If you’re here, chances are you know that web design is far more than merely creating an attractive website for your brand. Whatever level of management you’re at, you most likely understand the importance of a strong online presence. But if your experience with digital marketing is limited, it can be hard to grasp how web design and development fits in with all of the other marketing puzzle pieces.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at 7 crucial web design considerations that we feel are helpful to C-Suite executives, middle management, as well as other team leaders and professionals whose specific area of expertise may not have anything to do with design or marketing.
Your Website is Your “First Impression Generator”
Whichever industry you’re in, your website works for you around the clock, creating valuable first impressions and encouraging engagement from prospects. And much like a good meal, the first bite is with the eye.
Appearances are essential online. Those who visit your website may be relative strangers to your brand, so it’s imperative that you put your best foot forward and don’t disappoint them. Your online appearances are often the only thing that your customer has to go by when deciding whether to place an enquiry or not. Appearances are also important for those who are already aware of your brand – be they prospects, existing customers, or simply return site visitors. By keeping your branding consistent, clear, and professional, you further cement that brand awareness in their minds.
Even companies who have very manual, offline routes to market will most likely benefit from having an attractive, well-branded website. It’s truly the beating heart of your online brand presence.
Modern websites do much more than merely tell visitors who you are and what you do. A good website wordlessly conveys a brand’s whole ethos, setting the tone, mood, and pace of potential future work together. A website brings your brand to life online – it’s a globally available marketing asset that operates in the background, 24/7.
Good Web Design Starts With Tough Questions
When you think of web design, you usually think of a designer getting creative in front of their iMac, creating visual assets, tweaking fonts, or experimenting with colour schemes. But web design that provides the best user experience (UX) often starts well before that stage.
The best design (and the best marketing as a whole) always starts with fundamentally understanding your target audience, your customer base, and the kinds of people who are likely to visit your site. This goes much further than mere socio-economic demographics.
If you’re embarking on a fresh website project, then what have previous web projects taught you about customer preference? Which of your marketing assets and campaigns worked well in the past and which ones didn’t? Which economic factors are people considering before they work with you? Have any factors occured since that data was collected that may change people’s willingness to spend? Which pages do your visitors spend the most time with? How many people leave your site without taking action? Why do you think that is?
Finding solid answers to these questions can be difficult, especially if you’re embarking on a totally new project with little to no market data to work from. Starting off strong with thorough market and competitor research should help you to answer these probing questions.
Once you have a good mental picture of your target audiences along with their drives and preferences, it’s time to work out what the website should – and realistically can – achieve. Setting meaningful SMART goals needs to take place before the website is developed, not after. This way, your designers can optimise the site towards desired client actions straight out of the gate. Speaking of which…
The Right Design Decisions Can Make You Money
Though web design is centred around creating engaging online assets, designers need to consider a number of very human elements when doing so. These include marketing psychology, site usability, site reliability, user experience, and more. All of these considerations need to be combined, filtered through your brand’s core visuals and ethos, and mixed with compelling benefit-driven copy. A seamless comingling of form, functionality, and appeal.
Even the smallest of changes can have a massive impact on your bottom line. A well-known HubSpot experiment showed that even the colour of a call-to-action button can make people behave very differently – out of two otherwise identical pages, the version with red call-to-action buttons generated 21% more click throughs than the version with green call-to-action buttons.
Subtle design choices like these can make all the difference to your balance sheet – web and UX (user experience) designers know these psychological cues and can wield them to great effect. Even the most understated design choices can be instrumental in getting the results you need.
Not All Sites are Created Equal
Sourcing a website isn’t as simple as simply choosing something “off the shelf”. Neither is it a case of choosing a brand new, shiny tool or design style over more established ways of doing things. A number of organisations and individuals flock to ready-made solutions, and they receive an end result that can look rather samey, homogenised, and templated. Trending design fads and new content management systems may look good on the surface, but they don’t have the tried and tested staying power of more established options.
