Many of your new potential clients may learn about your business for the first time by visiting your website and the old cliché, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, is especially true.
When a business makes the choice to gain an internet presence, whether they are the largest corporation or the smallest home business, they may be tempted to take what appears to be the “easy way” to get the company website up and running fast.
3 big problems of cheap website design are:
Some website hosting comes with “do it yourself” capabilities and pre-made templates. Although this is a great way to upload photos of your summer vacation for your family and friends to see, this is not a good way to make that great first impression for your business. In short, these “solutions” really do not present a professional image, and often use very minimal templates and overall poor layout and design.
Many companies now sell website “templates” for low cost, making it easy for you to get up and running quickly. While this is true (you can get up and running quickly) and many of these companies do sell some professional designs, you run the risk of other businesses, some of which could be your competitors, using that SAME design. To buy a “unique” copy of the template often costs just as much or more, than if you were to hire a professional website design company to create a custom design for you.
Complete websites for $100! This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but we have actually seen advertisements for complete websites for very low prices (in the hundreds of dollars). You should remember that you are investing in your business when you decide to have a custom website developed, and you really do get what you pay for.
A professional web design firm creates original designs, that are tailor-made for each individual client - and the prices for that work can vary a lot, but do expect to pay a reasonable amount for the service.
These three potential pitfalls aside, the process of getting your business onto the World Wide Web does not have to be a confusing, time-consuming, and costly affair. Below is a basic outline of the process.
1) First, you should consider a good domain name for your website. Avoid names with “-“ in them and very long names. Try to be as clear as possible about the purpose of your website.
It is easiest for your visitors to remember a URL that is your company name, or at the very least, keywords that describe your company.
For instance, if your business is ABC Accounting, you could consider abcaccounting.com or something such as accountingservice.com. You may find that your first (and second!) choice for a domain name may already be taken, so you may have to get creative. Just remember that a domain name that reflects your business is key.
2) Shop around for the right website design firm. There is no shortage of companies who can handle the design and development of your website. Do not be afraid to shop around.
Prepare a detailed RFP (Request For Proposal) that outlines things such as the goals of your website, your target market, the information you would like to have on your website, and advanced features such as ecommerce, that you would like to have.
Review the experience and portfolios of web design companies and send out your RFP to the ones you feel have the skills to do the job right. When you’ve narrowed down the prospects, do not be afraid to ask for personal or telephone interviews.
Find out what their design process and work flow is like. Ask for recommendations about what type of web hosting your site will need. Also, make sure to review the design agreement or contract with the company you choose. A professional website design company will require a 50% deposit before work begins.
3) Have a basic idea of what you would like your finished site to look like. It’s a good idea to do some “surfing” of the web to see what your competition and similar companies are doing, but look outside your industry as well for designs that catch your eye. This will give your design team a place to start and an idea of the style of design you expect for your own website.
4) Work on your “content”. The content of your site includes all the text you wish to display. This is a very important aspect of your site. Although you do not want to overwhelm your visitors with nothing but pages and pages of text, you do want to offer clear, concise, professionally composed and edited information.
Good website copy can make all of the difference in the world, in terms of your site’s appeal and ultimate success. If you are in doubt about the ability of your selected website design company to write good copy, it is better to consider hiring a professional copywriter.
5) Once your website is up and running, it will still be important to consistently add valuable relevant content. This is the overall method of keeping your visitors happy and your pages ranked highly by search engines.
Reasons why website design is important for your business.
Whether your business has just got off the ground or has been established for years, start-up and long running companies are looking to the internet to expand their sales as well as service to customers.
Everyday, many new websites are going up and with so many people opting to go with the cheapest route or the quickest design process, often the quality of a website gets left behind.
Lets face it, you wouldn’t want a possible client coming into your office, looking around at a mess, so why would you send them to your virtual office looking like one?
People very often go to a company’s website to get more information, it is a lot easier and more convenient then calling them or writing them a letter.
The first thing they notice when they go to your website is either “Wow, these guys are professional, I want to deal with them” or “their site is awful, how can they be professionals, if they do not even have a professional looking website?”.
