Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Difference between the Web and Brochures

Brochures, Pamphlets, Flyers, even Magazine or News advertisements are the same. They are minimalist. You pay for the amount of space that you use. You need to get the most out of it and you need it to catch the readers eye. These are almost always nice photos or graphics with a minimal amount of text over the top of them. For this type of medium, the less text distracting the reader from the main point, the better. Some great ads are extremely simple. Everyone knows about the "Got Milk" ads and the "Army of One" ads. These worked well for both TV and print ads because they were visually stimulating and had very simple messages. I can even remember the poses of Pete Sampras, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra in their "Got Milk" ads. But what would happen if they created a website that simple had the same phrase on it; "Got Milk" one time. This page would look just like the magazine ad, but it wouldn't say anything. Nobody would want to go to the page because it doesn't tell them anything.

The web is an entirely different medium. It can be small or large. The best websites are the ones with the most content. These are not necessarily the best looking sites, but they are the ones that are linked to the most often. You can use the web to describe every detail of what you do. You can use a forum to be interactive with your potential customers. It is a living breathing thing that can change on a moments notice to stay in touch with your business as your needs change. The web allows both images and text. You can describe every little detail for a house, including each room dimension, and types of decorations, or you can just say "Cape Cod Style Home". The web page doesn't care. The readers of your site care. You want to have enough information on the web to give your readers everything that they are looking for. You should leave them with no questions, at the same time you won't want to completley overwhelm them. There will be people who want the basics and only the basics. That is why the design and layout of web pages is so important. A website should have overviews of information with links to additional details, those readers that are interested enough, or just the types that need to know everything, can continue to drill down to find the more detailed information. Without this more detailed information a website will hurt itself. It will lose potential sales, and it will not provide the potential magic keyword that would put it at the top of the list in Google for something that the business owner hadn't even considered an important topic. I have found over and over that this is the case. A business will focus on something with several lesser things that they also offer, and by providing enough content on their websites, what used to be the lesser things, becomes the focus of the business. You never know where the money will come from with your customers, so always be prepared to offer as much information as you can.

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