Need help deciding on what my content stack is going to be

Hi Peeps

This is a request for help on being more decisive on deciding what my content should be for a website I am currently working on.

The client is only fictional but that’s not important, the point is I am using it as a brief that I can eventually use to showcase in my online portfolio.

So in terms of what the actual project is about, it revolves around a website redesign for a fictional web development and design agency.

Here is a snippet taken from the brief that lays out what the task is:

"You work for a design agency whose portfolio does not reflect the caliber of work it can do. As a result, the agency keeps landing projects that don’t especially intrest them, much less help them move to the next level.

The agency wants to attract better clients with a marketing campaign that includes a website redesign.

My job : Design responsive, portfolio-centric website that inspires potential clients to call your agency."

For me personally, my natural starting point was to take a ride into “googlesphere” and bookmark a ton of cool looking modern and current looking web agencies that are real and already in business.

It made sense to make that my first step because I have never worked on redesigning a web agency website before, so by gathering inspiration from other web design agencies meant that I could get more familiar with the types of content these types of websites were presenting to potential clients, after looking at a ton of them you naturally start to see familiar patterns. For instance on the home page you often see the agencies portfolio of work as one of the first and highest stacked sections of their home page ( this makes sense because in order to attract more clients, they want to let there work do the talking and for a potential client looking for an agency to work with, he/she too is arguably going to be most interested in the standard of that agency portfolio more so than any other of the marketing babble on their website.

My point is I can clearly see why the portfolio section is almost always one of the highest stacking pieces of content across any design agency website.

The stage I am at now with the project is deciding on what content sections to include for the agency site I am working on. After I have bookmarked a high number of website inspiration, and which are similar in terms of the industry I am designing for (otherwise known as the competition) The next step I like to take is to always start with a content first approach starting at a macro high level, as in “types of content”
what will those content blocks consist of in a general sense etc, and then moving slowly into the micro level of each of those content blocks as in deciding on what the actual content is going to be for each of those content blocks in the stack, text, images etc, once that is all down in black and white only then am I happy to move onto the actual “look and feel/branding” of the site, once all the content arrangement and actual content has been decided upon.

Where I am starting to get really stuck with this is that when I was scanning over the many agency websites that I had bookmarked, I come across so many arrangements and inclusions of similar content sections that all looked great and “correct” so to speak but I still could not decide what would be right for my project. A project lets not forget who in the real world would have the same business goals as all these other websites.

That was my first dilema, when so many arrangements seem right, how do you begin to narrow down the stacking order of content?

Here is an example of a content stack I have come up with so far for the home page: (from a high macro level)

Top Container (this would include the logo and the navigation)
Large Hero/Jumbotron Area ( this would act as the typical attention grabbing element that you see on most websites looking to sell such services)
Company Blurb/Intro
Who we are
Client Testimonials
Call to Action

This to me looked like a strong candidate for a content stack, because it did state in the brief that the company were looking to attract start up business as their ideal client.

Here is another one I come up with:

Top Container (this would include the logo and the navigation)
Large Hero/Jumbotron Area ( this would act as the typical attention grabbing element that you see on most websites looking to sell such services)
Core Services
Client Testimonials
Client Trophy cabinet (this is typically a section where agencies slap a load of well known logos on there home page, to build up a reputation of trust of who they have worked with)
Blog Articles
Call to action

The is kinda where I am stuck at with this project, which I why I wrote this post so I can get some advice and help on moving it forward.

The sections I am confident on including so far are the top container which holds the logo and navigation, this is a given for most websites as most include navigation and a logo, including it at the top of the pile seemed like an obvious decision as well, I have even gone as far as deciding that on desktop the links will be a presented as a horizontal row of links and then on a tablet and mobile those links will collapse into a classic hamburger menu that when clicked will display as a full screen modal overlay.

The large hero area is also a given certainty for these types of websites as its generally the first part of the page where you really get to make a striking visual impact on the user, so like the top container, this is also a pretty consistent element in terms of its inclusion and placement in the stack.

All I have to decide now is how my jumbotron will behave, will it be a looping video reel, a slideshow, a static image or a looping illustration animation, most agency hero elements fall into one of these four categories. still not sure which one to pick yet though.

I will come back to sections that would fall around the middle zones of the stack as that is where most of my indecision lies.

The footer like the top container is also another given for most websites so that again is a no brainer. I do like the idea of a nice large call to action block towards the bottom of the stack, this was another common feature that I noticed on most of the agency websites that I bookmarked and it make sense from a business perspective to have this as a must have inclusion and to have towards the bottom as a hook point to encourage potential clients to call your agency for new business.

So like I said above most of my indecision lies in the middle areas, not really sure if I should include things like “core services”, “client testimonials”, blog articles, things like that, these kind of items are all up for debate and seem to be optional given the variety of arrangement and inclusion configurations the other sites have used, ie: does core services really need to be spelled out to clients on the home page, or could I get away with just tucking this information away somewhere on a separate services page on the website but still expect them to find and click on the section of the website to find out more for themselves?

Other content sections that I have noticed on other web agency home pages include things like “why choose us” “fun agency facts” “our process” “meet out team” I could potentially include all these things on the homepage but then that would just make the webpage really really long and would just dilute the overall message. Plus throwing all those things on the homepage would just make it feel like a cheap bootstrap template for web design agencies, and the last thing I want to look like is a cheap template design, I want it to look like a real company design even if it is not.

I have included links to two very different looking web design agency websites just so you can how the content sections that I mention above have been put into action.

Like I say this dilemma brings me back to my original question of if they all seem to work successfully and attractively, and all of them have the same business goal of attracting new clients, how should I go about deciding on what that content inclusion should be for my fictional agency homepage and in what order that should be?

Thanks for reading peeps, I look forward to your advice and opinions.

Kind Regards
Dark Knight

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