How a suit is like a website

I want to tell you the story of how your website is just the same as your outfit, what you wear and how you present yourself

I know it might sound like a very strange analogy but it came to me last night that your website is just like a business suit. Let me tell you how, it's not as far fetched as you think.

Twenty years ago....

When I worked for a bank I was sent on many, many training courses. Some of them were really useful in terms of my role as an analyst such as the ones about actual coding and software, some of them were internal, aimed at teaching us about the mission, vision and values of the company at that time (they changed quite frequently depending on which consultants were the flavour of the month at the time!) and others I can't even remember what we were there to learn. It's one of these latter courses or seminars that made me realise that your website is like a suit.

The course was held in a fancy hotel, there were pastries and decent coffee to get us going in the morning. Well the coffee was better than the stuff we got from the vending machines in the office anyway. We were even served a decent lunch at this one I think. Only one other colleague from our office and I attended this particular event but there were hundreds of people in the room. Thankfully we were allowed to sit together which meant we could share notes and maybe, possibly, chat a little!!

The speaker was an extremely charismatic chap, he had been paid a lot of money to stand on the stage and to impart his wisdom to us so that we, mere mortals, could learn from him and be better people. Well, that's what I assume we were there to learn as I actually don't remember anything about what he told us, I don't even remember the theme of the event. What I do remember is his suit!

His suit was beautiful. Even from the distance of being in the audience and him being on stage you could tell that it was made to measure. It fitted him perfectly, it was made of just the right shade of navy blue to be authoritative yet welcoming, it was cut so as to say 'I'm successful but I still have time for you'. The way he performed in that suit was awe inspiring. My colleague and I both commented on his suit, we talked about it as though it were one of the 7 Wonders of The World. 

To this day I have no recollection of that the seminar was about but that suit, that suit will stay in my memory forever as a thing of beauty and something to aspire to.

"How does this relate to your my website?" I feel you ask.

Well, here goes, and it pains me to say it, but most, not all, but most DIY websites don't leave visitors with that 'suit from the seminar' feeling. 

Most websites created by people who's best business skills aren't website design or website development (yes they are 2 very different skill sets), don't wow their visitors. Unless the website is actually terrible, the website is usually forgotten quickly.

I've reviewed countless websites for small business owners and I always give constructive feedback, actions that they can carry out easily to improve their overall User Experience (UX in website jargon). But I can always tell if someone has had their website professionally developed for them as it really shows, it stands out, it makes the website memorable and THAT is what you need. You want visitors to your online shop, your showcase for your products and your business, to really remember how great their experience was. You want them to remember how cohesive it looked, how quickly it loaded, how straightforward the menu options were and how intuitive it was to move around the website finding exactly what they wanted and then finding some extra things to tantalise and tease them. You want it to stand out from all the other small business websites selling the same or similar high quality handmade products for all the right reasons.

Perception is crucial - stand out from the crowd!

By having professional web development input in your website, even if it's just for part of it, you can really make yours stand out from the crowd. You can provide your website with that 'Wow' factor, that little 'Je ne sais quoi' that means your customers view your business with a little more respect - it shows you mean business!

Now, I know web design and development can be a very costly experience, I used to draw up proposals for websites costing around £10,000... but you don't have to be spending that kind of money to get that little step ahead.

Even if you can get the layout planned for you by a web designer, or a few pages built for you that you can then carry on adding to. Have a look at freelance platforms such as People Per Hour, Fiverr and Upwork, you'll be amazed at what you can get for not a huge investment. And it really will make a difference to how your business, your brand, your products are perceived by your audience.

Go ahead, have a little look at the freelance platforms and see if you can stretch your investment budget to really make your business stand out from all the others. Allow others to see how special it really is.