Building a solid Web Presence and growing your bottom line involves a Strategic and a Goal Driven Design Strategy. It requires a company that develops a cohesive plan and has a solid background in their field. We are not self taught "youtube learners" or your parents friends son. We are Website Management Strategies, a company built with the tools to help your business succeed. We have a unique approach which allows us to offer our clientele with both online and offline solutions that work. Although it may appear complex, be assured, there's a method to our madness. To keep it short, instead of focusing on what we do and how we do it, Website Management Strategies process focuses on overcoming the pitfalls of poorly designed concepts and helping our clients avoid the "Top 10 Web Design Mistakes That Small Businesses Make".
Most of the time our clients want their websites finished as soon as possible. Hey we live in a instant gratification society. we get it! But, instead of focusing on getting your website done as soon as possible, focus on researching and understanding your target audience and your competition. This critical step in the process should not be avoided. Believe it or not, most of the time, who you think your competition is - is really not! We can't stress enough the importance of market and competitive research. The entire foundation of your website and the content to follow will be designed around it. Most Website Designers & Developers avoid this critical step, don't know what to do with the data or even what it means. Fortunately, we do! We can help you avoid costly mistakes by seeing what your competitors have done, what worked, what didn't and design a solid strategy based on the statistics of consumer behavior. Market and Competition Analytics are the "fuel" to producing a conversion driven website. Taking the time to effectively learn your market, its competition and the behavior of your target end-user is the best first step in the web design process.
As CMS (Content Management Systems) become the go-to vessel for websites for small businesses these days, pre-made website "templates" are in abundance. These templates are generally do-it-yourself design templates that are not constructed to for the purposes of business lead generation. They are very popular in Wordpress and lack the design methodology of conversion rate optimization. Although they may appear to look good visually, they are often free or have a very low cost. Beware, almost all these templates have backend or hidden coding that can negatively affect your entire web presence. Many of the "plugins" that are needed for functionality are never updated and easily hacked causing mayhem to your website. What you may not know is that many website companies out there do not know how to design and code a template from scratch. They use these pre-made templates, add some images, plugins, change some colors and call themselves custom web developers or "master" coders and charge you a premium for a "custom design". Pre-made Templates should be avoided.
On the other hand, there is another breed of website templates, "Custom Coded Business Template". These templates are uniquely designed from scratch, hand coded, tested and powered to convert. If your business chooses the template route, investing in your companies brand and online reputation should be a priority when selecting which type of template to use.
Even a custom-coded website can have major problems. A busy design could hinder your visitors from navigating your site and finding what they want. Additionally, some cool effects and improper back-end coding could hinder the robots from properly indexing your site. This could result in an SEO nightmare. One of the first things you learn in a good Design Schools is "KISS" (Keep It Simple Stupid). A properly executed clean design will assure that once you have your audience, keeping them there and getting them to the right place should be an easy process. Navigational Architecture is vital to your websites success.
A website isn’t a piece of art - it’s an interface that serves as a specific function and should be designed with purpose. Having a clear call to action will guide your visitor through your website, let them know what to do next or answer a question. You have a very limited time to keep your visitors engaged! Your website must make the best use of this limited amount of time to grab attention - inform and educate. Without a clear call to action, your website is just a pretty online design and will be hard to convert. Having a clear call to action will lead website visitors on a journey, when implemented properly right to your front door.
Like search engines, customers expect your website to contain the latest information about your company, its message, its products and services. Besides readability, your content must address the needs of your customers or potential customers, be able to answer their questions and be regularly updated as things change. Each page of your website should have a clear concise purpose and the content should be relevant and unique. When it doesn’t have this, you may loose your audience instantly and become irrelevant to the search engines. Don't let your visitors assume your simply not innovative and ahead of the competition by not creating a unique experience for them. As far as search engines, they are only interested in displaying the right content that users are searching for. It's all about the "user experience" and simply providing the relevant content that matched the search query. Fresh new content can attract hot new prospects to your website as well as help in your search engine rankings.
Know your target audience! Who your audience is will not only will influence the general aesthetic of your website but will also determine how it will function. If you try to please the masses you’ll likely end up not pleasing anyone. It’s best to figure out your your user base first, then focus on creating the best possible experience for them. Understanding analytic reports and knowing what to do with the data, will help reach the right market for your business. Without a solid analytical plan, your website might be designed to target the wrong type of customer. That would be a costly mistake.
As we say "You Only Have One Chance At A First Impression - Make It Count". Your website is often your customers’ or potential customers' first experience with your brand, think of it as your online calling card. The popularity of various CMS platforms and their plugins have made it easy for anyone without custom coding experience to put up some type of website, some even look good. This does not entitle people to brand themselves as experts. If you don’t have design experience or the education to make it work, do you really think you can do it justice? On the other hand, do contribute to its content. Your website reflects your business and are you can be a valuable asset to this process. Stick to what you know best and work with your development team, they need your content. Just remember, first impressions are everything and it would be a shame for your customer to make assumptions about your business because of a poorly designed website that has a high bounce rate.
One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is neglecting their website and online presence once the site goes live. Your website needs constant Periodic Maintenance by a skilled watchful eye! Malware protection, upgrades, back ups and server loads to name a few, need to be implemented and monitored on a consistent basis. Hackers are very clever little devils and can inject your website with very harmful coding that could direct your visitors to another website or download harmful trojans to your and your website visitors computer. There are so many ways that hackers can gain access to your website. Are you aware that Images for one, are a huge security risk? Yup they are! Worst of all, the result of a malware and a virus infected site is detrimental to your business. Google and other search engines will flag your website for spam and malicious content. Think of what that would do for your business and online reputation. Cleaning a malware infected site and rebuilding your online reputation in search is a time consuming and costly process. Prevention is key! A solid Website Management Strategy with a team of website security specialists that can clean, secure and monitor your website is a vital step to protect not only your website from future attacks, but to also protect the integrity of your online reputation.
Mistake 9. Avoid Neglecting Your Website After It Goes Live #2
Another big mistake that small businesses make is neglecting to test and tune their websites. Once the website is designed and deployed, it’s time to measure its success. This is just as important as knowing your market because until you test how well your design performs, you won’t know whether or not it is effective in fulfilling your goals. We can't stress this enough. Neglecting to update or maintain your website is detrimental to your online presence. Search engine rules constantly change and your strategy should include methods to keep your website up to date to avoid loosing rankings. Besides regular backups and updates to your website files, new content and a strategic social media and online marketing plan will help keep your website relevant and help with SERP's. When the plan is implemented properly, your monthly increase in "Return On Investment" ROI's should average between 10% - 25% . That's huge.
Mistake 10. Avoid Neglecting Your Website After It Goes Live #3
Most small businesses do not know exactly where in the process that their website is not converting. By neglecting your websites performance and failing to identify consumer behavior after your website goes live can be a costly business mistake. Understanding and reacting to key indicators in both on-page and off-page behaviors are vital in any successful internet marketing strategy. Ask your self, where did we lose our customer? Why did they fail to convert? Was it on a specific page? Was it a demographic? Was it usability? Was it because of my staff? Hymm, my staff? What do they have to do with whats going on online?
This question is one of many many "Ah-ha" epiphanies to successful conversions. Need We Say More?!