Why Invest in A Quality Website
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Business owners of all sizes look for ways to cut corners and save money. In today’s economy it’s a must! However, one area where cutting back might not be the best option is Website Design.
Here are several good reasons to spend a little more on your online presence.
These days it is very difficult to grow your brand, your company or your name without a solid website. People just expect it. And more importantly, they expect your site to look professional and current. A stale, amateurish website (or worse yet, no website at all) can do significant harm to your brand!
If you have something to sell and you’re not using the web to bring in business then you are missing out on a huge opportunity (that just gets bigger every year). A website designer will help you incorporate e-commerce into your site and help you generate revenue online.
If you want to use your site as a lead-generating machine, then you need to bring on a web designer who knows all the in’s and out’s of user interfaces and website structure. This is the kind of website designer who will skillfully build you something that leads potential customers to the sign-up areas, calls-to-action, products and more! To find different web designers, view our sub-category list.
A top-notch website solidifies your reputation in the marketplace. It says that you are a major player in your sector, and you are moving forward into the remainder of the 21st century with a total knowledge of the web and how important it is to business.
Find a great web designer who will help you achieve these goals. There may be a bit more money involved, but when you measure the returns, the difference between a professionally designed website and a do-it-yourself template is immeasurable.
Brand recognition and consistency – Website Spokane
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When we start working with clients we have to understand that the work we produce is not just about how good or bad a design is. It has a lot to do with the way the design fits into the wider spectrum of things.
Does this design fall in line with the overall theme of the company?
Does this design ‘say’ what the company is trying to say?
In some instances and with some clients, we don’t even have to make a ‘great’ design, however, we are expected to make something that would be well received by the company and their audience.
Being aware of this is being aware of the branding of a company.
A quick lesson on branding: Companies should be trying to brand their company (especially if they believe they have a unique service or product to offer). The benefits of branding are often long term, but include customer qualities like loyalty, memorability familiarity and at some point, our marketing expenses will significantly decrease because an audience is already familiar with the company. All that stuff sounds good, However, the catch is that the company is not in direct control of the brand. In a nutshell, branding is the perceived emotional image of a company as a whole and, in it’s simplest form, has nothing to do with things like logo’s and stationary as many designers will lead we to believe.
Branding is a fairly complicated subject because typically the company’s management and the designer are trying to figure out how to brand the company, or how to find a way in which the company will be unique and find a place in the customers mind; but it’s really not about what the management and the designer want, branding really relies on the perception of the audience. So the next question is, ‘How do we find out what our audience is thinking?’
The answer is pretty simple: by doing marketing research–in it’s simplest form, this could be a survey sent to past customers asking them their perception of the company. The main goal here is to understand our audience and what they think about our company. The next step is how to capitalize (or fix) that perception. That’s branding!
Every good company should be trying to create a brand and not just creating a company or a nice product. A nicely branded company has placement in our mind–when we think of innovation, perhaps we think of Apple Products. When we think of graphic design, we may automatically think of Adobe Products or Photo Shop directly. These are just examples of what good branding is and how they create an attachment with their audience.
When we create a business without really throwing attempts at branding it, our audience will kind of lose sight of it and most times think of it as a copycat business or nothing to really write home about. Worst of all, we may not have an audience at all! The best way to find out if our client is serious, is to ask them what they would like their brand to be perceived as. If they don’t have a decent answer (that makes sense: saying ‘We want to be the next Photo Shop’ doesn’t count), then they aren’t serious about their business and desire no long term success.
The ultimate goal of a company, is to win the hearts and minds of our consumers. Once we’ve done that, we have achieved what is called ‘brand recognition.’ This means our audience knows the company well enough to know what they may or may not say, and what they may or may not look like.
As a designer, we try to help with the recognized look of a company. For example, if we see a red bulls eye, we may automatically think of Target Stores. If we are a designer working with Target Stores, we better believe we aren’t designing something using predominately blue squares–that’s just not that brand. we want to create something that is consistent and adds to a company’s brand and if we are working with a company that does not have an established brand, we want to create something that works within the views of the company. For example, if I’m working with a brand new music studio start up that wants to focus on traditional country music, I’m not going to give them something that looks like it was made for a pop star.
Consistency is absolutely key if a company wants an audience to recognize them. Recognition also works in a way that creates placement in a persons thought patterns. This recognition and placement can work positively for one company and maybe even negatively for another. For example, some people think that Volvo’s are some of the safest cars or Chevrolet’s are gas guzzling machines–positive and negative effects. In another example, a car might try to brand itself as a super safe car, but an audience may feel it’s safety features aren’t better than a Volvo, so they just end up getting a Volvo.
Once our audience has clamped on to that recognition or that placement, if it’s positive, we want to do everything we can to continue with it. If it’s negative we want to do everything we can to change it. Recognition and placement for brands can end up pushing sales harder than any marketing or advertising plan.
Design is only a small portion of branding. Creating a super sweet logo and letterhead doesn’t mean a ton if the consumer doesn’t have a great perception of the company. However, good brand design can help build a solid foundation for a brand. If the brand is to be known for their scholastic wealth and achievements, we want to create something that gives off that feeling. If a brand has a product that is designed to make the consumer happy, don’t create or use anything that could do otherwise. Pick an idea or feeling and nail that down as best as possible.
