Update: This article was originally written in 2010, but most still applies (including the unfortunate truth that Courtney Love is still making headlines and “The View” is still on the air). Since I have recently relocated and started work at another high-level web design firm, I thought it appropriate to reshare an old memory. The original link to this article post is here. I hope you all can enjoy this (and maybe even learn a deeper lesson) with me. Thanks!
With such an obviously sensationalistic title as that, I better quickly give you a reason not to hate me and send threatening letters to my boss. Though it may not seem like it, there is definitely a method to my madness. In my ever creative mind – which is a place that would make Stephen King an author for children’s books – I wanted to parley the importance of a website to your company’s credibility while at the same time not boring you to the point of squirting the toothpaste sitting in your medicine cabinet all over your face in an attempt to go blind. That’s where I came up with the question of the week, which is “What’s the difference between underwear and a website?” My answer – none at all. Allow me to explain why before reporting me to the FCC. There are four reasons that make a very easy comparison to what underwear does for you as opposed to a website.
1. Ratty or torn underwear can undermine your best outfit. Ok, so this actually happened to me within the last few weeks. I went to visit the doctor and needed an x-ray, which meant that I had to go into a private room, strip down to only my boxers, and put on a gown. The problem was that I had been wearing an old pair of torn up boxers and was embarrassed for someone to see me. When the technician came to get me, I had that gown tied as tightly as I could to make sure no one saw anything. Fear is never a fun way to live. The comparison to this is simple: if you look bad on your website, do you really think anyone is going to want to do business with you?
2. The right underwear provides foundation support that hides your flaws. If you have ever watched “The View” then we might need to have a different conversation, but they talk about ways for women to make themselves look as good as possible. This means, for most humans anyway, that we have to hide our flaws. If you have a big belly, what better way to hide it than a girdle? Although “Lethal Weapon 3” is the only example of a man wearing a girdle that I can think of, the theory holds true for both genders. One of the wonderful things a website can do for your company is make you appear bigger, stronger, and more capable by presenting yourself as well as possible. This of course can go too far – but those instances will be brought to light if your website shows you in a suit and tie and you are still in your robe when customers walk into your place of business.
3. The right underwear can provide the spark needed to capture your target’s interest. Alright guys, let’s be honest here – a girl who knows how to dress properly and “wear her clothes right” is usually going to win the battle of the sexes. The flash of a bra strap or stockings coyly shown goes a long way in winning a man’s attention. The creativity in the design of your website can accomplish the same thing – get people interested in you. Once they are interested, all you have to do is close the deal. Just make sure not to look your best and then forget to use mouthwash once they start talking to you.
4. The style of your underwear determines the style of your clothes. According to the fashion stylists of the world (motto: pain = style), a person’s choice of undergarments has a great deal to do with the outfit on top. Infomercial after infomercial discusses ways to “hide panty lines”, and no one except for Courtney Love would wear a normal bra with a backless dress. Thus, if you want to present yourself in a certain way, then you need to plan accordingly the underwear of the day. I saw an advertisement for a company that sells social media marketing options on the internet last month – and they didn’t have a website! It makes sense that if you want your customers to find you, you should probably have the right system set up for that to happen – don’t be caught reaching an audience that likes the internet with a phone book ad. I would definitely consider that a “web faux pas”. So, what’s the point? At least that was what my friends asked me when previewing this article. My answer – delayed slightly by a few glugs of Red Bull – was simple. Medicine tastes better when mixed with a spoonful of sugar. If a business wants to splash their information on the internet, all the power to them – but if they want to sell, then they better make it hot.
by Phil Stalnaker