Oh, for the days gone by when you could just nail a sign on the front of your building, GENERAL STORE, and start hocking your wares.
Nowadays, it’s take a bit more. Sure, you can buy a domain name, publish your own website, and wait for the traffic to flow–but you might be waiting a long time. Competition for page ranking with search engines, functionality for the user, and customer conversion rates are all factors that will affect whether or not your “general store” is a boom or a bust!
When designing or redesigning your website, it’s important to consider good, old-fashioned marketing principles, blended with innovative design and expertise.
- Don’t put the cart before the horse. We might be beating a dead horse, here, but it’s a highly overlooked step with a lot of web design firms. Understanding to whom you’re reaching out, where you stand in the marketplace, and how your website design matches up with your business goals, is key to the continued success and impact of your website. Every step after this will constantly refer back to the original research and plan.
- What’s on your shelves? Users should know within the first 10 seconds what you are offering and what to do next. Pages that load too slow, hard to see or read menu bars, cluttered design, and many other impediments can make a user click away from your site faster than a cow can kick you in the head (I’m not sure that’s a real saying, but I’m trying to keep a boomtown theme, here!). Expectations are high! Competition for a user’s attention/time on your site is one of the number one factors that are measured.
- New folks are comin’ to town, how will they find you? Many of your users will most likely be referred to your site by personal invitation, but there’s a whole world out there that will find you because you have the right words, phrases, pictures, code, links, and other connections. But once again, it’s a big world and the competition is stiff. Search engine optimization is a constantly changing animal. You’ll need help with this, no matter how savvy you are on your own. We’re in the business, and WE are still constantly updating our knowledge and practices.
- Keep ’em comin’ back for more. An update to your website every 2-3 years is recommended, but do you have pages and elements that you can change and update to keep things interesting and dynamic? Are you updating your blog? Are you adding to a picture gallery? Adding new products? Why should users visit your website again, and again? Your site in a long term investment and it needs to have more than a “flash in the pan” effect.
- Start out like you can hold out. Part of the genius of the design needs to have an ongoing management plan. How will updates be made? Are you familiar with your content management system so that you can make simple changes and additions? Do you know the process for how more complicated changes can be made, such a ticket system or point of contact? Do you have a plan for often and why you want to update your blog or photo gallery?
Hopefully, this list gives you some motivation to circle the wagons and get your questions asked and answered and your plans on track to design a website that will help you to reach your business goals. We’d love to put the coffee on and talk more, so contact Patti today to set up a chat.