Build Bridges Not Piers

Your organization’s website is an island in a vast digital sea. Its job is to connect you to the outside world. Is your website a bridge or a pier?

I’ve been writing about website strategy using the metaphor of building bridges to your clients. You need a clearly defined website strategy to know where your website destination is and the size/type/depth of the audience gap you want to bridge. You need to create the right positioning and micro-interactions to build an online connection with your audience through your website.

Many service-based business websites lack a cohesive strategy and end up building bridges to nowhere. You can tell if your organization’s website is a bridge to nowhere when there are no tangible connections between your organization’s vision and business goals and your website vision and goals (Hint: If you have not put these connections in writing, you’ve probably built a bridge to nowhere.).

Organizations that do have a clear sense of where they want their website to go, often under allocate the time, money, and people resources necessary to build proper bridge connections with their audience. These websites end up functioning more like piers than bridges.

“Pier” websites expect a client to hop in a boat, travel to and dock at their organization, then explore their island (content). Pier websites are branding tools at best and brochure-ware at worst. Pier websites provide static content rather than create sustainable, engaging connections with visitors.

Pier websites are useful when you are a very large, well-known brand, and you have multiple platforms and ways for your audience to continually connect with you in the digital sea. Companies employing pier websites also have significant brand equity built up over the years and boatloads of advertising dollars to cast into the sea.

Smaller organizations should focus their website strategy on interactions that build bridges with their audience in meaningful, repeatable ways. Branding and design are critical for building pier website strategies. They become much less important for building bridges. Focus on long-form blog post content, social media platforms, newsletters, and video/podcasting interactions through your website to build bridges of continual interaction.

Need some help finding ways to shift your website from a pier to a bridge? Let’s chat.

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