Should you shoot for cool or connections?

“Our primary objective for our new website is to have a cool design that will catch people’s eyes.”

That’s a bad idea.

“How can you say such a thing? We want to stand out.”

No, you don’t. You want to connect.

“What do you mean?”

Tell me why you have a website.

“Excuse me?”

Why are you investing money in having and redesigning a website?

“Oh. Well, we want to get business.”

I see, and a cool design is what will get business?

“Won’t it?”

I don’t know, I’m asking you. Do your customers and prospects normally choose vendors because they have cool websites? And if that’s the case, why do they currently do business with you?

“Hey, we’re the best at what we do, and we given them more value for the dollar than our competitors.”

And you have a cooler website than the competition?

“No. That’s why we want you to work on a new one for us.”

So your new website’s primary objective is to convince your prospects to do business with you?

“Of course it is!”

Okay, I may be going out on a limb here, but isn’t it safe to assume that your prospects are also looking for a supplier that is the best in your industry and that gives them more value for the dollar than the competition?

“Definitely. When people find out what makes us different, they want to do business with us.”

Ah. So the reason they choose to do business with you isn’t because your website is cooler?

“Uh …”

I ask because I think it’s more important to focus on what websites and other projects are supposed to do instead of how they look. Now, that doesn’t mean the look isn’t important. I want to be sure your site portrays your company as accurately and favorably as possible. I want to make sure that it’s inviting and everything that needs to be seen or read is visible. I want to be sure that it encourages your prospects to take the next step so you can land their business.

“Okay, but can’t it be cool, too?”

Maybe. Sometimes “cool” is the right approach. Sometimes it isn’t. We work very hard to understand what will connect with your prospects and convince them to do business with you. If being cool is important to them, we’ll create the coolest site we can envision. But if they’re more interested in stability and reliability, we’ll approach it from a different angle. We don’t start by thinking about how something should look. We start by thinking about what it should do. That make sense?

“Sure does. And can we make the main colors red and yellow?”