Effective Web Design Tips
7 Steps to Highly Effective Web Design
Many business owners charge into developing a website without any clear understanding of the goals and the best methods of achieving them. In the following paragraphs we discuss the issues that need to be considered and the techniques that need to be implemented to craft a killer website!
Step 1: Determine Your Goals
The first thing you need to do before anything else is determine exactly what you are trying to achieve. What is the main purpose of the website? Is it to attract people into your physical premises, to drive online enquiries, increase sales or simply to serve as a reference ‘brochure-ware’ site?
Having a clear vision of what you want your website to achieve is hugely important as this should drive the whole direction of the design and build process. Technology used, colour schemes, layout and content should all be directed towards this goal.
Step 2: Get Inside Your Customer’s Head
A crucially important point that most website owners miss is really trying to view their business from a potential customer’s perspective. Many design mistakes are made because of an ‘owner-centric‘ view which often is diametrically opposed to user concerns.
Business owners are often focused on some, or all, of the following;
- Attempting to differentiate themselves from the competition with a high visual impact, high technology approach
- A desire to create something original
- A desire to create a website that they can be proud of themselves and one which they can impress friends and family with
Your customers on the other hand have very different concerns in mind when viewing your website, including;
- An initial impression that your website can offer the service they need
- A deeper impression that your business seems professional and trustworthy and that you can offer your service within their budget
- That you speak to them in their language – especially if your market is comprised of a particular demographic of age, gender or socio-economics
- That they can find information quickly and easily that addresses questions they have
- That they can easily find the best method for contacting you
Step 3: Differentiate Yourself the Right Way
As mentioned above, business owners often try to differentiate themselves from the competition. This in and of itself is by no means a bad thing. The problem arises in the manner in which they try to achieve this.
It usually involves a high visual impact approach and excessive reliance on technical wizardry. However, this approach usually means sacrificing crucial usability and readability.
For a more in depth discussion of these issues, please see a previous article, WOW Factor’ Versus Usability in Web Design.
Step 4: Create Unique, Compelling Content
So we can see that fancy graphics and bells and whistles are not the way to make you stand out from your competitors.
The most important thing is the content, including;
- A strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Compelling headlines
- Feature and benefit laden text
- Social proof of claims by use of testimonials
- Special offers, free gifts and strong guarantees
In the article, How to Differentiate Your Business Online we discuss these items in more detail.
Step 5: Tell Your Customer What You Want them to Do Next
A really simple, often overlooked but absolutely crucial step is to clearly let your visitors know what you want them to do next.
This is known a the ‘Call to Action‘ in marketing jargon. Something along the lines of ‘Call Us Now on 08 9361 6736‘.
There’s nothing worse than a website where you have to go hunting for the contact details, so place your number at the top right of every page, and also at the bottom of important landing pages.
Step 6: Promote Your Website
In many cases there is still a misconception that by simply building a website that it will automatically start generating business. This is simply not the case in these days where almost all of your competitors will already have a website themselves.
Imagine you opened a shop in a back street and didn’t send out any flyers, poster, press releases etc… you wouldn’t expect many visitors to your premises.
The same is true for a website. You need to have a marketing plan in place and be actively promoting your website. Means to achieve this include;
- Pay per click advertising, particularly Google Adwords
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Social media participation and marketing
- Press releases
- Email marketing
More information on these topics can be found in the following articles
Step 7: Keep in Touch with Customers
Show your existing customers you care, and offer further services by keeping in touch with them. Its much easier to sell to customers who have already done business with you than it is to win over new clients.
Social media streams such as Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter are great way to achieve this, while at the same time boosting your SEO efforts.
Building an email list is another great approach and there are many options out there to start building a database of subscribers, such as MailChimp. You can then periodically promote special offers or new services to them.
Start thinking about how you can implement some or all of these techniques on your website today to start seeing the benefits to your bottom line as soon as possible.