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How to have a simple website (3 tips for simplifying any message)

Kai Madrone
May 25, 2021
Online presence

Simple looks easy

When clients come to us for a website (especially when they’re new to the process) they inevitably say, “I want a simple website. Just something really basic."

We totally get it and we love making simple websites because they're very powerful. But that's when we get to kindly break the news--

Simple websites are brilliant and beautiful, but they aren't basic.

Making something simple is actually the most comprehensive package of all the options. Because in life it's easy to make things long and complicated. Our human brains are good at that! Making things simple and succinct requires significantly more time and focus.

But in our overstimulating noisy world the work of making things simple has become increasingly essential. People don't have time for long and they don't have the attention span for complicated. If you want to be heard you have to simplify and streamline. But how?


Making things simple isn't

Classic American author Mark Twain once wrote,"I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead."

Can you relate?

No matter how skilled you are at communicating, it's much easier to deliver a long, complicated message than a short, simple one.

As Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Why we crave simplicity

We love simple because it's powerful, memorable, and a relief. Our brains can digest it. We can remember it. And our nervous systems love it.

At this point in human evolution, we absolutely crave simplicity. The minimalism movement exists for good reason. As a species, we need it. In a world of non-stop noise, endless options, and rapidly-increasing complexity, simple is a breath of fresh air.

If you want to be heard and have your message land with people, you'll want to be as simple and succinct as possible.

3 tips for simplifying your message

Whether it's your website, a social media post, an email, or content you're creating, to get traction it's important to make things as succinct and simple is possible. Getting to simple isn't easy, but here are three tips to make the process easier:

1.) Recognize the task for what it is. The path to simple-and-succinct begins with long-and-complicated. Distilling your knowledge base and thinking is a process. Start with a “Shitty Rough Draft”* then trim and hone. (You can read *Anne Lamott’s beautiful treasure, Bird By Bird for more on the practice of shitty rough drafts.)

2.) Budget accordingly. Going from long-and-complicated to simple-and-succinct takes time. Give yourself sufficient time and space to get there. Part of what is so powerful about simplicity is the sense of spaciousness it gives us. And it takes space to create spaciousness.

3.) Absorb from role models. Read poetry. Seriously. Poetry is the art of communicating something incredibly deep and valuable with the least words possible. When you surround yourself with a few good poets you'll begin to catch the feel of this. And the more you catch the feel of it, the easier it is to do.

My personal favorite poets include Mary Oliver, Hafiz, Alice Walker, and David Whyte. You can keep a good book of poetry on your coffee or bedside table for a quick dose.

On social media you can get a daily infusion of simplicity in your feed by subscribing to young writers who are bringing the poetic craft to the social media space. Rupi Kuar and Yung Pueblo are a couple of my current favorites.

Simple is a gift. It takes practice. And it's well worth it.

Get clear on your brand story and business model, then connect the two in your branding, website and content

P.S. And if you want a simple website, we've got you covered. Just click below to schedule a Business Clarity session to discuss what you want to create.

Learn more about getting a simple website

Thanks for doing what you do in the world,

Kai & Michael

Kai Madrone
Posted on
May 25, 2021

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