You may have noticed that Men with Pens looks a little different these days. This is the fourth – count ‘em, four – reincarnation of our design since we started this blog back in early 2007, and it’s likely nowhere near the last, despite the fact that I swore this is the absolute very last time ever. EVER.
(I know. I said that last redesign too.)
This change wasn’t because our readers didn’t like our last design. It’s not because we decided to change everything about the way we do business. Every business needs to shake things up now and then. It’s about finding ways to be bigger and better and looking at how you can improve your business. It’s also about making sure you’re reaching your target market in the way that these people want to be reached.
So sometime back in September, this overhaul began. Yes, it’s taken five months to bring you everything you see here, and probably more if you want to count the time it took to collect information.
Why so long? Because overhauls make you ask the hard questions:
- What’s important about you?
- What makes you different from your competition?
- How do you want people to feel about you after they visit your website?
- If you had all the adjectives in the world at your disposal, how would you describe yourself?
The answers are important to design and copy, because they’re the first – and sometimes only – impression your customers have of you before they decide whether to do business with you. Most customers drop by your website exactly once, and they give you a solid three seconds before they decide yea or nay.
Three seconds. No joke. Sometimes even less. Potential customers have just enough time to glance at the design and read maybe the first headline of your copy. That’s assuming the headline is a short sentence, mind you.
In that time, you have to explain to that new customer exactly what you’re all about. In order to explain clearly and quickly, you have to know your business really, really well.
You also have to revisit those questions often, because your business grows and changes over time just as you grow and change. The answer to those questions may not be the same since the last time you tuned in.
Overhauls are a part of growing up. As you grow older, you learn things about yourself and the face you want to present to the world. This is true in your personal life, and it’s definitely true in business. Every now and again, it’s good to check if the image you’re presenting to your potential customers is still faithful to the person you are inside. Sometimes, it needs a little adjusting.
Other times, it just needs a new coat of paint, a new set of clothes. You might still be the same corporate guy, but there’s a new trend on the runways, and you need to upgrade your suit to match the style. You’re still presenting the same image – you just updated it for this year.
Overhauls are how you distill a stronger business, too. An overhaul isn’t throwing out everything that makes you unique and starting over. Not at all. If you look at this site, you’ll see that while it’s a brand new Men with Pens look, it’s also a comfortable, familiar look that everyone recognizes.
An overhaul means filtering out all of the extraneous debris collected over the last few years and distilling a stronger, purer essence into a new bottle. To put it less alcoholically, you’re not trying to start from scratch. You’re simply taking what you have and filing down the rough edges. What’s left is going to be a smoother business, a better you, even more so than the previous incarnation.
Overhauls take time. Sometimes you don’t see where a rough edge is slowly digging at and destroying the overall image of your business. A year later, you’ll spot it and file that rough edge down. A year after that, something else becomes obvious to you and you’ll take care of that.
All the while, you’re not getting rid of yourself. You’re becoming a more distilled, more perfect version.
That’s what we wanted to accomplish with our overhaul. We kept all the things we’re really proud of at Men with Pens – our casual aggressiveness, our sales savvy, our stylishness, our edginess – and filtered out the stuff that wasn’t quite working for us.
We hope you like the results. Now go explore the new site and have fun.