Websites. More often than not they’re the first thing consumers see when they search for a brand. Of course we know they are not the only online channels where someone can find a company — Facebook and Twitter are both somewhat viable sources. However, for now at least, the company website is still king when it comes to making that all important first impression.
I liken a company website to the cocktail dress — they’re the hook that can potentially grab the attention of a passerby and possibly spark a relationship. Still, the frustrating thing about websites, and cocktail dresses for that matter, is that they both can be very misleading. Any woman will tell you that there is deception that goes into getting glamorous and fitting into “that” dress for a big night. And while I hate the notion of comparing women to websites, the concept is really no different. Nothing kills attraction faster than a conversation with a girl/guy who has nothing going for them in the IQ department. If you don’t believe me, go to You Tube and watch some beauty pageant blunders.
All of this applies to companies as well. As businesses we craft our sites, many times deceivingly, to give off the right impression. So with all this deception going on, how are we to separate the contenders from the pretenders? How do we get our sites to not only look good, but to actually function and give us the best chance at getting more conversions? Well much like finding the perfect cocktail dress, it’s going to take some time and effort. Unless, of course, you’re the most interesting man in the world, who could probably create his own world-class website from left over pieces of that aforementioned cocktail dress.
But since most of us don’t fall into that category, here’s a short list of things we think companies can do to ensure they get the best website for whatever amount of money they have. May I add that we just happened to be named the #1 Web Design Firm two years running by the Phoenix Business Journal? Just saying.
- Forget about it being free, if you’re doing REAL substantial business, you’re going to have to pay something.
- Functionality is a must and while looks can be deceiving, they are nice to have, and many times, necessary. You really can’t sacrifice one for the other in the attention-span-deprived age we live in today. People will make assumptions about your business based on the appearance of your site.
- Think long-term not short-term. What do you want your site to mean for your business over time? Sometimes you’ll have to wait a little longer until you’re company is ready to make the investment.
- If at all possible, go with custom design. All websites are not created equal — your business has specific needs and your site should too. Tailor your site to help enhance your business.
- Custom, original design doesn’t necessarily have to mean “outside the box” or more expensive. It means it’s tailored to fit your businesses needs.
- If you do decide to go with a template, then try to get as much customization as you possibly can. WordPress is great at allowing people to do this.
- Try to design your site to be SEO-friendly. Keyword and keyword placement, load times, images, and social elements all play a part.
In the end, the benchmarks will always be the same. Does your site work from a usability perspective, from an aesthetics perspective, and from a conversion perspective? If so, you’re well on your way to having a site that can, and will, enhance your business.