Your website is your best opportunity to introduce your organization to the world. A great website is like a well-told story--even better, it’s like a Blockbuster musical. A PHANTOM. A LES MIZ. A WICKED. A LION KING. What can we learn from the best of the best most successful blockbuster musicals (that still pull in a million a week on Broadway--not to mention their various incarnations around the world?) Here are five applications:
1. Mix it up. The best musicals have scores that take the audience on a journey. They include ballads, big production numbers, a song with one woman singing on an empty stage with a spotlight. The pages of your website shouldn’t all look and feel the same. Implement a variety of layouts, photo sizes, and word counts. People get such an influx of content on the web now, we skim for digestable content. So make sure all your pages don’t look the same at first glance. Give your audience variety. You need “Circle of Life” but you also need “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
2. Take a cue from the godfather of musicals. Living legend Stephen Sondheim said of good writing: “God is in the details.” The same is true for solid web content. Your “about” page, your “services” page, and especially your blog should be rich with specifics. If you are a nonprofit include specific stories of lives changed. Paint a very specific vision. Think of the rich detail in Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
3. Have a through line. Every character in a musical needs a through line. He needs to know what he wants, what is driving him, what his purpose is throughout the entire 2 and a half hour story. The same is true for your website. What is the overall message of your website? You should be able to articulate both your organization’s purpose and your website’s purpose. The Phantom wants to not only make Christine a star but wants her to love him and marry him. What does your website want?
4. Choose images, colors and fonts that are an exciting version of you. Do you associate a color with WICKED? Green perhaps? Be thoughtful with your web image. Choose a design that makes your business look just a little bit cooler. How do you want your business to be perceived? Cutting edge? Sophisticated? Creative? Environmentally friendly? Choose a design that reflects your business on its best day.
5. Have a logical beginning, middle and end. Your website should read like a book (or like a well-written musical). Just as we read left to right, your website should tell its story from left to right. You start with a friendly intro. (See mine here). The Prologue in Les Miserables tells Val Jean’s entire backstory so when the rest of the cast comes in for “At The End of the Day” we already know how far Val Jean has come and we’re rooting for him. After you give your readers a solid intro (prologue) tell your readers a little about where you’ve come from, what you have to offer and finish it off by giving them a way to contact you. Include what is necessary for them to understand your business--but don’t include eeeeverything. This is Les Mis the musical--not Les Mis the 1500 page novel.
A website that is on point is like a musical that makes a million every week. Implement these five steps and your website will definitely sing.
What do you think is a key aspect of a website that pops? What has worked for your business?