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How to Tell a Story with Your Website

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Storytelling is a big part of a modern approach to website design. It engages the visitor, introduces them to your brand, and establishes your identity in a way that stands out from the noise of the Internet.

Your site serves as a portal to your brand or person. It is often the first thing (you have ownership of) that people see when they want to learn more about you. By telling your story in a cohesive way, you can greatly influence how that person identifies with your brand.

This is why it is so important to tell a story with your site, rather than simply going down a bullet list of must-have items. Things like your contact information and an about page are important, but how you present this information can be very much as vital as the data itself.

In this article, we will go over a few tips to help you tell a story with your website.

Add Personality

Gone are the days when dry, basic information is enough to serve the visitor. Often, your audience never gets the opportunity to connect with you on a one-on-one basis. That means social media pages, consumer review sites, and your website have to establish this identity for you.

While you can certainly make an impression through social media, as well as maintain a two-way communication with your audience, your website is the one true online property you have that you maintain complete control over.

This means it is important to add the personality of yourself or your brand into the written and visual content on your site. Think about your site as a tour guide helping visitors to discover what you and/or your brand has to offer.

You wouldn’t want to go on a tour with a guide that spouts dry, impersonal information riddled with corporate speak and other sleep-inducing factoids. Your website shouldn’t be like this, either.

If you want your brand’s personality to be light and friendly, then be so. Write your website’s written content in a voice that conveys your brand’s personality, and stick to it.

One interesting brand that has mastered the art of injecting personality into its website is Spokes Eclectic Pedicabs. Every detail, down to the font used and moving imagery, tells the story of an experience that is fun, friendly, and full of adventure.

What could be a boring website with photos of the street, and pedicab drivers, is a fun experience for visitors that injects personality and gets them excited about taking a pedicab ride through town.

Make it Easy to Follow

In the website Inception Explained, the story of Inception is told in a way that is easy to follow, and simple to understand.

As visitors scroll down the page, details are revealed about the story, explaining piece-by-piece how the story unfolds.

This doesn’t mean you have to have a website with animations and scrolling content, but just about any site on the Web would benefit from being simple, and easy to follow.

Your story starts on the front page. Users see your header before anything else, and then they either scroll down that page, or navigate to an area of the site that catches their interest. By making it easy to not only navigate to where they want to go, but to find out more about your brand, you will have benefited not only yourself, but also your audience.

Don’t be Afraid to be Transparent

Professionalism is great, and depending on what industry you’re in, expectations can be pretty high. This doesn’t mean you can’t open up and share the story of your team.

Here are just a handful of questions you can answer on your website:

  • What inspired the founding of the company?
  • What is the story behind the company’s first product or initial service?
  • How has the company grown over the years? What brought about this growth?
  • Who are your core team members, and what do they add to the organization?
  • Who are your customers? Why do they choose your company?
  • What are your company goals?
  • What problems do you solve for your customers?
  • Where would you like to see the company go in the near future?

You should avoid writing a wall of text at all costs. Focus instead on sharing your company’s story piece-by-piece. Your team are the characters in this story, and your product or customer experience is the plot.

Be as transparent as you can be. These days, people are responding more to a direct relationship with companies than ever before. By being transparent and a bit more human, you gain the ability to connect with visitors on a different level than you would have otherwise.

Be Brief, but Informative

Good storytelling is quick, informative, and subtle. You can relay a lot of information through the smallest details. You can tell a story without telling the visitor that you are doing so.

One website that does this very well is Booya Fitness. At the very top of the page, there is a video slideshow and two simple sentences, “Getting you sweating in seconds. Every type of fitness class you could imagine.”

These two sentences set up the story and tells the visitors right away what the company does for clients, what it has to offer, and offers them a free month right there.

In the background, you see clips from their fitness videos that show you what one of their videos look like, the types of exercises you will find in their library, and set the expectations.

From there, as you scroll down the page, you see a breakdown of reasons to sign up. These three short blocks answer several of the primary concerns someone might have when considering a Web-based workout experience.

If that hasn’t convinced you, there is a short, four-word review from a major magazine directly below it.

In the first 10-15 seconds, the visitor has found out a lot of information about the company, its services, its advantages over the alternative, and where they can find a review if they’re still not convinced.

The next time you create a website, consider the story your website is telling about your brand. Make sure it reflects the personality of you or your team, and that you are connecting to the visitor in a clear, quick, and easy to follow way that answers their most common questions.

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