I’ve heard it said that “Social media is today to what a website was yesterday… if you do not have a social media presence, you are not considered a serious competitor.” Okay, that is true, but there is STILL one thing that trumps social media—your website!
Yes, social media is an engine for driving traffic, building a following, trust and credibility. But what good is that if after you’ve done all the hard work to get them to (guess where) YOUR WEBSITE, it lacks the necessary dynamics to convert them to at least a subscriber to your blog (yes, a blog needs to be part of your site), or hopefully an immediate sale? Your website is the hub of your entire marketing program!
So making sure your website is designed for effectiveness is a crucial component for success in business. Forget your college bound nephew, who knows the tools but has no marketing sense. You get what you pay for! The sad part is that most people don’t realize how many sales they’ve lost, before they realize that none are coming in. THAT’S TOO BIG A MISTAKE TO MAKE!
So what makes a good website design? I thought you’d never ask! Let’s look at that. Now I am not going to talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or the technical aspect of a website; just good design.
This is the one where designers inexperienced in marketing typically get you! Why? Since he or she doesn’t know what’s effective and you are depending on them to show you, when they present a template with eye-popping effects and snazzy graphics, you say, “Ooooo… aaaahhh!!!” You love it and move forward, only to wonder why it doesn’t work.
The reason is that it distracts and eventually annoys. So by “eye candy,” I mean that it must be pleasing to the eye, have enough graphics to make it functional and attractive, but no more than is necessary. And, there is a difference between a graphic that says what you want and one that says it with style, grace and impact. Use those; avoid the others!
Once you’ve chosen your graphics and look, how you lay it out on the page is essential. You want good balance and flow. You want it to guide the reader naturally. Poor layout looks cluttered, choppy and makes one struggle to find what they’re looking for.
This also includes proper use of fonts. Avoid serif fonts (Times New Roman, et al.), unless there is a well-thought out reason for them. Don’t single space, and when tastefully feasible, use earth tones (blues, browns and dark greens).
This point should be the very first! I chose not to make it first, because if the attractiveness and layout of the site doesn’t pull your visitor in, what you wrote won’t matter much. However, this is your message! This is what will persuade the reader, meet him or her where he or she is and take them where you want them to go. If you skimp on this part, everything else you did right will not matter!
Make sure you hire a professional creative marketing and sales writer, not just anyone who THINKS they can write. A poet can write, but would you write your entire site in poetry? A creative writer can write, but I would not necessarily want to read a poem by one. This is apples and oranges. So make sure that your copy is as strong as it can be to do the job it was written to do!
Stay tuned for next week’s article, which will talk about the remaining aspects of a good website. In the meantime, take a look at your site with a different pair of glasses. If you created it, I know it can be hard to be critical of your baby. But be honest with yourself and do an analysis of what we just discussed. You have a week to really contemplate it and then you can see how you did with the remaining points next week.
Put your best face (or site) forward and start to reap the rewards of why you got into business in the first place, with an effective website that will be a smart return on your investment. Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog! Until next week…