I know, right? Big shocker of a statement coming from a website and blog designer, but, here it is: Your website design matters.
Having created dozens of new designs for clients and keeping industry peers in my inner circle, I’ve come across a lot of different approaches to website design. And I love it! No two websites are ever alike and getting to know creative people – both as clients and fellow designers – is always inspiring. Unless it isn’t. While some people definitely “get it”, others have yet to figure out that what you put into your website, you get out of it. Especially with the prevalence of social media marketing these days. As I’ve said before, social media marketing isn’t traditional marketing – it’s more consistent and interactive. The same goes for your website. Like it or not, the internet is evolving and if you want to keep up with the competition, you need a well designed, visually attractive and thoughtful website design.
Social isn’t the be all and end all of the website matters dynamic though. There are multiple reasons for why you should want to take it seriously. Taking short-cuts when it comes to your blog or website design will only lead to issues, either today or tomorrow. The reason? Here’s 3:
1. Cost. Now before you close your laptop or click the home button on you mobile device, hang on. I’m not going to say you need to break the national GDP to get a good blog or website design. But I will say this… When it comes to the cost of your online presence, cheaper is not better. I’m talking financially, emotionally and ultimately any other way possible. Those of us who know what we’re doing when it comes to website design have trained hard – and continue to do so on a constant basis, put in the hours to gain valuable expertise and generally take pride in what we do; this means going above and beyond for my clients. When someone says “I really value your time and energy” but then tries to under-bid me to the point that I’m making less than minimum wage, I can only say one thing: Actions speak louder than words. I don’t know when we all decided that everything on the internet should be free en mass – but it’s time we recognize the true VALUE of work and expertise. If it was so simple to do, you’d do it yourself. Right?
Essentially, if you opt for the lowest bidder, you may pay less up front for your website, but the client service, communication and final end product will be sub-par. Period. And then how much will you end up having to spend in the long run to get what you wanted when the $50 design fails to deliver?
Truth: Having any website for the sake of a website is as bad – if not worse – than not having one at all. Pay for something worth having. Your pocket-book, not to mention your mind, will thank you for it.
2. SEO & Functionality. People don’t browse the internet like they used to; Search engine optimization and mobile responsiveness is important. If you want to be found via Google, Yahoo or Bing, or you simply want to be found period, you need to make sure your site is equipped with the right tools for the job. SEO is an evolving process that takes consistent effort on your part and the right designer can integrate that for you to make the process as painless as possible. However, the wrong designer can lead you into all kinds of black hat (aka BAD) SEO practices which could get you blacklisted from search engines. Ouch, right?
Making sure your audience can view your site on the go (as much as possible) and that search engines can find you is key – if they can’t, you’re in trouble. Again, part of this comes down to the value of a good design but another element can be boiled down to old fashioned and dated techniques. Pay attention to the language your designer, developer or consultant uses: If they’re all about ranking quickly, linking out of context and meta-keywords, buyer beware. But if they speak more about your goals, the social, quality content, quality links, researched keywords and engagement, you’re on the right track.
3. Relevancy: Trends Vs. Classics. The final reason your website design matters has to do with a combination of the two above mentioned points. When it comes to the face and landing space of your brand, you want it to be hip, current and professional yet at the same time, have a classic look that never goes out of style. If you’re a chick (or dress in “ladies” clothing), you know the importance of the little black dress? The same principal applies to your website; You want it to be slick enough that it functions and looks great no matter the occasion, yet dynamic enough to evolve as the days, months and years pass. Something uber trendy will fall out of fashion – and popularity – quickly.
This goes for layouts as well as fonts, colours, graphics, logos and everything in between. This is why I do ALL my website design on blog platforms – mainly, WordPress.org. It allows for flexibility in design yet is so functional from both the front end and back end, my clients and their audiences have the opportunity to grow, diversify and look good while doing it! Being educated on these elements, continually learning to stay ahead of the curve and taking my client’s interests and goals to heart is how I do website design. And it’s what you should be looking for when thinking about yours.
Ultimately, your website design is your store front. It’s what people see first. What kind of impression do you want to leave upon people (or search engines, for that matter?). Are you professional and approachable or are you messy, disorganized and – god forbid – spammy? You want people to take your business, blog or brand seriously and invest in you? You have to invest in yourself first and show them you’re a professional. You have to show them, it matters.
What are your thoughts on website design? Good experiences? Bad? I’d love to hear how you approach your design or your experiences working with designers, developers and online coaches! What have been the best things about them? What could make them better? Leave a comment below and I promise to respond personally!