What are you trying to say to the audience you have chosen? What exactly are you trying to convey to them? You need to be very specific about the exact scope of your information. If it is too vague or too broad, it is very difficult to build a good web site or have any meaningful influence over your audience.
A good test of a message is the “elevator pitch.” The idea is that you get into an elevator with a friend or a potential customer and you have the length of the trip to tell them what you are doing. You have no idea if your friend is getting off at the next floor or if he is getting off at the same floor as you. You have to quickly explain the idea and then slowly expand on the definition if time allows. If the elevator ride together only lasts one floor, they at least have some idea of what you are about. If they stay on for 10 floors, you can go into greater detail.
You really do need to be able to do your “pitch” in once sentence. Refine and work your message so that it only contains the important information that your potential customer needs to hear. Don’t make this a message for you. Test it with friends and family to make sure you are getting your point across.
Once you have this basic message refined, it becomes very easy to expand the message. This is the beauty of a website as a communications tool. Interested readers only need to click on the details that interest them.
In the past, it was difficult to find an important information. A person would sometimes need to read an entire whole book, and sometimes several of them, to get the specific information they need. Now with the Internet it is easy to break that information into pieces — into pages or some other content (a video or an animation). With millions of potential sources and a search engine, it is very easy for a person to “google” a topic, and read many versions of the same exact information in a very short period of time. It is important to build a website with this in mind. Keep the information short and direct. Let a person click more if they are truly interested.
As mentioned before, clicking becomes a source of analysis. If you target a certain audience to a specific part of your website, and they do not click any further, you need to consider that the message may need work.
When building a website, the “main idea” is on the homepage, and the supporting details are links. A website is the digital version of your “elevator pitch”. The home page contains the main idea, and there is a menu of linked pages that provide greater detail.
The best part about building a website is that it is always “under construction”. Unlike a book that is published once and is hard to change without a reprint, a website can change all the time. Old content can be enhanced or edited or taken down. New content can be added and edited and tweaked in order to make it better fit the audience.
Good websites never use an “under construction” excuse. By nature they are always under construction.