Website design is an important aspect of how consumers view your brand. In today’s modern age, the first impression of your company will most likely be your company’s website. A potential customer landing on your website is like that same customer walking into a showroom with nobody to help them. No salesperson, no receptionist, nobody. It’s the job of your professional web designer to make sure this visitor can efficiently and purposefully navigate this virtual showroom.
It’s important that you have a well designed and user friendly website so the consumer has a good initial experience with your company. This will instill a positive impression and help to form a view and opinion that your company is both professional and presents itself well. Looking at big brands in your category that have spent considerable time and money designing their Web properties may serve as inspiration, and showcase design trends that are in style. By taking cues from your personal preferences, leading brands, and your designer’s expertise, a world class website can be built for your company, no matter its size.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE CRITICAL
From a first date to a job interview, when it comes to a first impression everything is relevant. You want to look as you want to be perceived. First impressions of your company, by way of your website, can translate directly into more or fewer new leads or sales. A professional design is your best chance for a good first impression.
Consumers no longer shop simply for products and services. They have come to value relationships with the companies with whom they choose to do business. As with any relationship, there are many intangible elements that form its foundation. It is absolutely critical that any successful business address as many of these intangibles as possible. A strong, professional brand identity and an enjoyable initial experience gives your new relationship its best possible start.
WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, & HOW
- By offering an overview of a company’s history, its mission, and its principle staff members, the “who” forms a story that a consumer can follow and form a positive first opinion. Your site should also clearly explain “who” should choose to do business with you. Are you selling to outdoors enthusiasts? Piano movers? Homeowners? Teenagers? Whoever your target market might be, your site should speak their language. It is important for you to work with your website designer to create copy that relates to your customers.
- A clear listing of all products, services, and any other offerings that you provide make up the “what” of your business. Each service or product should be explained simply, but with enough detail to answer most basic questions that a potential customer might have. If necessary, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) area can be created to dive deeper into common topics that need a more detailed explanation. Photos of products, and action photos of services are important to give a visual presentation to each viewer.
- Every business has competition. The “why” of your website should highlight what differentiates your company from your competition. Remember, customers these days are looking to form a relationship with each company they work with. Give potential customers as many reasons as possible to choose your company over your competition. Show examples of your work, offer discounts to first-time customers if that is appropriate, offer free consultations, proudly display customer testimonials and 5-Star reviews. This is your time to shine.
- If you do not offer your products or services around the globe, your website should clearly define “where” you do business. If you have one or several physical locations, your site should clearly offer a way to obtain addresses, phone numbers, driving directions, and any other important information that a potential customer might need. If you ship products through eCommerce, do you ship internationally? Do you have specific regions or countries that have guidelines for shipping? That should all be very clear. If you offer your services at a customer’s home or place of business, what is your service area? Will you travel further for larger jobs? Do you belong to any regional business groups, chambers of commerce, or other location specific organizations? It is just as important to weed out prospects that are not potential customers as it is to attract ones who are, because time and money spent on prospects who you can not serve is wasted for both the prospect and for you.
- Your website MUST convert qualified visitors into new customers. Each visitor should be led to perform a desired task. This call to action is “how” they will take the next step towards doing business with you. Whether it is calling to setup an appointment, requesting a quote, purchasing a product, or asking for more information, your site must make it easy and natural for a new customer to take the next step.
BOTH ART AND SCIENCE
Imagine a freshly renovated home with an upgraded kitchen. It has new hardwood floors, high end stainless steel appliances, brand new cabinets, trim, paint, etc. This is the user interface (UI). Everything is perfect except for one problem; the ceiling is too low. This makes it uncomfortable for anyone to enjoy all of these upgrades. This is the user experience (UX). User Interface represents the look and feel of the house itself, which is high quality. However, a person living there would have a negative User Experience, due to the difficulty of walking around in it. Now take this visualization and move back to the idea of website design, as it’s the same concept. The User Interface (UI) is the series of pages, images, buttons, and visual elements. User Experience (UX) is the experience that a person has as they interact with each part of the website. A perfect combination of UI and UX is absolutely necessary to build a successful website.
Good use of UI and UX incorporates elements such as high quality photos, videos, animation, and clear, concise content. The design must clearly express the mission of the company in a way that resonates with first time viewers, and offer a fast, logical, and organized interface in which to operate. An understanding of what needs to go into this process can sometimes be hard to grasp without a lot of initial research. A professional web design firm can work with you to get this job done.
Building your brand identity through web design is not an easy task. There are many factors that come into play such as color schemes, navigation menus, content, layout, copy writing, high quality photography, and much more. This all must be done while maintaining a consistent identity and desired result for your brand. Your web developer can help to form a strategic plan to bring this all together.
Cultivating the perfect first impression can be a rigorous process, but the end result is worth the pain.