them to click, subscribe or buy immediately does not make us trustworthy and they’ll walk away.
Think mobile first.
How many times a day do you look at your favorite sites on a mobile device? About 88% of adults carry a mobile phone: 50% of those are smartphones and 19% are tablets (according to Pew Internet Project). Thinking “mobile first” helps you understand how your audience is experiencing your brand on the go, lets you think of the hierarchy of information and how to offer it in a way that is convenient for them in short periods of time.
Location based information anyone?
Your brand and your website work together when building a community and creating brand awareness. In fact, your website design and layout will help you improve how your audience experiences your brand and gets your message going through the noise of the web so it may reach the right audience.