In fiction and other forms of literature every scene moves the story forward with an action. You have a series of reveals that keeps things interesting and keeps the reader turning the page.
This approach doesn’t usually translate well for professional website content, but it can work if you change your thoughts on standard web design and write casual, conversational copy. I know of two companies that have done this and mastered website content storytelling. But before I tell you about them, I want to first outline a few standard web usability rules, which say:
- Websites should contain multiple pages.
- Each page should serve its own function (e.g., services page describes your offerings and about page describes YOU, etc.).
- All web pages should be independent of each other. You never know what page a visitor will land on first — it’s not always your home page.
- Web content should sell the sizzle right away, not contain too many details, and focus on a strong call to action.
Now that you know the rules, let’s see two examples of professional website content that break away from the norm and have a strong storytelling appeal.
37signals’ unconventional home page
37signals is a software development company that offers wonderful online applications such as Basecamp (popular project management tool). The company has an assortment of things to talk about on their corporate site, which they could segment into dozens of individual web pages, but they don’t. You land on their home page and see one long page that reads like a story.
There are a few exceptions. 37signals.com does have a company history page and a product sales page that follows a storytelling format similar to the home page. And for more information on a particular business line you can click a link and visit a microsite.
When we ask new clients for examples of professional website copy they like they often mention 37signals.com. People enjoy the “clean” layout and the “straightforward” writing. I do, too.
Diablo Media asks you to follow along
Diablo Media, an online ad network, asks website visitors to read through their homepage content by scrolling or clicking. The red arrows and buttons make navigation a no-brainer. Well done.
Each screen, or each scene, is entirely different than the one before it…just like in fiction. The background imagery is different and so is the main pain point of the copy. No repetition on DiabloMedia.com.
What do you like about these professional website examples?