Let’s be honest, if your choice of website design firm was determine by who submitted the lowest bid, then you probably won’t get a best in class website that was built for maximum visibility.
How do we know this? We frequently receive calls from companies who are not happy with how their website design turned out. When we ask them how much time and money they invested, how they chose their website designer, and what they thought a best in class website costs, we are continually shocked by their answers.
Website Design Strategies
Before signing that website design contract I would suggest talking to them about the following website design strategies to ensure each will be included in your design project and your website will be built visible. If they don’t include all these strategies, you will need to adjust your expectation.
Build Strategy and Visibility Planning
The strategy and planning of your new website is probably the most important part of any website design project that will ensure maximum usability and visibility within the search engies. Without careful planning and strategy, projects can take much longer to complete than originally defined, or worse, miss the mark on providing the value your users are searching for.
There should be a build strategy and visibility plan for each part of the process, including, but not limited to:
- Messaging and Purpose
- Design Governance
- Image Useage
- Measurement and Reporting
- Information Architecture
- Content Strategy
- Search Engine Optimization
There are many that will say that studying what your competition is doing is not a good use of time. We partially agree with this, but believe that there are many insights that can be gained by better understanding your competitors tactics.
A few things we like to analyze when starting a redesign project include:
- Website Functionality
- Content Usage
- Publishing Frequency
Understanding the content flow expectation of your user is essential in meeting their needs and helping them find the information effectively and efficiently.
When determining the strategic approach for your navigation structure of your website, the ideal strategy would include both qualitative data from Analytics, as well as Quantitative date from usability studies.
We are frustrated that this is still not a priority for all new website designs – but understand that SEO is not always top of mind.
At minimum we would recommend doing the following to ensure your new website is built visible for the search engines.
- Keyword Research For Your Primary Pages
- Title Tag, Image, and Content Optimization
- On-page Content Hierarchy Optimization
- Internal Link and Navigation Optimization
Content and Messaging Strategy
Your content and messaging strategy is what drives growth and brand identity. If you skip this step, you are not prioritizing your brand or visibility, and thus missing opportunities to speak to your visitors in an effective way.
A few tips for creating messaging strategy include:
- Messages should be clear, crisp and easy to understand.
- Use bullet lists whenever possible to encourage brevity.
- Talk less about what you do and more about how it impacts others.
- Keep acronyms, slang and other hard to understand terminology out of your main messages.
Social Proof Strategy
Social proof is key for proving that what you say you do, you actually do, and do well. Without social proof points such as testimonials, you’re missing opportunities for building brand value and telling your story.
Whenever possible, include social proof within services and product pages where it’s contextually relevant and visible.
If you can’t understand how your users are getting to your website, and what they are doing once they get there, how will you ever build a visibility and marketing strategy to do more of what is working, and less of what is not?
We come across many websites that are an assault on the visual senses and thus makes it difficult to consume information – therefore not built visible.
If you’re building a website that you want to have maximum visibility and usability make sure you have a visual consistency and brand strategy for the following:
- Hierarchy of fonts sizes
- Well defined colors
- Well defined CTAs and buttons
- Properly chosen images for the brand
Conversion Rate Optimization
So you’ve created a great website and then burry opportunity for your website visitor to convert – or worse case you give them too many conversion points and they become confused.
Each page should have one primary CTA and one secondary CTA.
QA is one of the key elements in any digital marketing project. Ensuring your website functions properly, is search engine accessible, and is capturing analytics data, is a key component of having a successful redesign.