If you do what I do, you see a lot of websites. And throughout my countless hours online, one question always comes to mind: How do businesses stand out when everyone is fighting for attention? For me, the answer is simple — businesses need to be true to themselves and their customers. If you think about your favorite ads, you’ll quickly realize that they’re personable, funny and aren’t meant to be taken too seriously.

People are smart. They know when businesses are trying too hard. And trying too hard has kind of become the standard. So it’s easy for consumers to find themselves drifting on an ocean of advertising just hoping to catch a glimpse of land. They’re bombarded with so much of the same language and redundant promises, it’s no wonder so many brands just get lost at sea.

Here are a few examples of brands that stand out for all the right reasons.


CodeKit helps developers build clean sites fast. The home page is simple and immediately conveys the software’s purpose. But when you look closer, you’ll find life. Coding is highly technical, so it’s nice to see someone bringing the subject down to earth and making it approachable with lines like, “Ain’t nobody got time for slow, bloated websites. CodeKit makes them faster.” My personal favorite is the “Reviews” section. It includes pseudo reviews from Siri, Tim Cook and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to name a few.

Dollar Shave Club

You already know their name. Why? Because they’re real, and their story and products are simple. With roughly 3.2 million likes on Facebook, they’re obviously doing something right. They inject everyday speech, humor and confidence into their message. The video on the home page shows the owner of the company confidently strolling through the warehouse. His unabashed statements convey self-assurance, and his informal delivery reminds me of how people talk to each other every day, so I’m inclined to listen.

It’s always important to stay true to your brand and your customers. Take time to truly define your business. Pinpoint what you stand for, and speak to those who spend their time and money on the products and services you both believe in. Don’t forget that your customers are human just like you. If you don’t truly believe what you’re seeing or saying on your own site, why should your customer believe it?