The perfect website. Every company wants one. But how do you make it a reality? How do you make a killer site that attracts your target market, showcases your company's value, generates leads, and help you close sales?
In this article, I’m not going to tell you what to do.
I’m going to tell you what not to do. Avoiding these 4 common web design blunders will help you maximize your web design investment.
Blunder #1) Building a website that doesn't engage your target market
This blunder is a tragic one. Often, small business owners are so enmeshed in their own business that it’s impossible for them to think from the perspective of their potential customers
As a result, they end up building a website that is focused around their business instead of around their customer. What do you think a visitor is interested in, your company, or how you are going to help them?
Determine who’s naturally attracted to your product or service. To do this, simply take a look at your existing customers. When you condense your cusotmers into general types, they’re called buyer personas. Use these personas as a tool to see your web design from each of your target market's view point.
Ask these questions to assess your site from the different persona’s point of view:
- Do I respect this site?
- Can I easily find the information I came for?
- Do I have all the information to make a buying decision?
- Do the pictures, videos, and articles speak to me, or are they about the company?
- Is anything offensive / untrustworthy?
- Do I want to share with other people?
In an attention-based economy, it’s vital that your site is a useful resource for your visitors. Plan your site to engage each of the buyer personas you discovered and you are off to a good start.
Blunder #2) Not including calls to action
I’ll break it to you gently: the calls to action on your website have nothing to do with someone clicking your "contact us" link. Knowing where to inspire action takes a little knowledge of how visitors approach your web design and digest your information.
Jakob Nielsen's classic study on how visitors view websites reveals that most visitors are going to scan your pages in a roughly “F-shaped” pattern.
Call to action buttons need to be prominently placed on any page that is geared toward a "next step".
HINT: This probably includes the majority of your website's pages.
Blunder #3) Outdated and stale content
Let's start with how this happens. Too many businesses view their website as a one and done project. After the website goes live, you must have a plan to continually add fresh and relevant content for your web visitors. Dismissing this is the same as saying your visitors (potential customers) aren't important.
Make sure that your website is built on a user friendly CMS (content management system). This will allow you to easily update your website on a consistent basis and keep your information current and relevant.
The addition of a blog on your site gives you an additional avenue to add more customer focused value added content. Use your blog to give customers the information they are looking for. Your visitors and search engines will reward you for your activity.
Blunder #4) Working with an unrealistic budget
It always comes down to money. Be sure not to hone in on cost as the driving factor.
The old saying "You get what you pay for" remains true for web design. The cost of a website is determined by the time and resources that go into it. Properly developing every element of a website takes time. Because many of the element are "behind the screens", shortcuts can be taken to shave off time and lower the cost.
Going for a "bargain" web site design is bound to hurt you in the end. Instead, find a web design company with a portfolio you admire and case studies that prove the value of their solution. In the end, be willing to pay what it takes to create a site that meets your target market’s needs and expectations.
If you’re strapped for cash, here’s a word to the wise:
Less is more. It’s better to have a simple, elegant and well planned website than to have an expansive mediocre site. If you go with a smaller site to start with, you can always expand it in the future.
The web design process can seem difficult to navigate. Arming yourself with knowledge will make the path to a successful website that much easier. Are you ever going to have a "perfect" site. No, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.