One of the most interesting claims I’ve been hearing about lately is that websites are either dead or dying. It seems like an outlandish claim, but when you examine it a little closer it almost makes sense.
A lot has changed since the 90s. The web has matured — blossomed into an adolescent teen that has a certain level of emotional maturity, a short attention span and has an explosive temper.
Frameworks come and go, but this has slowed over time. Design changes are no longer as drastic as they were 10 or so years ago. Users come to websites to validate your business, buy something or to consume content.
Social media and search engines have removed the need for websites as a point of contact. Sites like Amazon, eBay and TradeMe provide businesses with a platform to sell for a slice of the pie. And social media has almost replaced traditional methods of delivering content to users.
The Internet Has Become Loud
We’ve gotten crazy good at keeping people scrolling through their newsfeed. Puppies on skateboards and quick video recipes of delicious looking churro cups — we’ve created an attention deficit on the internet.
The internet wants dopamine and it wants it now.
None of this is news though. We all know we spend more time tagging each other in memes on social media than in actual conversation.
We consume all day, every day. ON our commute, during lunch. Whenever you get a moment you check your phone.
But there is still a piece missing that social media hasn’t quite managed to pull of yet.
Your brain on social media is so very different than when you’re on a business’ website. On social media your brain is in consumption mode. You like what you see, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, so you want more.
Seeing a sponsored post about a 21-in-1 cheese grater you have to have does not make you buy it then and there. It starts your customer journey, and switches your brain from consumption mode to discovery mode.
In discovery mode you turn to search engines to find somewhere you can buy that snazzy heptagonal cheese grater. If you’re anything like me you middle-click the first three results that look right to open them in new tabs.
Now you’ve gone from Pinterest to Google (Or Bing, I’m not judging) to someone’s website. You’re interested, you’ve found the thing you want — you’re willing to part with however much you feel The Heptagrater is worth.
Pretty much. A website has one purpose — to convert. Sure validation and contact are other purposes too. But let’s get real — A website showcases a business, a product or content. It’s a tool to take all that traffic and turn it into cold, hard cash.
People don’t find you by happening on your website after a leisurely stroll through the internet. They come to your website because you have something they need, whether it be a product, service or memes.
It’s your closer. Your heavy hitter. And you’ve benched it.Websites Are Different, But Very Much Alive
We’ve entered the age of distraction, which means people won’t spend hours or even minutes on your site to get what they want. The way we interact with them has changed. How they look has changed. How people find them has changed. But their purpose has been pretty consistent.
If you make the experience pleasant, and you can add value to your visitors, it will be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.