Online Prospects - Max ShubinDon’t make the same mistakes I did. This is a must-read if you are planning a new website for your Brisbane business.

Whether you are mainly an online goods or services provider or have a brick and mortar operation, it has become a crucial part of the business to have an online presence.  In this online-orientated world, it’s a vital means of being found. And judged.

When there was less competition, it used to be easy to get your website out there: there are plenty of super-cheap services and even free DIY templates out there; just click, insert your data, and off you go.  It still seems easy enough.

But the online marketplace has become sophisticated and much too competitive for this simplistic approach to be successful anymore.  There are far too many businesses vying for their share of your market. If you’re going to create a website for your business, it’s become imperative to invest time, effort and money into building it correctly.  Or not at all. Because wasting your time or money on shortcuts can really backfire.

What is at risk?

Your website is a pivotal marketing tool for your business.  A poorly designed website can actually be detrimental to your business: from being badly ranked by search engines (and therefore not found by users searching online), to being rejected by users because your site is hard to navigate, loads slowly, looks dated or its content is poorly written, gives inadequate information or is not convincing.  In short, a poorly designed website can ruin your business as customers click off and find competitors with better-presented, better-constructed websites, and spend their money with them.

So think carefully when making decisions about web design to help your site stand out from the crowd, drawing in and guiding potential customers towards making that most important step: buying your products or services.

When you release a business site out into the big wide world of the Web, it’s a powerful opportunity to actively advocate, entice and ultimately, sell.  It must be your online salesperson. And it must function well! It’s, therefore, worth planning and constructing it properly, layer by layer.

What is actually involved in great web design?

There are many more considerations relating to web design than you may have initially thought. When done correctly, a well-designed website can really skyrocket your business.  So let’s look at what it takes to make yours great.

When planning web design, you firstly need to take into account your business goals.  What function do you need your website to undertake? Do you want more clicks, more readers, more online product sales, or more leads for your services?  What experience would you like your customers to have? The answers to these questions determine the structure of your site.

And then, here are some of your main considerations about web design:

Make it look good – choose a great colour scheme which complements the overall look of the site and your business.  If you have a brand-new business, this is a great place to decide on the colours, logos and graphics.  It’s worth having this professionally designed, as it will extend throughout all your business branding in the years going forward.  If you have an existing business with existing logos and colour-schemes, these aspects can be incorporated into the site.

Use relevant images which are also engaging and look professional.  If possible, engage a photographer to take your photos, or at the least, use purchased stock photos which best represent your business image.  Ensure the images are of sufficiently high resolution so they don’t pixelate on the screen, and that the aspect ratio matches the allocated space on the website so there is no image distortion.

Make it look current – At first glance, the site should look attractive and also be an accurate representation of your business’s image. If your site looks dated, the impression your prospective customers have is that your products and services may not be up-to-date either.  Even if your offerings are the very latest and cutting edge (and you may write about this on your site), if the overall look is old, there is a mismatch to what you are trying to convey, and your messages won’t be as well supported.

Consider revising your logo with a tweak or two.  And don’t forget the favicon, which is the small icon that is used to represent your site across different devices such as mobiles and tablets, and which you see in the address bar of a browser.

Make it sound great – this part is all about writing great, engaging content.  It is essential to put your best foot forward, so don’t skim over this part.  Stay unambiguous: as far as your business is concerned, be clear and descriptive and write at least 500 words per page, including any keywords—otherwise known as keyword phrases. By going into some depth about your business offerings, you inform your clients upfront on your site and save time later on having to explain things in person or over the phone.

Avoid using jargon: this is easily done when you are an expert in your field and are accustomed to using these terms all the time.  Put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes, and assume they know very little about your field. Explain concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers.  One way of doing this is to imagine speaking to a good friend who knows nothing about your business. Be descriptive and helpful so that they not only grasp what you do but get intrigued.

If writing is not your strong point, get a native English writer who understands the Australian marketplace to do this for you.  Remember that typos, ambiguity and poor grammar will make you look bad even if you put a lot of effort into other areas of your website.  So don’t make it easy for potential customers to cull your business when browsing. Get them interested in how you could help them.

Make it easy to navigate – Good communication extends beyond content to the way in which your site is laid out, and the written pointers.  While you want to stand out from the crowd about your offerings, getting overly creative with your website layout and navigation can work to your disadvantage.  Why? Because by now, there are certain conventions on websites which people are accustomed to: take the familiar About Us section.  Or the Contact section.

You might be clever and innovative with your web navigation, but if there is any hesitation about where the web users need to go to find what they need, you may have lost them then and there.

What web users want is to get in and find exactly what they need as quickly as possible, even if they have never been on your website before.  It’s why you should stick with naming conventions according to what people know. Then, after they have navigated to where you need them to be, you can wow them about your offerings with helpful content.

