24 Feb Why is Web Design important for the online window to your business?
Let’s start with the basics about Web Design. Not all of us are born graphic designers, however, we can all easily get dragged into using the software we haven’t a clue how to use, this is usually how most people learn. If you don’t have the time or just cannot fathom the prospect of sitting there creating draft after draft of your perfect idea, then remember there are experienced web designers out there who will value your time and ideas and then help you mold the end result into something suitable. Before you go crazy and start filling sketchbooks with ideas, just remember that the window to your business still has to be user-friendly and attractive. There is a very ‘zen’ like the balance that needs to be handled with care and attention.
This is why you hire a web developer.
First things first, your site needs to be responsive, without this you’re going to hit a brick wall and repeatedly find the same issues arise. It’s got to fit, Desktop, Tablets, and mobiles. You may be asking yourself, who even uses a desktop anymore, well I’m using one to write this blog so just keep that in mind. Over 1 billion people use a mobile device to search the tinterweb – this is also the platform most likely to get these visitors sharing your website. If that wasn’t convincing enough, 80% of visitors online come from these devices too.
Another important statement to remember is that Google favours the mobile. It really does. Google will serve penalties to sites which do not meet this criteria, you can imagine that there are now a lot of very busy web designers trying to get a whole heap of sites up to scratch.
Whilst this may sound like a simple task just to create a mobile version of your website, keep in mind that actually there are different screen sizes which need to be accounted for. So this creates several different version, all with their own stamp. They may all look identical from a simple angle, but in reality, they are all different.
You then need to take into account the different Tablet sizes of screens. This creates other multiple versions to keep within theme and functionality. You’d expect that there is a different type of content displayed on each, yes on the surface they are different, but essentially they are identical, just mapped out differently.
If you are unfamiliar with mobile versions vs desktop versions then I would suggest doing some research for any site that lists high up on Google to then try a version on your desktop/laptop and then try the same site on a mobile. I bet they are different? Thought so, this is because the business recognises the necessity in the current times for this setup.
The most noticeable change from desktop vs. mobile is that the menu system for the site tends to fill the screen when selected, this is to make the options easy to reach and also so that the small screen size is utilized efficiently. No one, I repeat, no one likes having to zoom into a website to try and make out the options/text.
You may find if your website is with someone like GoDaddy or 1&1 then there is a very easy way on their platform to make a mobile version of your website. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that this is effective. Sometimes contact details can get pushed aside, or booking forms become inactive/nonreactive
I only know a handful of people who managed to create a website themselves (not web designers) that actually works properly on all fronts, They still need marketing on top of the site to draw in extra visitors but putting the marketing aside for a moment, they did a good job.
Connecting with your audience
Have a plan. Don’t go into designing a website off the cuff with no real idea about your message or your branding, without this your website could look pretty shoddy. Creating a website is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman, step away from the microphone Swiss Tony. Actually, he’s probably right though, there has to be a lot of thought and rhythm to the website. If the website doesn’t catch the eye of the user then you’re dooming yourself to losing the public interest.
How does someone contact you? Do I email you, do I call? Do I send a smoke signal or send carrier pigeons to get your attention. Chances are if it’s the last two then you’re in the wrong century but please submit your details and we’ll discuss how you managed to achieve time travel.
You need them to either call or email if you don’t have a physical shop front – therefore it is imperative that you make this call to action inherently visible across every page. If someone sees a product they like that you sell, or need a service that you are providing then why not follow them across the page with this information. Chances are if you follow them, you will have a conversion rate for this, if it’s measurable then you can make a record of progress on this. Equally, if you are selling products online then your online ordering system needs to be working for you and making this process really straightforward.
If you’re a one-man band, then you have to follow a simple thought process, ‘do you leave your mobile number on the site?’ NO, don’t do this. If you imagine the customer journey then you may know that actually, it’s better to buy a number that redirects to your mobile. Websites that display a mobile number have a low chance of being contacted purely based on the judgement an individual can make once they land on your website.
Speaking of measuring……….. Google Analytics. YES!! we dropped the GA again. I can’t explain how important this tool is in keeping data and activity against your wonderful new/existing mobile-friendly website (not to mention, all versions of your website). Most of the websites we have the pleasure of recording data for tend to do very well on the mobile side of things, you’ll find that if your website is mobile friendly and you have been keeping track of the performance for more than a year, there will be a peak in interest/activity from mobiles. This is all down to Google’s algorithm, of which they update every so often. (Keep an eye on the Google scene, it pays to get a heads up on their updates as they roll out).
Using GA will allow you to monitor the gains your website traffic sources achieve through time. In doing so you will then be able to progress through insights of possible conversion rate optimisation which is the next step after going live that should be a core focus of your structure and process.
Content – Killer content – Giant explosive killer content.
Got your attention didn’t we.. this is because your content affects two things, first of all, your relationship with Google but also the relationship with your potential customers. For example, if I were to be looking to buy a new phone contract, I will be more likely to purchase from the website which gives me two things, best price and also the right information. If I were to buy a phone contract from a website which does not invite me to read or feel convinced they are genuine. I’ll happily leave that to someone who wants to risk a cheap deal for a dodgy service. That’s my opinion anyway.
Don’t create an essay of information for someone to read through, make it bitesize. Digestible chunks of information tend to sink in better than droves of boring and unattractive writing. Imagery, mix it up a bit, if you don’t have photos then this is a good time to use that camera you got given for your 18th birthday whilst attending a swaray in Ibiza. Just kidding, who goes to Ibiza for a swaray, exactly. But you have a camera so use, if you don’t have one, hire a professional photographer, high quality images are what gets the people going. Attractive, colourful, vibrant imagery. Much better than pixelated boring humdrum photos that are hard to make out detail and look nothing less than ‘once dropped in a puddle polaroids’. You’re trying to sell something, no point trying if you’re ill-equipped.
Long & short of it comes down to this;
- Platform; keep it simple if you’re not hiring a designer. Even a designer may end up using something simple but they will do a good job of it.
- Know your market; “research, research, research”. You can never do enough research.
- Justify your reason for certain types of functionality, but get someone else’s opinion other than your own, what you might think is a bad idea might not be from someone else’s point of view. Consider it a close quarters quality assessment of your brainstorm.
- Keep it simple, over complication can lead to bad user experience and in turn get you a bad rep. No one wants a bad rep. So simplify. Form follows function as the saying goes, and it should never be ignored. Simplicity creates a humble atmosphere which is likely to convert your visitors.