What We Were Thinking When We Built Our New Website

Written by

Erik Schmidt

At Burns, we spend all day telling other people how to build their websites. But what were our concerns when we built ours?

Get our work out front

We argue for our own expertise by showing, not just telling. Our portfolio is our best foot forward – so we gave people work that represents our four service pillars and let them do the deciding.

Focus on our four service pillars

This is one of our key messages – the pillars are what we do best – so we led with it. This gives browsers an intuitive framework to understand us, and it tells them right away whether we could be a good fit.

What are our four pillars?


The new site is simplified. The old site featured some outdated work, pathways, and verbiage that sounded smart but didn’t really say much.

In UX terms, we thought about what people really want when they show up to a marketing firm’s site: a way to evaluate the work, a sense of who the company is and how it solves problems, a compelling list of clients, and a way to get in touch.

Highlight our people

We discovered during a recent internal brand exercise that our people are what others remember. We have a cohesive culture here that says “We’re in this together, and we’ll step up to the plate on your behalf.” So we owned it.

Now all of our staff (not just leadership) are on the site, and visitors can learn why each person is a great partner.

Increase the sass

You won’t get a bunch of jargony nonsense from us in real life, so we decided that our site should avoid that as much as possible. We’re funny, upbeat, no-nonsense people – so when it came time to write the site, we decided we should sound like it.

Tell our origin story better

Every agency has an origin story, and most of them are next to useless. We tried to use ours as a way to highlight our current-day values – how we think, what we strive for, and how we’re different.

Get the damn thing deployed

At some point, you just have to flip the switch. Do your diligence, work your ass off on the writing, design, and dev, and get the thing deployed so you can focus on client work.

Go back to our homepage for another look.

It's the cat's ass.

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