Jennifer on LinkedIn wanted to know if it was worth a large investment of money to redo her web site. She’s an interior designer and isn’t happy with the way her site currently looks. She got lots of answers.
Some advised her to concentrate on search engine optimization (because graphics don’t matter as much as marketing strategy), others recommended she insist on a content management system (an MS Word like interface that makes it easy for a non-technical person to change the site’s content).
I’ve heard others in similar situations insist that words don’t matter because nobody reads.
The graphic designer focuses on the design, the wordsmith on content, and the SEO expert on optimization.
It’s like the old folk tale about the blind men and the elephant. One touched the elephant’s side, and declared the elephant to be like a wall. A second felt the tusk and said, no the elephant is a spear. A third, holding the trunk, insisted the elephant was like a snake.
The truth is that the elephant, and the Web site, are all of those things: side, tusk, trunk, words, design, marketing strategy, and traffic.
A web site with poor design, that’s hard to use, or read will not be successful. A site with poor wording will not convince anyone to buy; one with no traffic (or the wrong traffic) will not make sales if nobody sees it.
The design, the colors, the layout, the traffic, the marketing strategy (her points of difference, her story, her call to action) must all work together. Without legs the elephant will fall. With no trunk, it can’t eat.
With no marketing strategy or poor traffic, the web site will founder. Take away any single one, and the whole thing fails. Look at the whole elephant (and the whole site), not just pieces.