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Design your website: Where to Start

All marketing roads lead to your website.  It’s your 24-hour marketing tool which attracts and converts customers.  It can collect leads, information, and that wish-you-knew data. All your initiatives such as social media platforms, adword campaigns, blogs, backlinks, referral sites, and inbound marketing point to your URL.  It’s a solution for your employees and your customers. Therefore, it’s one of your most important marketing investments–and it better reflect your brand.

Your website must be designed smartly.  It should achieve clearly defined marketing objectives such as sales conversions or email collection.  It should collect data.  A great website designer implements these four factors in every website: Design, Function, SEO, and Objectives.

So how should designing a great website start?

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

It starts by determining all your audiences.  Who will be using your site?  Examples include Employees looking for schedules, Users (customers) looking for your contact information, Investors seeking information,  Candidates seeking employment, Media looking for a quote source, etc.

If you are a company with employees, start a focus group with your team leads.  What audiences use the website?  Ask your receptionist…when people call the front desk…what questions do they ask?  Make sure all answers are provided on your website–unless your goal is to get a user to call for for additional information.

DESIGN FOR YOUR INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL AUDIENCES

You’ll be designing for all your audiences…especially your external customers.  What do those audiences expect to find on your website?  Hours of operation? Pricing? Biographies of your staff?  A product catalog?  Determine what your external audience needs and create a site which provides the information.

You also have an internal audience–this is the person or team who will maintain your site.  If you’re handling the updates in-house, make sure the platform you use isn’t too complicated for the person managing your site.  (WordPress is a highly manageable platform with a variety of add-ons to make functionality easy.)

DESIGN FOR THE DEVICE

If your website is not mobile-responsive…or adaptable to a cell phone…it won’t show up on Google.  Most websites today are designed to convert to a phone screen.  If yours isn’t, find a company that can create a mobile-responsive site for you.

DESIGN FOR SEO

SEO is another fancy name for inbound marketing.  When a user searches for your site or any website which has what they need…chances are they will use the Google search bar.  Your website has to have the right keywords and backlinks to attract the Google bots.

Designing for “search” is paramount.  You can have the best website, but if no one can find it, it’s not working.

IS IT GRAPHICALLY PLEASING?

Of course, your site needs to look good.  It should reflect the “look and feel” of all your branding. There are many templates out there that can give your site a professional image.  If you have a complex site, with a check-out, or large inventory to manage, internal forms, etc.  It’s best to hire a professional web developer.  Keep in mind, not all web developers are designers.

Today, people search for brands and businesses online.  An effective website can outrank your competitor.  It’s important to have your site attract new business and provide the information users are searching. A great website keeps four factors in mind when building it: Design, Function, SEO, and Objectives.