The Big Lie of Web Development

For some time now, people have been spreading an ugly lie about website development. You’ve probably heard it as many times as I have, although maybe you didn’t know that it’s untrue. They say, “Content is king.” Don’t believe them. While content is important – it keeps people engaged with your brand and helps them learn more about you, your products and your services – it simply should not be the ultimate brass ring of your website efforts. In fact, content is only a means to an end.

The true king of all is conversions.

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Recently, a client of ours asked us to revisit their company’s website, a site that we designed and built for them several years ago. The objective of the project was to analyze the content, design and architecture in order to make recommendations that would modernize the experience and improve the website’s overall performance as a marketing tool. This project turned into a textbook example of how far web development has come in very short order. When we built that site way back in 2011, providing content was the single-most critical accomplishment that a brand could achieve with its website. Back then, content really was king. And what we found in our recent analysis of that site was completely in line with that notion. This client’s site was a tremendous online brochure, a repository of all kinds of valuable digital content that painted a very compelling picture of their brand and all of its products and services.

But what was a visitor to do once they consumed this content? In the case of that site and virtually every other site of that day, nothing. There wasn’t always a clear path of action for a user to follow once the site had hooked them.

Playing by today’s rules, that kind of experience is not enough. Not by a long shot.

In the past five years, analytics have revolutionized not only how we measure the performance of our work once it’s “finished” but also how we develop the work in the first place. Going into any given web project, the team at M/C/C, collaborating with the client, identifies a number of strategic actions that a site visitor may take. These actions are called conversions or conversion points and are specific to each client. They ultimately (and hopefully) build upon one another until they lead up to a sale. These are actions of consequence. They are meaningful choices that we know make that user more likely to purchase from our clients. Examples may include watching a particular video, downloading a particular asset, emailing for more information or any other number of decisions that have proven to make a site visitor more likely to make a purchase. So our goal is to maximize the number of those conversions, and virtually every decision made regarding our planning, writing, designing, building and analyzing a site is made while considering whether we’re driving users through these conversion points.

The point is it’s the content that gets them to convert, and one of our tactics is to provide that content in a logical way that takes them down a pathway of actions. But the content is never a goal in and of itself. Content is a thing or a set of things. It’s not an action.

At M/C/C, we want our clients’ potential customers to act. We want them to not only consume digital things but to do something once they have. We want them to…convert.

So please join me in dispelling the lie and ushering in the new truth.

Content has been dethroned. Conversions are king!

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About Todd Brashear

Todd Brashear

Todd's primary responsibility is to continually elevate the creative product of the agency. In the current media environment, that not only includes developing "the big idea" but also exploring unconventional, new opportunities to engage our clients' audiences experientially and digitally.

Todd joined M/C/C in 2000 and has since worked to ensure that the creative department manifests the agency's strong strategic insights into thoughtful, unexpected communications. At M/C/C, Todd's client experience includes, among others, Market Street supermarkets, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Fujitsu, Raytheon, Alienware, Big Thought and Professional Bank.

Specializing in brand strategies, concept development and copywriting, Todd previously worked on a range of B2B and B2C accounts, including Armstrong Floors, ASKO appliances, Motel 6 and Bally Total Fitness. His work has appeared in national television and international print campaigns, and he has won multiple ADDY, Creativity, MarCom, Davey, Stevie and Telly Awards. However, his favorite award is the Nobel.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Arkansas. Todd enjoys adventure travel, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking.

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