Your website is your company's online face

While listening to a web design podcast recently, I heard an interesting snippet in an interview with Jared Spool. The interview was actually about calls to action, but in one of his answers, Jared said:

It is truly about the entire experience, and…you know, people don’t segment out the website use from other interactions.

This struck me as something that should be obvious, but sometimes is overlooked in the development of a company’s website. It is why some websites are almost depressingly bad. Restaurant sites are a great example (and if you haven’t already, check out this hilarious mockery of them), because the business exists firmly in the tangible world, but it’s also so important for them to have an online presence. That online presence should not be a separate entity that shares few characteristics with the brick-and-mortar establishment. It should be as inseparable from the physical space as a face is from a person.

The contrast stands out easily for restaurants, but the principle holds true for anyone trying to communicate information about themselves or their company’s services online. The same way you can’t carry a scowl on your face and expect people to think you’re cheerful, you can’t have a frustrating, out-of-date website and expect people to think your business is successful and well-run.

I posted recently about your website’s personality. I think the idea still holds, but perhaps needs amending: You’re website’s personality should appeal to your target audience, but it should do so because it’s a natural extension of your (or your business’s) personality.

Do you agree?
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