Beware of Boring
By Chelsea Berler
I don’t care how buttoned-up or conservative your business is—It doesn’t mean your website needs to be. The more I poke around on the internet, the more evidence I find of that fact. Business websites are increasingly more fun and interactive. Websites I previously found bland or “meh” are now vibrant, alive, enjoyable, and entertaining. Why? Visitors are more likely to return to sites they like, and everyone likes to have fun. As an added benefit, having a fun website also gives depth and personality to your brand. Customers will be delighted to see that your business has a well-developed sense of humor, whimsy, or even a dreamlike quality. Disclaimer: You know your audience, so you will know how far you can go before they think you are childlike, goofy, or unprofessional. Never cross that line. That said, I assure you there is at least some room for a little fun in business websites. I’m going to examine a few new trends to help you do just that, so you can integrate them into your own website.
Charming (Yet Meaningful) Icons
We often apply graphic icons to make our clients’ websites more enticing and fun. Icons are a playful way of distinguishing different areas of your site, naturally draw the eye, and can make even dry subjects more interesting, such as in the following two websites we designed for Alabama business services companies: Perman Engineering (permaneng.com) and AccountingRx (accountingrx.com).
Natural, Scenic Photography
People are tired of cheesy-looking stock photos. Instead, they want to see beautiful imagery that connects to people on a visceral, emotional level. I’m not saying don’t use stock photos, but not any stock photo will do. It’s better to use original photography, but if you must use stock, make sure the images you choose are gorgeous, connect deeply with your brand, and elicit an emotional response. We’ve done just that for life coach Carla Robertson (livingwildandprecious.com) and for my own personal website (mostlychelsea.com).
Splash on Some Color
Color speaks directly to the emotional centers of the brain, highly influencing our perception of an object. Making bold color choices that fit the attitude you want to cultivate can immediately put your visitors in the right frame of mind. It works because it’s straightforward and powerful, as you can see in our creations for Daughters in Charge (daughtersincharge.com), for business coach Andrea Lee (wealthythoughtleader.com), and for From Founder to CEO (fromfoundertoceo.com).
Loosen Up Your Content
No one wants to read flat, bland, unexciting copy. Weave in a little personal storytelling, crack a joke, keep your tone conversational (never pedantic!), use fun hypothetical examples, hijack a meme (a concept, behavior, or idea that spreads, usually via the internet), use some urban slang or a twist on song lyrics (like the title of this article), or incorporate a pop culture reference. Play with words. Make a pun or two. Use a friendly, informal, yet professional tone with your Web content to create a fun and relaxed experience for your visitors.
Chelsea Berler is an entrepreneur, coach, author, and motivational speaker based in Birmingham, where she owns and operates Solamar, a boutique marketing agency.