We all think this when we visit a website, haven’t you ever felt a little bit easier or more relaxed when purchasing something off a site with a professional look? If a site doesn’t look professional then you probably won’t even consider purchasing an item or using their service!
Another important aspect of a website is how long it takes to load. A lot of people say if it takes longer then 8 seconds to load then people will leave, this is generally true. Google’s recommendation is less than 2 seconds.
If a site is taking too long to load, most will go to another site. If your site doesn’t load in at least 8 seconds for all visitors, then you should optimize your site’s components.
Your site should not only look good and load quickly, it should work well. There are few things worse than visiting a website with pages that haven’t been created yet, script errors popping up and only half of the information seems to be there. This will definitely annoy anyone who is visiting your website, they probably won’t come back for a while, if at all.
Another important aspect of a good website is enabling visitors to contact you in one way or another. A simple email address or contact form on a contact us page will do wonders.
People like to know they can get in touch with you with just a simple click of the mouse. Make sure that there is a link to your contact us page or contact information on every page.
How to help your business succeed with a professional website.
With all of the easy to use content management systems, WYSIWYG HTML editors and website design templates that are available today, unless you are taking advantage of the powerful functionality of custom web development, and dedicated content creators, technically speaking, a monkey could have a website as good or better than yours ;}.
We see many absolutely terrible websites everyday. I’m not talking about what they look like, as this is in part very subjective. I am talking about the functionality, page copy and overall performance. These are the key components of a quality website.
Many of these terrible websites belong to very intelligent, highly respected individuals or companies with a good line of products or a service, that are successful in other areas of their life.
It is just sad, it makes no sense. Maybe they are ignorant of the opportunity that a good quality website can bring to their business, they don’t know what a good quality website is or maybe it is their web designers fault.
Many so called “web designers”, have next to no idea of what developing a website is really about.
If you are not taking advantage of custom web development and dedicated content creators, don’t be surprised, when you do a search for your product or service keywords and check out a site in the top results, to see who your competitor is, to see a picture of a pretty or handsome monkey on the about us page.
So, the point is, take a look at reality for a moment. Is your website performing the way you would like? Are you getting lots of traffic? If your are getting the traffic, are you converting this traffic into sales or revenue for your business?
If so, that’s great. Please continue reading and check out some more of our articles for helpful tips to make even more money with your website.
Otherwise, it’s probably time for you took take a closer look at what can be done to improve the performance of your website. Please, do yourself a favor and contact us to learn more.
Are you wasting your money on website design?
Website design is the subjective representation of your website, the graphics, colors and visual elements. All of which are, for the most part, a matter of opinion, add very little value to your site and in many cases can be detrimental to the usability and functionality of your website.
Take a hint from the leaders, Google, FaceBook, YouTube, Microsoft, eBay, Twitter, you name it.
Any website that is developed to serve many visitors successfully will have a very simple, clean and functional design without overwhelming graphics, Flash or other page elements that do nothing other than consume valuable server resources and annoy many of your visitors.
Just want a simple website to display some products or information? There are many (probably millions) of free website designs and you don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to put one together yourself.
So called “Web designers” are overly abundant for good reason, with all of the pre-made templates and WYSIWG HTML editors available, it takes little, if any skill to put together a website design. Though even with this type of simple website you still need to pay close attention to the content, page titles, linking structure, usability and more.
Why have elements on your website unless they add value or functionality? In most cases, it is a waste and detracts from the true purpose of your website. In contrast, even a small investment in the truly meaningful aspects of your website will pay for themselves many times over for years to come.
How to save a lot of money on website design.
By focusing on the objective aspects of your website. Whether the purpose of your website is to provide information about you, your products or your company… provide an interactive service to your customers or enable you to sell your products online. Every part of your website’s design should be influenced by real data, not subjective opinion.
To this end, you could have your entire website built to perform exactly the way you would like, completely functional, optimized and doing the job it is supposed to, for probably much less than you would pay a “Web designer” for some pretty colors and a get a much better performing and converting website in process.
Free & inexpensive website design resources
There are many free & inexpensive Website design resources, including high quality website templates, WordPress and other CMS Themes, eCommerce, blogging, image galleries and forum applications available, that can enhance your website by enabling you to easily create functionality and exciting user interface elements.
