Websites Aren’t Just Websites

You’ve read this sentence; now four new websites have just gone live in that time. But there’s a context that gets lost when it comes to building websites.

I’ve seen a lot of websites.

The total amount of websites online now exceeds 1 billion. Probably most people today have seen thousands and thousands of them.

A lot of these websites fail in one key area. An area which is the whole purpose of building and having a website in the first place.

How do you know if a website is any good? Because it gets tons of organic traffic or if the bounce rate is low or if it has a vertical scroll or if it looks real pretty?

Of course not. There’s more to a website. But only one context that makes a difference.

Where websites fail is if they fail to sell.

Vincent Van Gough was a post-impressionist painter. This refers to the type of art that he painted which is connected to a French movement in the 1880s.

He painted around 900 paintings, and 1,100 drawings and sketches.

Yet, he never sold a painting to a gallery. Out of 2,000 pieces of art, neither took off.

After his death, though, things changed. His work began to take off. His work spread like wildfire and was brought by collectors around the world.

Now, Van Gough’s work is worth millions and he is considered among the elite group of artists. His paintings are amongst the most expensive paintings ever sold!

So who decides if paintings are any good? Who’s in charge?

It’s absolutely ludicrous that someone can paint so many paintings, and only get noticed when he is dead. But they are what they are now because of the context of those paintings and the romance around them.

It’s context like this business, brands and websites don’t have.

Romance like this doesn’t exist in business because brands cannot be successful once they cease to exist. They have a very specific context.

Websites are there for a purpose and that purpose is to sell. Your customers and visitors are in charge of this. They are the context. Because if it doesn’t sell, then it is one that is failing.

Of course, websites have to look good.

You’d buy a pretty car over an ugly looking car just like I would. But a car is a product. A website is there as a platform to sell the product. It’s not the product.

A car can be a piece of art, but the website behind it shouldn’t be. Yes, it should have elements of ‘art’ that portray the car and its features in the best light. But its main purpose should be to entice the visitor to come into the showroom and see and feel and test-drive the car. Because that’s where a sale is made.

That’s what a business is there for. Along with its website, which should never be forgotten.

A website is there to inform, promote, educate and entertain. To sell. To convert people that browse to people that are interested. Conversion is sometimes forgotten about and people then design for things other than to promote. This is wrong.

Van Gough was a great painter.

But he was also mentally unstable. He suffered from epilepsy and depression and sadly committed suicide at 37. He created beautiful pieces of art that failed to sell in his market.

A website is not a piece of art.

If you think that websites are just websites – that are pretty and pleasing on the eye – then you’re in trouble.

What do you think?

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