In today’s tech driven world, a business’ website is one of their most important public interfaces.
The website is where potential customers are sent in order to find out about the business, what they offer and what they commit to. If a visitor likes all of that hopefully they complete a goal or transaction. Successful businesses don’t just want a website that is technically excellent, they want it to clearly communicate their personality, their individuality and leave a lasting impression – i.e. their brand.
It doesn’t matter what size your business is, even if you are a one person band running an ecommerce business out of your garage, you need to think about the whole user experience your website provides, not just if it meets distinct technical standards. Your buyers have to like you, trust you and think your values match their own before they will complete a transaction. It’s easy to identify websites that get this right but much harder to identify why one isn’t getting it right and what needs to change. It is most often the design along with how content is presented that makes the difference.
What Not To Do
Traditionally business owners have found a local web designer and just said I want to sell widgets and my logo is red, design me something for £500! There are lots of things wrong with this approach but a couple of crucial ones merit further analysis.
- Cheap designers often have limited design skills or flare. They may be able to code but not do graphic design so they will deliver you a basic functioning site but they probably won’t have used any stylish fonts, amusing animations or prioritized calls to action.
- The business has failed to provide a decent specification or any quality content.
- The business has not taken the time to help the designer understand who they are or what is special about their product/service. Therefore, the designer can’t incorporate it into the website.
The result is a boring website that doesn’t provide the reader with the information they need before making a transaction or make you stand out from the crowd. The opportunity to really impress or engage the reader has been lost – wouldn’t it have been better to build something they wanted to share or at least come back to?
You, the business owner, have to recognize that building a successful website requires significant input from you. You can’t just spend five minutes with the designers – you’ll get a generic result. The business has to have thought through who their customer or customers are, what information each customer needs and then write unique, high-quality content for each. This should include talking about the product or service in a way that targets each customer group. This will then help your coder determine the best structure for your website and how best to provide a navigation to users. If no one in your business can write well you have to invest in someone who can.
Do not overlook the importance of art work and images. Secure a budget for a graphic artist to provide a world class logo and other graphic elements along with some design ideas. Choose a website coder who is honest about their strengths and weaknesses and has demonstrated that they value the input of third party specialists such as graphic artists and writers.
There are some website service companies who pull together all these skills into a branding agency. You are likely to pay a premium, however, this can be a great investment because it pays for a team of people with specialisms in each area of website design and branding. You can hold one company accountable for results without having to act as a project manager working with designers, coders and branding specialists.