Though websites need to look visually impressive, usability and longevity are essential considerations too. When we’re building a new website here at OLCO Design, we tend to favour WordPress, a versatile and well-supported content management system. WordPress is well-known, regularly updated, and remarkably easy to use. Its users can also access numerous plugins (effectively add ons) that expand their site’s functionality – including search engine optimisation (SEO), site speed optimisation, support online lead generation, AI-powered chat functions, and much more.
Web Design is Never a Case of “Set it and Forget It”
Once a web development project is over, the site’s live, and everything is working as it’s supposed to, you may think it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. But if you want to give your website the best chance of success, your work is far from over.
Good website upkeep is an ongoing, iterative, cyclical process, taking an ongoing path of testing, analysis, and tweaking:
- Testing – Once your website goes live (or your latest iteration of tweaks goes live) your marketers should watch over your website’s analytics to see the effect it has had on a number of different metrics. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable here. With the right tools, your own website can be a great source of user data.
- Analysis – After an appropriate amount of time has passed and a significant amount of usage data has accrued, your marketing team should analyse this data to see how people are using the site. In doing so, they may unearth new opportunities or better ways of presenting information that will keep you on track for meeting your goals.
- Tweaking – Taking the lessons from your testing and analytical phases, your designers should now get to work making changes in line with what the analytics is telling you. Once these changes go live, the cycle begins again.
It may seem a lot of consistent effort, but taking the time to regularly assess, adapt, and improve your site gives you the best chance of producing enviable, practical results. Because it’s an ongoing process, it’s crucial to locate a web design and development partner who will support you in the long term, far beyond the site’s initial launch.
Additionally, your website may require ad-hoc changes from time to time. If something stops working properly, unforeseen circumstances arise, and new industry developments occur, the website will need to be changed to accommodate – and quickly. This is another reason to find a reliable web partner who can accommodate these changes in a timely and hassle-free manner.
If this sounds like something you need – just reach out to the team at OLCO Design!
Your Website Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum
A company’s website is generally considered to be its central online hub. But at OLCO Design, we recognise that a website is just one pivotal link in a 5-part chain that supports a business’s whole online presence.
- A Well-Defined Brand – Any company needs a clearly defined visual and linguistic brand. This represents your brand’s core identifying assets, like logos, straplines, colour schemes, product names, packaging, tone of voice, etc.
- An Excellent Website – Our topic of the day! Creating a good website is a balancing act between portraying your brand’s ethos, meeting client needs, and guiding interested prospects towards a sale.
- Search Engine Optimisation – Once your website is up and running, it needs to be optimised in order to give it the best chance of being found on search engines like Google. SEO is a massive, ever-changing topic as search algorithms are constantly in flux.
- Social Media – Though social media may not work for – or indeed be suitable for – all organisations, we feel that most should at least look into it. Twitter and Facebook are great places to start for B2C companies, whereas Twitter and LinkedIn may be more worthwhile to B2Bs. Other platforms like Instagram can work nicely on both sides of the divide!
- Content Marketing – Using digestible, editorial content like blog posts, videos, infographics, and so on helps many companies drive brand awareness and website visits. Content marketing also overlaps nicely with social media and SEO practices.
Side Note: An optional 6th link in the chain is online reviews through platforms like TrustPilot and Google My Business. This may not be suitable for all companies, but well worth looking into at least. Testimonials from happy clients are evidence that you can follow through on your brand promise.
Good Communication is Needed From All Parties
It’s cheesy but it’s true – “teamwork makes the dream work”. Maintaining open and honest channels of communication up, down, and across the chain of command is absolutely essential. And don’t forget to include external parties too – if you work with external marketing agencies, SEOs, and (of course) web designers, endeavour to keep them in the loop as much as possible.
So if you’re an executive looking to pair with an experienced and personable web design agency, give OLCO Design a call! Our expert team come from a variety of marketing backgrounds, each with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Want to learn more? Call us on 0330 223 1193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free, no-obligation consultation.