The One Thing That Can Set Your Website Apart - Jesse Thomas Design
Today I’m going to reveal how to choose the message that will make your website stand out from the competition… it’s so simple, and yet very few companies take the time to do it (or even know they should).
message, elements, website design, website, website development, web design
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The One Thing That Can Set Your Website Apart

Today I’m going to reveal how to choose the message that will make your website stand out from the competition… it’s so simple, and yet very few companies take the time to do it (or even know they should).

This is Part 3 of my 7-part series on how to create the website you really want, on time and on budget. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far:

  • Step 1 – State your GOAL. The best way to set your website project up for success is to start with the end in mind by considering what you need that website to do. The more specific you are about what you expect to get out of it, the better. And of course, be sure to communicate this to your website developer.
  • Step 2 – Identify your AUDIENCE. Before you start building a site, get very specific about who the user is, the customer you’re trying to reach. This will allow you to gear your message around who your customer is and what they are looking for, which will improve the conversion rate of visitors into customers.

And now, on to the next step two steps…

Step 3 – State your MESSAGE

People usually want to include as much information as possible on their website. Big mistake. This creates clutter and confusion.

It’s better to communicate one thing that is remembered than to say five things and have them all forgotten. In other words, your website makes a better billboard than a novel.

The message is not a headline, but rather a singular statement or concept that you want to make sure gets across to people.

Your message is the one crystal-clear idea that speaks to what your visitors want, and that comes from your goal. That way the customer gets what they want and you get what you want – that’s the sweet spot.

It’s critical to think this through before you start creating your website because people are busy, they will only give your website a few seconds and if they don’t find what they’re looking for they’re going to leave… and probably go to your competitor’s website instead.

You need to hook them right away with a message that appeals to their needs, and drives them to take the action you want.

Here’s an exercise you can use to come up with your message:

  1. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience – your very best type of customer. What is the most urgent problem, question, or desire they will most likely have when they come to your website? Write it down.
  2. What can you provide or direct them to that will solve their problem, answer their question, or satisfy their desire – or at least get them on the path to what they want? Write down the answer, or brainstorm a list of possibilities.
  3. Think about what you want them to do to get them into your sales funnel. Do you want them to buy an entry-level product? Sign up for a free consult? Download your mailing list lead magnet? Sign up for your weekly specials email?
  4. Compare your answers from steps 2 and 3. Look for an overlap – something you want them to do that will get them on the path to a solution to their most urgent need or desire. Stay focused. You don’t have to sell everything you have during the first interaction.
  5. Now create a message statement that quickly points them to the solution and call to action.

Here’s a practical example of this process in action. Let’s imagine that our company is a restaurant that’s trying to attract more lunchtime customers from the nearby business park.

  1. Audience is bored with the usual lunch options, looking for something new, preferably close by and affordable.
  2. You can provide lunch specials that have been affordably priced and can be ordered online in advance for quick pickup.
  3. You want them to try out your lunch specials.
  4. Call to action: Sign up for email list to get a 50% discount on first lunch order.
  5. Message: Tasty, affordable lunch options nearby

Here are some other examples:

Audience: DIY robotics makers looking for their next fun project.
You provide: Microchips and technology kits.
You want: Them to go onto your mailing list so you can sell them the supplies to make the projects.
CTA: Sign up for the newsletter.
Message: Creative DIY robotic project ideas delivered to you monthly – Sign up now

Audience: Homeowners searching for unique furniture to fit a special need or style.

You provide: Custom wood furniture and carpentry services.
You want: Them to call and so you can sell them custom furniture.
CTA: Call now for a free estimate.
Message: Quality custom furniture crafted just for your home. Call for your free estimate.


Once you feel that you’ve nailed your message, share it with everyone on your website development team – this message will be communicated through headlines, images and content throughout your site. Consistency is key.

With that laser focus in mind, the next step in the process is to list the necessary elements for your website.

Step 4 – List the necessary ELEMENTS

An element is any single thing that is included on your website. It’s wise to list everything – even the obvious stuff like navigation and contact info, to be sure that no important detail is missed.

Listing these items will give you and your website developer a better sense of what type of website you need. It’s a good idea at this stage to revisit the question, “What do users need from my website?”

Here’s a list of some of the elements that might make up your website:

  • Logo
  • Images
  • Header
  • Navigation
  • Footer
  • Buttons
  • Forms
  • Map
  • Product pages
  • About page with bios
  • Blog
  • Social media connections
  • Contact info
  • Search function
  • Slider
  • Text
  • Videos
  • FAQ
  • Testimonials


Once you have a preliminary list, segment the list into necessary and optional elements.

A necessary element is one that will make your website incomplete if it’s not there. Having too many elements can create a distraction from your message. Not having the necessary ones will anger users who come to your website and can’t find what they need.

Optional elements are those that you’d like to have, but aren’t absolutely critical. This gives you some flexibility in the event of time or budget constraints, and indicates where you can cut back if the site starts to look too cluttered.

Get the website design template

That should be enough to keep you moving forward for now… If you’d like to receive my free website design process template that walks you through this process, subscribe here.

Jesse Thomas

Jesse Thomas Design is the studio of Jesse Thomas, web and graphic designer based in Tempe, Arizona. Jesse Thomas has 14+ years of experience in design and marketing, promoting products and services across the country.

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