Websites these days tend to look very similar.
This isn’t a judgement on design conventions. In fact, there are plenty of design conventions that are used over and over for good reason. Conventions in design, like for instance having the navigation at the top of every page, can help website visitors know where to find things. Conventions like that are good.
But what about the stuff that is beyond the structure? What about the stuff that visually communicates what you do or that shapes the look-and-feel of the site?
When it comes to the emotional resonance of the digital space you are creating on your website, you want to make sure it’s unique to you.
Why Your Website Needs To Be Unique
The most important reason your website needs to be unique is that it needs to help website visitors determine if you are a good fit for them.
This goes far beyond being concerned about whether or not your site “stands out” enough. Yes, you may have a practice in a saturated area. Yes, you may want to stand out from the crowd. But the real reason your website needs to be unique is because if it isn’t, it’s probably not communicating what you do effectively.
Moving away from the idea that this is about competition will allow you the space to see that you have no competition because you are you and you. No one else is you.
And when you successfully create a space that reflects the special and unique way that only you can help, you stand in a field of your own attracting the clients that are attracted to who you are and how you help.
To Ensure Your Website is Unique, Focus on Who You Are and Who You Help
Unique websites originate from clear sense of identity. The first step then in the journey towards a unique website is the step of self-discovery. It is not possible to create something unique without this identity piece.
You have a unique way of caring. You have unique strengths and superpowers. You bring a unique approach to healing. All of these are important identity pieces that can be communicated in your website’s design.
If you merely try to make your website visually unique, you’ll be missing the mark. Anyone can create a site that looks different from the rest. For example, I haven’t seen many therapy websites featuring unicorns, so maybe put some unicorns on your website? That will certainly help you stand out!
But the power of having a unique website is that it fits you specifically, not that it looks different.
When you design around how you help, you tap into a well of authentic and true uniqueness.
But, Your Website Isn’t Only About You. Also Consider Who It Is You Serve.
Even if you don’t serve a highly niche population, it is also important to let the traits of who you help guide you towards an effective website design.
So in addition to basing website design on your unique identity, also think about what is unique to the identity of those that you are offering your solution to. Specifically, it’s important to focus on these two whys:
- Why are clients reaching out to you right now?
- Why are you a good fit for them?
When you are able to completely empathize with the space that your clients are in when they need your services, you’ll be able to create a space that has heard them and meets them where they are.
Knowing what it is that they might benefit from when it comes to working with you allows you to implement designs that both represent your identity as well as what specifically will attract clients to you. It doesn’t take magic to create a unique website, just some deep consideration.
One Question To Ask To Guide Unique Design
Once you have clarity on your identity and who you care about, you can use this information to guide any design decisions on your website.
And there are a ton of design decisions to be made. From the tiny decision, like should you align headlines to the center or to the left? To the big decisions, like what color story both identifies you and signals to client’s you’re there for them?
With so many decisions and so many potential approaches, one simple question that you may ask to help you guide your design is:
Is this design feature/direction/choice in alignment with my identity?
If you are clear on what makes you unique, the answer to this question will be unique to you every time and increasingly unique when zoomed out and viewing a combination of design elements, your resulting design in it’s totality.
Good design is actually a lot of research. Some of this research can be reflection: dipping into your own felt senses about what a color, font, or layout is saying. Some of this research is also observation. What types of colors, shapes, layouts does a toy store use? What types of images do people align with health and wellness? And what do these design elements say? And some of this research is data and what we’ve discovered about the psychology of color, space, and other elements of design.
Your Website Can Be As Unique As You Are
Even with all of this talk of identity, at the end of the day, your website is a marketing tool, not who you are. Yes, your website needs to be unique and include the expression of your personality and how you care but don’t get so caught up in these things that it keeps you from getting yourself out there.
After all, part of what makes us unique is our unique imperfections and unique journeys. Discovering yourself and how to communicate what you do is an ongoing process. Don’t be scared to expose where you are in that journey. You’re in a relationship with your website, it will grow and change and shift along side you and does not have to happen in a closet.
Most of all remember that you are in fact unique. You are awesome and you give your clients healing in a way that only you could. Now it’s just a matter of getting your website to reflect that.
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