In Part One of this article we looked at important things to consider before you approach a web design company. In this part we take a look at working with the company to make your website a success. Now you’ve picked a company to work with here are six more things to address with them and tips for a building a successful website:
Hiring a good web design company can help with design concepts if you’re struggling for ideas. Any design should be suitable for the target market but web design, like any design (clothes, interior, car, etc.) goes through trends and fashions. There can be a tendency for websites, generally, to look very similar so making yours stand out from the crowd is important. How is yours going to be memorable to someone looking for a company that provides the services you offer? Even if they visit your site but move on to another, what is going to make it stick in their mind when they come to make a decision about which company to contact? Think about how you’d like your design to look keeping your objectives and customers in mind. Also consider if you’re going to use a pre-made theme (cheaper but there are compromises) or have a bespoke design (more expensive but you’ll get exactly what you want).
This is the most difficult part and the bit that takes the longest to do. It’s a myth that people don’t read websites with a lot of text on. People will read what they find interesting. Lord of the Rings is a massive book and people read it because they’re engaged. Your website copy should be engaging however long or short it is. Your company message should be clear, your service offering immediate and supporting copy should reinforce and be interesting to read. If you’re not a confident writer hire someone to do it for you. If you’re not a competent graphic designer you wouldn’t try to design your own logo so apply the same premise to your copy. It’s an investment and will make you more money in the long run. Also, remember in Tips for a successful website: Part One we said that it’s not your website? Keep your customers in mind and make sure the written copy is about them and how they can benefit. For more guidance on website copy there’s an article here, ‘The importance of good website copy’, that goes into this in more depth.
Calls to action
Consider what you want people to do when they get to your site. Do you want them to call, fill in a form, request a demo, make a purchase? Your CTAs should be high-profile and are the start of the sales funnel. Where will these CTAs go on the website? If it’s not clear to your visitors what they should be doing, they won’t do it. Make it easy for them.
No one likes to get lost. It’s frustrating and time consuming. Your menu and navigation should be clear and straightforward. All pages should be accessible from all others and menu items should be logically grouped to prevent confusion. Having an easily navigable website will create a better user experience and make conversions more likely. Also, at the beginning of the project create a diagram of the page structure (sitemap). This will help you, and your chosen designer create a better website. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but it provides a framework with which to work by.
Think well ahead and plan for a date when you’d like your website to be live. A successful project takes careful planning so don’t expect to approach a good web design company and expect an all-singing-all-dancing website to be designed and built by the end of next week. They will already have work on the go and a rushed and sub-standard job is a waste of your money. Make time for development meetings, design time, build time, content creation, image sourcing, gathering testimonials and testing. Plan actual dates in a timeline when stages of the project should be complete by. A working and agreed timeline has more chance of success and everybody will be working to the same schedule.
Getting people to your site
Once your site is live how will people know about it? The two main online methods are either a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign or digital marketing. Both have the same aim – to get people to your site – but it’s important to consider the right one. If one of your objectives is to raise your company profile, social media may be the best way forward. If ranking highly in Google is important to you maybe SEO is the best solution. SEO campaigns should be carefully considered as they can be expensive and, depending on the competition, difficult to ensure effectiveness. At the moment in 2016, businesses are adopting engagement with customers as a primary selling technique by creating quality and shareable content. This approach lends itself perfectly to digital marketing.
If you follow these basic steps and guidelines you will increase the chances of your new website being a success and your company seeing a return on its investment. The more thought and planning that goes into a website the higher the chance that it is going to work for you.