Back in the day, all you needed was a business card, envelope, letterhead, and a brochure. The brochure was one sheet of paper, printed on both sides, sometimes in color and folded twice. The printed brochure was a sales tool, it was “leave-behind” literature, and a rack filler.
Today, business cards are nice to have, an email letterhead is still okay “business dress”, but the brochure is on hold. You need a website. Here is an irony I discovered building websites: the effort it takes to produce a printed brochure or a digital website is the same; the brochure and the website contain essentially the same content. The information is just expressed in different media, one print and one digital.
The front cover of the brochure is now the website “home page”. Every brochure has contact information (and every website has a “contact us” page); somewhere in the brochure was a company statement about “people and leadership” from an executive (sounds like an “about us” page). Although the text was often printed small, legal disclaimers, credits, and policy notices were part of the brochure (so the website collectively includes a “legal” page).
The purpose of the printed brochure is to deliver a product or service message (the website can add web pages for a growing sales message, it can become a warehouse of useful information). Organize the product message into a sensible order, alphabetically or by popular use. Choose an order that makes sense to the target market. Use “graphic” content to illuminate key product or service benefits. Building content and organizing content are the challenges inherent to brochure or website production.
In the years before the web, maximizing your advertising dollar was a result of a simple media test: “how many people will my message reach?”, and, “how frequently will my message reach them? The reach and frequency test.
Brochures are printed in limited quantities and distributed to a target market by any means that is cost effective. Distribution of a printed message is the challenge. A website message “reaches” a world-wide market and as “frequently” as twenty-four hours a day. Plus, a website has some powerful advantages: multimedia capabilities, real-time editing and updating; and instant order processing. A website is a very powerful communications medium.
The SITE MAP to the right organizes the website into a few simple pages. Notice the site map’s branches match the website’s menu. Web pages use HTML code to hold: text, images, and display instructions. The HTML code is sent across the internet with instructions to display the page. Cascading Style Sheets are styling instructions for the web page fonts and borders.