Over the coming weeks and months we will be talking more about the design of a website rather than the SEO or marketing of that site. This is mainly because this is where the problems begin. People start by making mistakes with their website and then they try to resolve these mistakes with the SEO and digital marketing of this website. Problem is, the mistakes end up costing the business a hell of a lot of money in the long run, and the issues are so simple to resolve.
Instead it’s time to resolve some myths about website design and why you should be building for the search engines at the same time as you are building for users and user experience. This is something we personally do, but very few designers do. As a result the site looks really nice, but functions terribly and from a UX and search engine point of view its just a nightmare. As a result you lose customers and clients, the cardinal sin of online marketing as a whole. This is also more common in old school website designers.
If we think back to 2005, site’s all looked pretty much the same, 95% of people looked on desktops or laptops first (mobile was just starting out with I.M.) and generally it was easier to build an OK looking website. So people started to copy everyone. You could get an agency creating a website for £10,000 that would look very similar to a site that cost £500 by a web design consultant. But things ticked along. Fast forward a decade and a bit and you have every Tom, Dick and Harry building website for £100 and agencies charging £20,000+ for what LOOKS like the same thing, I still get the tons of emails offering design and seo for £100, as most likely do you…. But anyway that’s a rant for another day.
Today we are going to talk about what I believe to be the number 1 issues with older website designers. They are just creating for the sake of creating. For example if you have a website, you want it to look good…. But from WHOSE PERSPECTIVE.
This is the question you have to ask yourself before you even write the first bit of code or install wordpress.
Don’t build your website for yourself. Build it for your customers.
This is the number 1 designer issue.
“The client is always right!” – That’s a phrase I know designers hate, as do I, but the point becomes even LESS valid when you think about tiny tweaks and changes to a site. When you ask a designer (or if you are a designer who has been asked by a client) you need to ask the key question: Will this generate your business more customers. Guess what? Slight colour changes and font sizes don’t do this. Providing extreme value does.
As most people know we are big advocates of the educated sell, you can see everything we do for clients right here, that’s because we have nothing to hide. When you are a designer or if you are a client in conversations with designers then ensure the designer is giving you the relevant advice but also give them space to do what they are meant to be doing.
A close #2 in the top designer mistakes of all time category is going to be building the sites as if it were a poster for your business. I’m not sure where this idea came from but it’s one that I think needs to be removed from the world of digital marketing and design in general. Your website should not look like a frecking leaflet. If you want that then guess what, get a leaflet designer! Instead you want to build your site as if it were a proposal. A proposal to a prospect or a lead that you want to close. Any potential customers can click around and should be seeing awesome amounts of value all over the site. If they can’t see this then I think you need to add more content and value on the website.
SEO Aligned with Design.
If you “try to do SEO after” then you are going to run into so many problems. One of the most common issues we see is websites that are designed from the point of view of 1.) The client and 2.) To look pretty.
Stop designing sites to look pretty.
Do you want someone to visit your site and say “this looks pretty?” and then click off the site and never come back again.
Or would you rather someone click on the site and say “this looks like a good business to work with.” It’s an obvious question of course but that’s what you should think of first in the design aspect. Think of this from the point of a GOOD BUSINESS. Provide insane amounts of value THROUGH smart design and you will be on a very powerful and profitable journey to generating more clients.
Don’t listen to what the client wants. They rarely know what they need and if they start with words like “we think this would look good” and “I like the look of” then stop them right there and ask them if they want a profitable business or an ego website (You want might to use different phrasing, client relations and all that.) If they start with “we have tested” or “during our market research we found” then listen VERY closely to what they are about to say. They are either incredibly good at lying or have done something that 99% of potential start-ups do not do and that’s proper market research.
And build the site with SEO in mind, don’t try to implement it after.