Web Role Models

I’m borrowing an idea today from Rob Sidney, Director of Programming & Operations for Lincoln Financial Media’s 101.5 LITE FM in Miami.  I interviewed him for a Radio Ink piece a few months ago about some Graphics 101 principles for us über-auditory radio folks to keep in mind.  Rob suggested that, to keep our aim high, we shouldn’t just look at other radio stations’ websites.  We should look at some of the huge brands in any product category and see what they’re doing.

I took that to heart and I’ve been using it myself.  I’d like to recommend you try it, too.  Pick any huge brands that come to mind.  These might be products you regularly buy, services you use, or companies you admire.  Here are a few things to get inspired by:

  1. What’s your first impression of what the site looks like?  Keep your critic hat off, and experience it as a brand user.  Does the look of the site match your feeling about the brand?  If you’re surprised or confused by the graphic presentation they make, that’s probably not good.
  2. Does the site make sense?  Can you figure out from a pretty quick glance what you can get done at their site?
  3. What’s the content that you see “above the fold” (i.e., without scrolling down)?  Like a newspaper, what you can see, do or get to without scrolling down the screen should say something important about the brand.
  4. What are they doing that you can use?  Make sure you’re thinking strategically before you start borrowing ideas lock, stock and barrel.  This was one of the key points Rob made, however:  these mega-brands’ sites are all thoroughly researched and consistently managed, and nothing is there by accident.

Check out a couple of brands you respect or admire.  This doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  Then, go look at your radio station website.  Think about the above points for your site, too.

Sometimes, running through this little exercise can make you want to just chuck everything you’re doing at your station’s site, and start over again.  Take a deep breath if you feel that way.  Here’s a hint about the best way to get started on meaningfully improving your website in bits and pieces:  START by looking for stuff to take OFF.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below, or on the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page.

Got a question for me?  Let’s talk.

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