Friday, October 8, 2010

Web Design Checklist

by Kel Webber

How cool is your website? Is it one of a kind or just like a million others?

Guess what? Apart from ego issues, none of that stuff really matters. You need to ask instead whether or not your website advances the bottom line of your business.

Certainly, some business websites need a certain aesthetic due to the nature of their business. And artist's site better look good! And, if you are marketing innovation in some field, then a little innovation on your site might support the sales process. Some sites better look great and be innovative. But don't lose site of the bottom line.

Now, whether your business leans towards the arts or towards hard industry, whether it is text or graphic intensive, there are a few qualities that should be present and supported by your design.

Begin with Clarity. Is the message of your site, each page of your site, crystal clear? If someone wants to contact you, is it easy to find your contact info? If you're selling online, does the design make it very easy for visitors to go through the purchase process? And, is it very obvious how to navigate through the site?

The second trait is a very common oversight on small business websites, but full time web marketers know its importance. And that is the presence of an email opt in form to gather contact info from potential clients. This is very important and can dramatically boost business revenues by giving you the change to market to those visitors again and again via email.

The reason this is so important is because a very low percentage of first time web visitors buy anything. And if they don't buy they often don't come back. But if you can entice them to offer their contact info in exchange for something of value- a discount coupon or some relevant information- then you can build a relationship with them and market to them over and over again.

The reason that the most lucrative websites in the world, with conversion rates dramatically higher than typical business websites, is because they all work hard to "bribe" visitors into giving their contact info, and then follow up with them rigorously for future sales.

Traffic Analytics. With Google Analytics being offered as a free service, no one has any excuse for not having analytics installed on their website. And benefits of analytics are massive.

Analytics shows you the source of your traffic, the length of time they stay on your website, and their behaviour on your site. Reviewing this data will give you guidance on how to make your site better.' Google Adwords also integrates with the conversion tracking feature of their analytics so businesses can see which keyword searches give the best ROI and also get ideas from this data on how to best optimize their websites.

The final web design issue we want to address is the tendency of businesses to provide excessive amounts of irrelevant information about themselves that does nothing to acquire a customer. These businesses and their websites need to develop a "customer fixation."

A true customer fixation means that you constantly gather data, perhaps even through surveys, to discover what your customers really want. Then you explain how your product or service gives it to them. Maybe you even develop new products or services that meet their cravings even better.

It should be readily apparent to you that these principles are somewhat distinct from web design. Apart from clarity- which can be a greatly helped or hindered by design- these factors lean more toward the content side of the site. But, the web design must support these principles, and in fact be subservient to them. Web design needs to support web marketing. That is its primary purpose on a business website.

About the Author

Kelowna Web Design