Designers can also contribute to branding through creating work that is consistent with the views and perception of the clients company. Something all designers (and company’s, for that matter) must understand is good design equals good quality. When we really brand something in a consumers mind, it can really stand out for ever, for example color schemes and logos are really memorable and help create a good foundation or start of branding. we want to keep this in mind so that we make something that can be EASILY remembered, rather than easily forgotten. When we are working for a company that isn’t quite new and isn’t quite old, just try to create something that follows along with the design and perception that they already have going on. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel (of course unless asked) but we should think of more creative ways to get across the same message they have.
Most of the branding should come from the company — what do they stand for, what do they sell, who do they cater too — so hopefully for a good designer, branding should be a breeze, as far as logo’s and color schemes go. Designers can also contribute not just by the design but by the way in which the design and/or the company is presented. For example, if a company sells a product that needs packaging, what is the best kind of packaging for that product and how is it designed? Or even simply, should a company have a tri-fold brochure or just a simple sell sheet. Though minute, these things have a ton to do with how a company is perceived and remembered.
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The Simple Who, What, Where, and WHY?
Who You Are…your Business Information
What you can do for your customer…
Where You Are Located and how can I reach you….
Why should I choose you over Someone Else?
These are the questions your website should answer.
Working with you and your tastes we consider these factors and more.
1. Color – The color you choose for your website can have a big effect on your visitors. The type of site you have should be a factor in the colors you choose. There are essentially two types of colors – cool and warm.
Browns, blues and greens are cool colors and can make you feel relaxed, calm and assured. These colors are good for sites pertaining to medicine, relaxation and other sites that have reassuring answers to your problems.
Yellows, reds and oranges are warm colors that bring out feelings of energy, excitement and happiness. These colors work well for exercise sites, sports sites and other energetic type sites.
Purple is a good color for fashion and jewelry sites. It emulates sophistication, royalty, and luxury, but it is also feminine and romantic.
2. Clutter – How does it make you feel when you walk into a business that is messy and full of clutter. It doesn’t exactly bring out the confidence in said business. Your website is the same way. You don’t want it to look like a junk-filled mess! Keep it simple, clean, consistent and easy to follow. Don’t fill your site with flashing banners, junk ads or fancy hard to read font.
3. Header – The header you use for your homepage is very important. You have just a few seconds to “capture” your visitor and the header can be a vital factor in achieving that goal. Make your header professional, short and to the point. You want the header to get the visitor to want to know more about you and your products/services. The header should outline in a few words what the benefits of your site are in a way that will make the visitor stay longer. Color is also a consideration.
4. Ease of Navigation – Another critical point to consider is how easy it is for people to navigate your site. Does your site feel like a maze with doubts on how to get from here to there? Visit your site as a customer and take note on how easy it is to navigate and how well laid out and simple the page is. Is your menu easy to find and follow? Is the font easy to see and read? Does one part of the page flow into another? Are your links prominent and easy to find? Look over every aspect of navigation with an extremely critical eye because people will not stay on a site that makes them feel lost and confused.
5. Use Testimonials – Testimonials are invaluable to your site because they reassure the visitor by increasing your credibility thus allowing them to trust you and your products more easily. Sprinkle a few short testimonials on your landing page where appropriate and have a section saved just for some of your best testimonials. Use detailed testimonials as opposed to more generic ones. For example: “I love your product and will purchase more” is not as good as “Your product helped me lose 20 lbs in just 6 weeks!”
6. Contact Information – Nothing makes me leave a site faster than when no contact information or email address is found. This, to me, says the person does not want to be bothered with customers, questions or anything else. I wouldn’t ever do business with a website that does not provide complete and accurate contact info. More than likely, not many people would so it is extremely important to have your contact info prominently displayed on your homepage and every other page of your website.
7. Capture Visitors’ Email Addresses – Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “the money is in the list.” In a big way, this is true. Capturing your visitors’ emails allows you to keep in contact with them so you can build that ever important relationship that will turn them into customers. Most people will not purchase anything on a first trip to a website so by capturing their emails you can astronomically boost the chances of converting that person into a customer. You can put a subscription form on every page of your site and be sure to have one on your landing page. Building a mailing list will help you market your sales, specials, etc. and will also help you build a solid customer base.
8. Call to Action – A Call to Action is a specific thing you “order” your visitors to do. This can be done with a text link or graphic. For example: Clíck here for a free marketing ecourse. You are giving the visitor very clear and concise instructions on what to do. Sometimes your visitors need a little push to complete the call to action so you would use something like this:
Limited Supply Clíck Here Now, or Sign Up Today for a Free Consultation.
Provide incentives to help your visitor make the decision to complete your call to action. Have just one clear call to action. Do not give you visitors too many choices because it will just result in confusion and indecisiveness.
9. Always Proofread – Always proofread and proofread again to be sure you catch all typos, grammatical errors and so forth. Make sure all your links work and everything on your landing page is in working order and correctly done.
10. Analytics – Be sure to take advantage of your site stats and analytics. This information can be critical to making your page a success. Google Analytics is free and provides a great service for anyone who has a website. You want to see how many people are going from your landing or homepage to other pages of your site. And if they are not, try to find out why, so you can improve your homepage. Monitor your bounce rate, conversion rate and other valued information.
You just cannot throw up a website and expect to boost your revenue. You have to nurture, maintain and care for your site and always be improving it. Keep abreast of the latest trends, info and data and always be learning how to make it better. Your landing and/or homepage is critical because it often decides the fate of your site so be sure to make it the most efficient and effective webpage possible.