For us as a company that helps startups and other companies to build digital products, our own website is definitely the most important platform. A company that builds digital products but doesn't have its own website looks untrustworthy. There are certainly other companies that downplay the value of their own website these days. Especially with other digital platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or XING, one could be tempted to say that one's own website is only a summarizing content hub for the individual platforms, which is otherwise downstream in terms of communication.
How we built the new condu.co website
There is nothing more non-innovative than corporate websites, right? Wrong! In this article, we'll tell you how we built our website as an adaptive content hub and how we went from the initial concept to a fully launched website in just four days.
Step 1: What are our platforms and what do our users expect?
In our eyes, however, this is a fallacy: It is clear that networks are now an indispensable part of the communications mix. On the other hand, however, relying exclusively on networks and the quality of their algorithms is a risk for a company. Of course, there are many brands that would not exist without Instagram or YouTube. However, we don't think it's sustainable to tie your own business existence exclusively to the relevance, reach and functionality of another company.
The most important question in designing the site was: How do we create relevance for our own platform in the mix with other platforms without becoming repetitive? To do this, we considered what makes networks and what makes websites:
Networks have their own native content formats
These can be posts, photos or videos. What these formats have in common is that they can be consumed quickly. The platforms optimize their newsfeed algorithms so that the customer can consume as much relevant content as possible in a short time. The keyword is snackable content, meaning that content is easy to consume and appears to be "light". The advantage for users of such formats: A lot of content can be consumed, and if a piece of content doesn't suit one's interests after all, it can be skipped quickly and easily. And this also plays into the hands of the networks, since content relevance is an important parameter for them in order to keep users in their own application for as long as possible.
Websites have a great depth of information
Websites have a reputation for being completely at odds with networks in terms of snackability of content. Often, websites are completely overloaded with information and lack user guidance to take users by the hand. Another problem is that these websites are not only designed for human users, but also for non-human users. This refers to search engine bots. Many websites work according to the motto "more is more" and overload the website with content in order to offer every search engine bot content for every topic. This is absolutely understandable, because a website that is not found has no right to exist. The users are the ones who have to cope with the flood of content.
When looking at a comparison of networks and websites, it becomes clear that networks and websites are rather opposed to each other. And that's a good thing! In our concept, we want to use the networks with their native content formats to create relevance for our offer. But since we believe that not every piece of content can be told in a "snackable" format, we use our own website to provide deeper context.
This in and of itself is not an innovation. But what sets our concept apart from others is that we have designed our website with an adaptive depth of information. But what is that? We start our website from two entry points:
By direct access or search engine reference
Users do not know our company and need more context about the relevance of our services.
By reference via a network
Users already know our content from the network and want to learn more about a specific topic.
This means that the website must adapt to the needs of the users in terms of content depth. For this reason, we have created landing pages that users tend to find through search engines or accessing them directly as snackable content that is easy to consume and quickly gives an impression of our company. Subpages are more in-depth and work well on their own due to the depth of content, but especially for users coming from networks and enrich the snackable content from the network with further relevance.
Step 2: What technology do we use to implement the website?
A website only works if it is technically implemented. There are currently two options for the technical implementation of a site: On the one hand, the website can be programmed from scratch. In contrast to this, page builders such as Wix.com, Jimdo or WebFlow are increasingly becoming a serious alternative to completely building your own site from scratch.
The advantage of page builders is obvious: the website can be built quickly without the need for large developer resources. Especially in times when speed is most important and the site is tested with real users, page builders have a time advantage over in-house development.
On the other hand, the functionality of page builders is often more limited than the possibilities with an in-house development team. Due to our conception, we decided to take an intermediate route: We use a so-called "headless content management system" in the background with Storyblok, which provides our site with content. The advantage of a headless content management system is that it is agnostic in contrast to a conventional CMS like Typo3 or Wordpress platform. This means that the same data source can feed multiple platforms. Since we have connected our website with networks and content can be played out platform independent, this gives us a place where content can be created and distributed to the platforms in one hub.
We technically implemented the website using Gatsby and ReactJS. In conjunction with Amazon Web Services as the hosting provider, we created fast loading times on any device and a clear and simple user experience. Thanks to the technical architecture of ReactJS and the use of Storyblok as a backend, we were able to launch our website within four days.
Step 3: Test, test, test
The best website is useless if it is not used. For this reason, we decided to develop the website as a minimum viable product. This way we have implemented the basic functions of the site and are now at the point where we can test our the first release directly with users.
For this reason, our website will continue to evolve and provide new insights over the coming weeks and months. Validated with your feedback.
If you have any feedback for us, or if there is something you feel is missing from our site, we'd love to hear from you. Just drop us a line at email@example.com.