Before you even start thinking about how you want your website to look, it’s imperative that you’re clear about what it needs to achieve.
And whether that’s selling a product, generating lead opportunities, capturing email addresses or something else entirely, everything should be geared towards funnelling users towards that primary objective.
Unless you’re Calvin Klein or Coca-Cola (spoiler alert: you’re not) you can’t afford the luxury of a website that isn’t generating business.
I’ve built websites for various small businesses, but always with marketing in mind. So if that’s what you’re looking for I’m your guy.
This simple website built for a local company performed really well and generated a significant number of lead opportunities every month using a combination of search engine optimisation and Google Ads.
Similarly this really minimal design worked well for another business trying to encourage form submissions from traffic arriving from Google.
What could be simpler?
- Be clear in your objective.
- Encourage and make it easy for customers to achieve the desired goal.
- Attract the right traffic.
That’s all there is to digital marketing.
Yes, occasionally I’ll get roped into more bourgeois projects, but I’m not really the right guy for fashion / gallery websites. I’d always advocate a specialist web designer for those type of projects.
These are some of the things I’ve learned about web design in my 15 years or so of digital experience.
- (Nearly) always use an open-source CMS like WordPress or Drupal or Magento to build your website. A lot of web design agencies will try and rope you into using their ‘brilliant custom-designed system’, which normally isn’t at all brilliant and is nothing more than a mechanism to handcuff you to their services for eternity. An open-source CMS means you’ll always have control of your own website and can move between suppliers if need be. The exception to this is if you’re doing something that requires really custom functionality that these systems can’t handle, but that’s very rarely the case.
- If it’s a re-design or you’re moving to a new website remember your SEO responsibilities. So many people come to me because they’ve suddenly lost a load of traffic to their website after updating the design. If you take content away, change the address of pages and don’t tell Google what you’re doing, expect to lose a lot of visibility. If you know search engine traffic is important to your business, make sure you ask your web design company what they’re doing to safeguard it or failing that, hire a professional.
- Invest in good photography. Some people have this fixation with using all their own crappy images for their website design. But unless you’re a particularly good photographer or have paid someone to get those prize-winning glossy shots, consider using some carefully considered stock images instead, particularly on the lead pages. You can always use your own stuff for detail or lower down the page to create authenticity.
- Set up tracking immediately. As soon as you launch your new website you should be collecting invaluable data to inform your marketing activities. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two pieces of free software that will tell you everything you need to know, so get onto your web design company to install them right away.
- Assess competitors. If you know competitors are enjoying success with their website, look at what it is they’re doing well and try to emulate their efforts. It sounds obvious but very few people do it. More established businesses will have gone through a period of trial and error so use your new status to skip right ahead.
If you’d like to speak to me about anything to do with web design, please do get in touch now for some free advice.