Websites are living, breathing entities that represent your brand.
What do we mean by this?
You wouldn’t go on vacation without making a plan to keep your pet, well – alive, would you? So why would you treat your website any other way? A study by Cambridge University Press defines any living organism as something which displays the 7 main characteristics of living things.
Those 7 characteristics are Nutrition, Respiration, Movement, Excretion, Growth, Reproduction, and Sensitivity.
While we are aware that websites are not actually living or breathing, we invite you to look at websites in this new perspective to understand why it is so important to grow, foster and maintain your website with the same respect as a living thing.
“Living things take in materials from their surroundings that they use for growth or to provide energy.”
In the website design and development world, we like to think of your website content as its nutrition. Without great content which turns website visitors into quality leads, your website will not have the energy it needs to emit the presence your brand deserves. We consider quality content to consist of compelling headlines, easy-to-read text that is quick to absorb, and necessary keywords your website requires for natural SEO growth (see characteristic 5 for more on growth).
“Respiration is the release of energy from food substances in all living cells.”
We whole-heartedly believe that your website should release the same energy your brand was built to represent. Your website should release a certain energy, or as we like to call it, “tone”, as your users experience your website. Whether you are a fitness e-comm store with the goal of motivating your users to stay fit, or a mom-and-pop grocery store with the goal of keeping a family tradition alive, your tone should be prominent. Tone is created through the use of specific language, colors, and photos throughout your website.
“All living things move. Movement may be so slow that it is difficult to see.”
When comparing website movement to a living thing, we like to look at the subtle movements, or interactive design, that your website should offer. Do your buttons change color as the user hovers over them? Does your navigation have an active state? Are your users taken to a friendly thank-you page after submitting a form? Without this natural movement throughout your website, the overall experience will not be as intuitive (or attractive) to an outside viewer.
“As a result of the many chemical reactions occurring in cells, living things have to get rid of waste products which might poison them.”
How in the world does a website “excrete” waste, you ask? Simple. Websites are prone to attract many forms of waste, including spam, unnecessary plugins, a high load time due to improper optimization and more. It is vital that you have a plan in place to allow your website to excrete any digital “waste” that attempts to consume it. Without the proper security measures and optimization tools, your website will quickly become bogged-down by poisonous hazards detrimental to its overall health.
“Growth is seen in all living things. Using food to produce new cells, the permanent increase in cell number and size is called growth.”
A truly well-built website was developed with future growth in mind. This can include simple additions such as new pages, photo galleries, or lead generation forms. In-depth growth should also be accounted for, such as the addition of more complex functions like e-commerce, memberships, events, etc. The last thing you want to do is build your website without the ability to grow, or it will soon begin to resemble a very crowded clown car. Your website should answer all the “what ifs” as it is being constructed in order to allow for any required or desired future growth as your company grows.
“All living organisms have the ability to produce offspring.”
Your website should be in optimal “health” in order to quickly and efficiently reproduce it during important company campaigns. For example, let’s say you are running a summer promotion for the next 3 months. You should have the ability to reproduce your website’s basic functions and branding into a targeted landing page or microsite for promotional purposes. Your website and its “offspring” should be easily identifiable to your website visitors. The colors, fonts, styling, and layout should all look related to bring your users the subconscious comfort that they are navigating through a professional website.
“All living things are able to sense and respond to stimuli around them.”
This morning, I did a google search for unique coffee flavors. (Weis brand just wasn’t doing it for me anymore). A few hours later, I saw an online ad for one of the coffee websites I had visited. Less than an hour after that, they popped up on my Instagram feed. This is a perfect example of a website being aware of my presence this morning. Your website should be able to detect who has visited, where they are from, and hopefully, why they stopped by. A great website is one with Google Analytics or similar tracking tools embedded so you can properly retarget any past visitors in hopes of their return.
What have we learned?
Websites are no different than you or I. They are “living” because they:
• Require healthy nutrition
• Respire a certain tone
• Move and interact with users
• Are impacted by digital “waste”
• Grow with time
• Have the ability to reproduce
• Are sensitive to their surrounding
Because of this, websites should be treated with the same respect and care as any other living being. Thankfully, our team has developed a seamless process to keep our clients’ websites alive and thriving in a constantly changing and demanding world of technology. Learn how we do it >