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Digital & Technology

The Importance of Web Design

The single most important consideration when it comes to generating business online is getting into the head of your customer.

I'm going to let you into a secret, I've been working in web design and development for almost 20 years. During that time, I've worked on projects ranging from sole trader lifestyle businesses to global PLC's. I’ve worked for people of all levels of abilities and even a cartoon mouse.

 I've seen fashions come and go and tens of thousands of pounds spent on the latest technology just to make sure a website is "cutting edge". I’ve personally spent over £1 million (of other people’s money) on online marketing and do you know what? None of it matters.

 The single most important consideration when it comes to generating business online is getting into the head of your customer.

 It’s about psychology not technology.

 Imagine you are your potential customer, what are they looking for? And where will they search? If you can, go where your customer is, don’t expect them to come to you, for example if you sell books then open a store on Amazon, if you sell discounted goods then look at eBay, if you sell crafts then get yourself on Etsy.

 Let’s say you do need a website, for arguments sake you are a manufacturer of “Blue Widgets” and your potential client has just Googled “Blue Widgets”, what is the first thing they see?

Google Search

The meta description is not only something used in SEO, it’s your first sales pitch, how enticing is it? Could it be more persuasive and as a result get you more clicks?

 Assuming they do decide to click on your website how long does it take to load?  Internet users are incredibly impatient and are also easily distracted … oh look a squirrel! … beyond 2 seconds the abandonment rate increases exponentially, you could have the best-looking website in the world but, if it takes too long to load then nobody will ever see it.

 If I’ve stuck around long enough for your website to load, what’s the first thing that I see? Is it obvious that you make Blue Widgets? A common mistake people make is to go for style over substance, trendy stock images might look nice but if they don’t deliver the right message they are not helping you to gain customers.

 So, what should your visitor see? Well there is a fairly basic formula which helps to build a website that works. Your landing page should include the following:

Tell the visitor what you do

Make it obvious you are a Blue Widget Manufacturer, in words and in pictures, use a dual reading path where a selection of words in your content are highlighted in bold, so that if a lazy visitor only read the bold words they would still understand what you do.

 Have someone else confirm you are good at it

Use a testimonial that relates to the product or service, as a visitor I’m going to take it with a pinch of salt if you say you provide the best Blue Widgets in the world, however a testimonial from John Doe at Blue Widgets R Us saying yours are the finest Blue Widgets they have every used would go a long way.
If you can, display logos of your clients, particularly if they are recognisable to give added credibility.

 Make it easy for the visitor to take the next step.

If you use a call to action then your visitors are far more likely to do business with you, let’s say I’m browsing around looking for a new supplier of Blue Widgets, all things being equal the chances are I will contact the company that says “Contact us today for a free sample” or “click here for a free no obligation quotation” over one that just gives me information.

 Your website is your sales pitch no matter what your product is, and at some point, you have to try to close the sale and to do that it helps to get into your potential customers head and try to address their questions and their doubts.

 You can do this with a cheap home-made website, or with an expensive one developed by a trendy agency, either way your user’s experience has to be the priority over anything else.

BONUS TIPS

  1.  If you use a free email account like Gmail or Hotmail on your website then as a potential customer I’m going to run a mile, it just looks amateurish. If you have domain name and hosting for your website, then most will also provide email free of charge.
  2. Most people use mobile phones these days, however not displaying a landline number will impact your conversion rate, if you do not have a dedicated single line for work then a virtual number will do the job and can still ring through on your mobile.
  3. Displaying a physical address on your website will help give people confidence, if you don’t have an office and don’t want to use your home address then consider a mailbox at a virtual office.
Andy Powell

Andy Powell, Founder of Hack Oldham Co-working and Maker space.

Andy Powell works as a freelance internet consultant working with businesses of all sizes to make the most out of the web. Andy has 20 years’ experience in web development and internet marketing, and is the founder of Hack Oldham Co-working and Maker space.

"Web Design is vital for any business, it shapes your brand identity and who you are as a business. It's all about your audience and their experience with your site, if they have a positive interaction you're doing it right. If you feel you could improve your Web Design knowledge or any Digital Marketing skills, email me olivia.axon@growthco.uk and I can point you in the direction to one of our many Digital workshops or put you in contact with a digital expert for one-to-one advice."

Olivia Axon Digital Marketing and Events Apprentice at GC Business Growth Hub
I Want to Grow Using Digital and Technology

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