Your FIRST Robotics Website Probably Needs a Makeover
Your FIRST Robotics website serves many purposes, doesn't it? It showcases your team and what you do, it explains FIRST Robotics' mission, and tells the story of your team and what you all do. Well, at least that is what it's supposed to do....Right?
The problem most teams have is that they don't understand how to make a compelling website that communicates clearly what their team does and their mission - what they are truly there to do and why people should care. To be honest, the majority of FIRST teams don't have a clue to how a website should be designed and what content should go on what page.
If I was a stranger and I looked at your website, what would I notice? What would it tell me? Would I be overwhelmed with information, or would I be so confused at what I was reading? If the answer is a maybe, your FIRST Robotics team probably needs a website makeover.
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The Curse of Knowledge
Donald Miller, the owner of Story Brand, talks about the "Curse of Knowledge." The term is coined in the book The Art of Explanation by Lee Lefever. The idea here is that you and your team already know about FIRST Robotics and how you all play a role in promoting their organization and STEM; you and your team understand why it's important to be apart of FIRST. While it's a great thing that your team knows it's purpose, you also need to communicate it efficiently and in a consumable fashion.
You and your teammates know so much about your team and FIRST Robotics that you are at a ten on a knowledge scale. The problem is, the people around you are at a zero on a knowledge scale: they know zip (nothing) about FIRST. That is why your team has to simplify your message on your website.
Here are some suggestions on how to clean up your content and make it more clear to your audiences:
Get rid of all the words: Far too many websites have paragraphs and paragraphs of unneeded words. Toss out all the unnecessary tech and engineering verbiage and substitute for smaller, shorter sentences that explain your team and FIRST Robotics.
Remember what it's like to not know: Recall the time you first heard about FIRST Robotics. Was it confusing in any way? Remember what it was like to first learn about the organization and work on filling in those gaps with your website. Help your audiences think less so they can understand more.
Make it relevant to them: Your audiences want to find out why they should care; why should they support you financially, why should they sacrifice their time and energy to become a mentor? Cator to your audiences and display information that is important to them.
Branding Plays a HUGE Role
Not only does your site’s verbiage probably need to be looked over and replaced, but your graphics and website template might need to be replaced as well.
Branding is a critical aspect of your team's success. We explain more in our post What Branding Can Do for Your Robotics Team, but for now, know that branding plays a huge role. Not only should your team have the right content and words on each page, but it should be displayed beautifully and simplistically. Branding encompasses both what content your team puts out and how your audiences feel when consuming it.
I get it, maybe your team is either (a) using a free Wordpress template or (b) having a team member custom-make the website through some crazy HTML editing. Either way, if your site looks like it was made in the early 2000's and is not mobile friendly (like Chief Delphi), you might want to consider a new option seriously.
One option we highly recommend is Squarespace. They can host your site, give you a domain name, and provide modern, responsive, and beautifully designed templates that will make your team stand out.
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