These free and inexpensive website resources are often well written and stable open source applications, including blogs, shopping carts and more that could make a good platform from which to build a truly powerful website. Adding your own custom features to these applications will further enhance and make your website unique.
With the money you save not having to hire a “web designer” or web design company to make a custom web design, you will probably be able to afford to add some real custom functionality to your website like dynamic content, high converting landing pages, interactive user applications, a database, a shopping cart and much more, that will make your website stand out.
How to Make Your Website Stand Out.
Websites, there are now literally more the a billion of them out there in cyber-space. How many of them do you go to that are either poorly designed, have bad performance, have weak content, are hard to use or all of the above?
What makes a good website? You’ve got to provide value, and keep your visitors interested.
You’ve got to grab their attention. Many businesses are smart enough to either hire a qualified digital marketing company or engage in their own content marketing to attract you, but once you make it through to the content of the site, it’s just not worthy of your time.
A good website, from a visitors perspective, backs up digital marketing and attention grabbing headlines with stellar content and a great user experience, which includes good performance, easy navigation and interactive elements like comments. Things that provide a value.
If you’re fortunate, whoever builds your website may even have a few tricks up their sleeves to make it really stand out with unique interactive tools and useful, valuable functionality.
A good website, from the site owners perspective, is perfectly inline with the type of website that is good for visitors, because that is what it is really all about, your customer and potential customers. The only difference being, you are more concerned or should be, with the conversions on your website.
If you are paying attention to your customer’s needs and desires, then the conversions will come naturally.
How to make your website exciting.
Do you want people to come to your site and tell their friends about it?
Do you want to have lots of visitors?
Do you want to succeed in making your dreams come to fruition on the Web?
How great is it when you come across a site that has some special feature that you’ve haven’t seen elsewhere?
Isn’t it extraordinary when you find a site that relates to one of your interests that is simple and easy to get to the information you want?
If you want to have people to come back to your website, you’ve got to keep the content fresh, useful and interesting.
Have a way for people to communicate with you and others who are into the same things with forums, message boards and comments.
The aim is to engage your visitors with content that is valuable and important to them.
A lot of websites just look like giant advertisements and you have to search for the needle in the haystack to find out what the actual site is for.
Advertising is a way of driving traffic to your site, but if you want your site to have an authentic, respectable atmosphere that exudes a feeling of integrity, you better be careful.
People are becoming wary of the heartless company driven attack on the consumer’s wallet. Many will automatically leave a site if it is too commercialized with bunch of pop-ups and advertisements. As they should.
The objective of your website should be to provide valuable, useful information that helps your visitors to make educated choices about the things that are important to them.
Valuable content combined with a great user experience and unique features is the means to having a successful exciting website.
How to make your website work for you.
Nowadays it seems just about everyone is a “web designer”. With the development of many inexpensive, even free website design software applications, it is easy for anyone to turn out a decent “looking” website design.
Is that what makes a good website, an interesting design, some pretty colors and pictures? We don’t think so. It might be interesting the first few seconds you look at it. After that, what can your visitors do with it? What have you achieved? Is that enough to convince your potential customers to exchange their money for your product or service?
Of course we all want to have a professional looking website. That is easy to achieve. But what is most important, we think, is that your website is functional, provides value to your customers and your potential customers. By enabling them to get what they came for, information, the ability to purchase your products or services or to interact with your business in some way.
Website design will always be subject to opinion, but no one can dispute the functional aspects of a website. Either it works, does what is supposed to or it doesn’t.
However, the way your website works, the functionality, performance and efficiency can be often be improved. This is the fundamental difference between web development and website design. Focusing your website budget on quality web development will yield you a much greater value for your dollar than wasting your money on some elaborate web design that does nothing other than sit there looking pretty, to some.
Hopefully the information above has given you some insight into the components that make up a successful website.
We have been developing websites since the beginning of the commercial Internet and have been the “technical brains” behind more than 8500 successful website applications. When you are ready to start making more money with your website… click here to get your free website review.Sharing is caring:
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