Get a good look at how great websites are built as we walk you through three drastically different brands with websites that are tailor-made to their needs.
In the last 2 episodes, we went through how to understand a business, it's people and their needs as well as how to understand what a website meant to do. In this episode, we are going to look at 3 websites to help you further understand how good brands build websites around their people and services.
Each website we will go over together is intentionally very different from the other - in the same way that no two websites you will be taking up will be the same.
Let’s start with Wilsons Leather. Their website is wilsosnleather.com.
As the name suggests, these guys make and sell leather products like handbags, duffle bags, briefcases, wallets and the works. This is an e-commerce website, which means the purpose of this website is for visitors to see the different products they have and make a purchase.
Let’s take a look - Right in the first fold, you see a sliding section that shows you 2 slides regarding labor day sales.
When a brand puts something at the top of their website, it means this is what you want to to see first - it’s what matters most to them.
The sale of course is meant to get you to take immediate action and buy either one of their women’s or men’s products for sale.
As you scroll down, you see sections for Women and Men. Like any good brand, the website is catering to it's audience and understands that they have 2 kinds of customers - men and women - who will take different journeys on the website, because their offerings are different. Having this section here gives a person the opportunity to explore more of what's relevant to them.
The next section goes into showcasing the different kinds of products they have to offer.
The fact that they have images of women’s handbags, motorcycle gear and men’s bags in this section shows that this brand is probably known for these products which is why this product range has been given so much importance.
You then see they’ve taken the time to help you get to know them better, here, by showcasing a section with their story they want you to build a connection with them. Brand stories work as a great tool to connect with customers, build loyalty, and to ultimately drive sales.
They also have a rewards section that incentivises you to purchase from them. As you can see, literally 90% of this page is focused on getting you to buy from them. This is because this is an e-commerce site and their top goal is sales.
And finally you have a newsletter. List building is a strategy you will see almost all brands adopt because they know if they have your email, they can reach you anytime. Having a newsletter as an option is particularly helpful to capture information of people who aren’t ready to make a purchase yet, but you’re still looking to build a relationship with them.
And that’s the Wilson Leather - a pretty good example of a well-thought-out e-commerce website.
Up next we have BTS. Their website is www.bts.com, pretty straightforward.
BTS are a consulting firm that works with companies and organisations to help them with their “strategy” - what does that really mean? Nobody has a clue.
The purpose of the website here is different from the e-commerce website we just saw. The company has nothing to sell on the website itself. Instead, the purpose of the website is to show visitors who they are and what they do. The goal would be for these visitors to then contact their firm for their services.
At the top of the website, you will see a slider again. As explained with Will Leather goods brands put the most important things they want to communicate right at the top. In the case of BTS, they want you to know they are experts in strategy consulting, that their strategy is result oriented, that they are able to work with you virtually or remotely and even invite you for an online event. Just with these few things, you get an idea of what they’re about and the online event is a well, a nice way to make first contact with them.
Right after the first section, BTS dives into exactly what they do. They waste no time beating around the bush and show you their areas of expertise. They also go on to tell you how they do it. This approach of starting with what you do and moving on to how you do it is quite a popular approach especially in websites that are service related.
Further you have this perspectives section.
This is essentially their blog, but the purpose of giving the blog such importance on the homepage is because as a strategy firm, visitors want to see how you think. Strategy is all about intelligence and thinking and having a blog is a great way to show your ability to think intelligently and differently.
The website then goes on to build credibility by showing some of the top companies they have worked with as well as case studies of what they have done. They also add a testimonial to add further credibility. Now showing your past clients, case studies or testimonials are a proven way to get people to take action on a website.
In the same way that you probably read reviews of a product before you buy it on Amazon, people hiring a consulting firm want to know who you’ve worked with and how it went. Now, we’re just going through the homepage together in the interest of time but go through their website in more detail when you can.
But, we’re liking the approach that BTS has taken overall - there’s a lot to learn from here.
And finally we have a blog site - https://lifehacker.com/
Lifehacker is a leading blog site that talks about everything from tech news, self help to career, health and lifestyle. The goal of this website is simple, to get you to consume their content.
And how do they make money, you ask?
Sponsored content is basically when other brands pay your website to put up articles and content about their brand so that they can drive traffic to their website.
Ad space is where you give Google some space on your website to show ads that are relevant to your visitors.
And affiliate links are basically when your website sends users to another brand’s website to buy something and you take a % of the sale. For example, if you write a blog on skincare and put a few skincare products on the post, and a user clicks on the link and buys a product, you would get a commission from that sale.
So back to this website, their primary goal is to get you to consume content. The whole website is based on different kinds of content, short reads, long reads, videos and even podcasts. The thing to notice in this blog site is that they keep changing up the way the content is arranged. At the top they have 1 large featured post, 2 smaller featured posts and 4 other posts. The amount of space the website gives to each post shows you how much they want to push that particular post.
As you scroll you see how the format of the content keeps changing. Changing up the content format keeps the website from looking monotonous and keeps things fresh. It’s also a great way for visitors to get a view of all the different kinds of content and choose what they want to explore.
And don’t miss the newsletter section on the right here. We told you - it’s everywhere.
LifeHacker is a great example of a website that is designed primarily around content and does a really good job of being both engaging and informative.
These 3 examples should give you an idea of the different ways websites are built to suit different needs. Having this understanding will help you when you have to build your own website structure and layout. Don’t limit yourself to just these websites. Inspiration is a big part of building a great website so go and find 5, 10 or 50 websites that you really love and you can keep going back to.