As far as the layout is concerned, the easier it is for new users to find subsequent landing pages within your website, the better.  Have an easy-to-understand menu with clearly set out sections, such as a services page, or a page for a certain category of goods. Take a fresh look at the website (or ask a friend to do this) and evaluate how easy it is to navigate.  Then do what you can to make it yet easier.

Buttons are often an overlooked and undervalued aspect of design.  If there’s a button related to an action, make a song and dance about it: highlight it, enlarge it, colour it brightly and if need be, give it extra written instructions directly below.  Make the message on the button personal and enticing. Need your customers to call you? Ensure there is a big prominent telephone button which is clickable on all devices with call-through capabilities so users can call straight away.

Make it responsive – It’s not enough to have a great looking site for the desktop.  Mobile devices have long since overtaken the online browsing and shopping field, so it’s vital that your web design incorporates a responsive design.  There needs to be a seamless interface between desktop, tablet and mobile devices: that is, everything must fit correctly within the different screen sizes with no image distortion, and no need to scroll across the page to see the content.

As well as this, Google ranks websites with a responsive design above those that don’t have it, so it’s correct to say it’s now a must-have standard everywhere.

Make it secure – all websites are prone to hackers, especially old sites which have no security settings.  Once a website has been built and before it gets released on the Web, it’s essential that several security measures are put in place.  This includes such things as an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate to promote user safety, login protection and file permissions.

Make it trackable – To track how well your website is performing, you will need to link it to various tracking and analytical tools.  These are things such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel if you have accompanying social media. This way, you will see the comings and goings of users to your website, get statistics on the pages they read and for how long they visited.  These kinds of metrics help you determine what parts of the website work, and what parts may need improvement.

Make it search engine friendly – Ultimately, your website is doing your bidding for your business online, so you want it to do well among your competition.  A great deal can be said about making the website geared for search engine optimisation (SEO) and a good web design used at the outset definitely has a positive effect on future search engine rankings.

And once everything is applied, the site will need to be tested for fast, user-friendly loading speed.  Because who wants to wait around for a long time for each page to load?

why using CRM is so importantWhat else?

Before even launching your website, you will have to purchase a unique domain name for your website to have the rights to use it.  You would then link unique email addresses to the website and depending on how your website is used, the appropriate hosting will need to be applied.  The right hosting service will actively monitor your website and respond appropriately if there have been attempts at hacking it or other external issues affecting it.

What are some of the problems of working with inexperienced web designers?

At Online Prospects, we know the value of good web design because we have often had clients who tried creating it on the cheap themselves, or used rock-bottom-cheap ‘website builders’ who over-promised on their capabilities.

Here are some of the problems they encountered which we subsequently helped them to fix:

Problem 1: “[another provider] half-built the website and it just did not work properly.”

Problem 2: “The website looked fine, but our customers got tired of trying to access the site because it ran so slowly.”

Problem 3: “We got sick of wasting time as the [other providers] rectified ongoing problems that they couldn’t seem to find a permanent fix for.”

Does this sound familiar? Really, what are you expecting from a ‘cheap and nasty’ website but lost time and stress?

How can Online Prospects help you build a successful new website for your business in Brisbane?

If you want to get all the above elements of web design right to get your website off to the best start possible, Online Prospects are your web design experts.  Since 2010, we have been creating websites for Australian businesses which are engineered to attract customers. We are highly competent in our web design skills and are communicative, accountable and transparent.

We can use our unique and thorough approach to not only build your website but to help make it a success.  Good design starts with the strategy. We can guide you as we come up with the web design to best suit your needs, so you aren’t left guessing about what is needed.

Our unique seven-layer approach to quality web design incorporates all that is needed, and can be broken down as follows:

1 – Content: deliver the right messages in accordance with your goals.

2 – Responsive design: work together to create a visual design (for Desktop, Tablets & Smart Phones) ideally suited to your business, providing sample design mock-ups for you to approve.

3 – Conversions: subtle adjustments are made to encourage more customer calls and sales.

4 – Visitor tracking and analytics: know how your visitors are using your site and use this information to make improvements.

5 – SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): do everything from a web design and development perspective to help increase rankings with search engines.  This is all about being found and trusted online.

6 – Website and user security: secure both your website and the visitors who come to visit it.

7 – Emails: set up and test your new emails associated with your new domain.

It’s a way of looking at a website layer by layer, as checkpoints for high-standard, best-practice design. Click here (to full brochure on 7 layers of web design) to find out more about our proven, successful method.

Our proudly compiled portfolio of recent work for Australian businesses just like yours can be viewed here

Don’t know where to begin?

Let Online Prospects be your starting point for your brand new (or newly revised) website. Take advantage of our FREE initial consultation to get you on the right track.  We aim to give you a reliable, tailored website designed correctly to help you attract more customers than ever before. Call us from anywhere within Australia on (07) 3059 4032.  Let’s get started today!

 

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