Dear Ugly, Outdated, and Self-Made Websites…

I'm Sorry, This is you.

This is a great visual of how ugly, outdated, or self-made websites appear when they don’t measure up to just the basic expectations of the visitor.

website marketing

Yes, the creeper van does offer the same technical services as the school buses, but its presentation not only drives people away – it also recruits otherwise indifferent bystanders to warn others to stay clear.

The only reason I took a picture of it was because of how out of place it was in context of the regular school buses.

Is this for real?  Are they still in business?  Is this a scam? – All questions visitors have when something just doesn’t feel right.  Then they bounce.

Oh, if this is your van – I’m sorry, nothing personal.

The Human Brain is Hardwired for Pattern Recognition – Marketing to the Subconcious

The human brain takes in a tremendous amount of information in an instant and decides for us what is important enough to call to our attention, as well as what is so unimportant or ordinary that it is filtered from our awareness completely.

Pattern Recognition - Dane Shakespeare

This is why you can see familiar shapes in clouds, trees, rock formations, ink blotches, or even cracks in the ceiling – while at the same time you can drive down the road and not be aware of things you see every day.

In marketing we use this to our advantage.  We create images that trigger the pattern recognition to call attention to a subject, or use the same concept to hide something altogether to guide the focus of attention along a path to another subject.

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An Idea is Only As Good As its Execution

Every idea is only as good as its execution.  It doesn’t matter how great the idea –  for an advertisement, a website, a sales letter, or ad campaign if its execution detracts from the intent or purpose of the idea itself.

Designing an idea

For example, a poorly designed website communicates volumes to the visitor that the owner or designer never intended – or even thought of.  The dated design, the confusing user experience, the encyclopedic copy keeps the visitors focus on the lamentable execution rather than the message or intent of the site itself.

An overly designed or decorated website or advertisement is often an attempt to mask the lack of content or creativity.  Often designers will overuse fonts, colors, and other design elements to try and make their work look more professional, but in reality it only highlights an amateur design.

Effective ideas in design and in writing always come from taking away everything that doesn’t help or add to the communication or purpose of the work itself.  The most effective ideas are those that are reduced to the simplest and most essential elements required to achieve its purpose.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Temptation of Being Too Commercial

Diluting your business, product, your website, your marketing materials, etc. to make them appear more “commercial” will just make people like them less.

Photographing business owners

It seems to be the “default” mode of doing things for businesses trying to climb to the top. The thought is that “bigger is better”, so tremendous efforts are made to look big by copying the methods and styles of the big guys.

Website designers choose stock photos of professional, unrealistic looking people in a boardroom happily smiling and pointing to graph on the whiteboard that has nothing really to do with the business. They choose a stock photo of  high rise building  to represent their facilities when in reality they’re located somewhere in the suburbs. It goes on and on.

They are confused about the difference between looking professional and looking commercial, contrived, or institutional…

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