10 Essential Components of a Top Notch Website Design
Stop interrupting what people are interested in, and be what people are interested in.
We have written several articles about adaptation and change. There has been tremendous change online since the advent of the internet, yes? And the amount of change in this arena and in consumer response, while still in its infancy, continues to accelerate. So it is essential to adapt the online presence of your business to these changes with a top notch website design.
Have you ever wondered what makes a website truly great? So great that traffic is high, people are engaging with demand are off the charts, and many new customer relationships being built.
How often do you find a new website that makes you stop and stare? It screams to you that it is a modern-day masterpiece. The aesthetic and user experience are off the charts. It’s new, innovative, and, frankly makes you wish you could design a web site for your business with all the great features of the one you are looking at.
Think about what makes it stand out to you? Is it a beautiful, award-winning graphic design? A killer SEO strategy? Its interactive, cutting-edge user experience? Or is it simply tied to the amount of monetary investment? The bigger the budget, the better the website, right?
The heart of most marketing campaigns has been the website. The biggest problem with most websites however is that they are instantly forgettable. They say the same thing as your competitors. You see two possible results from this problem. The first is that most customers will quickly lose interest and click away from the site. The second is that, if they stay, they’ll find no reason to select you, because there’s no discriminating message. They click away with no reason to return.
Related post: Some Great Story and Storytelling Examples to Study
So what is the magic of creating a potentially eye catching web site? Consider the following xx elements we use to build award winning web site designs and redesigns:
Top notch website design … know your target community
When starting a web project, many think about whom we are, what’s special about us, and how we should communicate our unique selling points.
But our readers aren’t interested in us, our business, and our products
They just want to know what’s in it for them.
Take the time to grab insights of all types from your customers. What keeps them up at night, both professionally and personally? What will they be worrying about at the time of your talk? Maybe they’re more concerned about what to have for lunch?
I once was given the opportunity to redesign the website of a beer company, but I knew very little about beer (I’m more of a wine guy). So, I hosted a beer tasting with friends so I could try different kinds of beer and learn from my colleagues on the subject. Your community is more likely to be engaged and believe you if you’ve made efforts like this to understand them. Otherwise, you’re just a traveling salesman, who is never much appreciated, right?
Establish clear objectives
We’ll keep our objectives as simple as we can. The simple objective … turn marketing into content, not content into marketing. Provide all types of content that people are interested in, talk about and share with their friends.
Many websites fail to clearly and easily answer “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”
If you’re a well-known brand or company (i.e. Apple for example) you can probably get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, many enterprise businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.” If visitors can’t identify what it is you do or where to go to find what they need within seconds, they won’t stick around long.
Essence of Design
Eye catching visual design
The popularity of infographics and other visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest show how important visual media is to marketing and capturing attention of your community. The cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” also holds true on LinkedIn.
Images make your LinkedIn company page visually appealing to visitors, so they’re more likely to consume and share your content—and direct their connections to your company page.
Show & Tell With Videos
You don’t need to be told that the use of online video is growing rapidly. Just take a look at these key points:
In 2013, over 52 billion videos were viewed online (MarketingCharts)
52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions (Invodo)
An estimated 63 percent of social media comprises imagery. As such, visual platforms are playing an increasing role in social media for businesses
Spend the time to find the visual angle to your business’ story
There are many different video formats you can use to take your company page updates to the next level. Here are a few examples that we believe are most effective:
Short videos—less than 15 seconds—can be used to focus your message. You can use them to create a product look-book, demonstrate a product’s use or show an everyday life hack. Vine and Instagram both offer short-form videos that fit well with this style.
Event videos are trust worthier than any scripted video because they contain the best parts of your company, your products, your customers and your culture. They aren’t an outright advertisement for your company or brand, and usually include external or third-party content. Think of event videos as testimonials, as opposed to ads.
Whether you interview experts from outside your company or key employees inside your organization, Q&A videos let you highlight your relationship with industry experts.
Make it easy to find information
According to the Science of Website Redesign, 76% of consumers say the most important factor in a website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.”
The most important part of a perfectly designed website is connecting the user with the information they came to find. If your design is easy to navigate and captures the interest of the user, you have likely made good design decisions.
There are simple ways to organize your website that makes it easy for the visitor to navigate. Microsoft is one example of a website with multiple products, most of them as a sub-domain under the primary microsoft.com domain.
Edward Tufte once said, “Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.”
Often, marketers tend to over-complicate their websites with too many elements or far too much information. And that is what causes clutter. In fact, some of the most effective websites are also the simplest.
Here are a few ways this website achieves a clutter-free aesthetic:
- Clear headlines, sub-headlines, and body copy
- Lots of whitespace
- Only four primary colors and great contrast
- Great use of icons and graphics
Stylize the Experience
Design an experience that will be memorable … create the visual of your value, the core message. Take some risks here to stand out and be different … no risks, no rewards.
Strike a nerve to grab attention and connect with your audience. What makes your website such a powerful marketing and branding tool is its ability to communicate on verbal, visual, and metaphoric levels. If you are not using all 3 levels of communications, you are missing opportunities to resonate and connect.
Show your brand culture and personality
Showing the human side of your company is an important way to create trust with your followers and turn them into fans.
Warby Parker posted an update to share its annual report. People who clicked through found several components that show the company’s human side. ( See our article on Warby Parker’s humanized graphic design.)
Include fun, behind-the-scenes information in your content to help readers make a deeper connection with you.
Simple and useful content
What types of content should you include in this section? White papers, case studies, blog posts, a list of products and services, how-to’s and more. Stretch your imagination to try new types of topics.
Solves Problem for Your Community
Publish content that shows your expertise in the marketplace so readers come to you for a solution when they have a problem.
Enlighten and Inform
Provide your key discriminating message woven into the central theme of the site. This is the second most important element of your site … convincing customers your story is the best and the reason to select you. Avoid selling at all costs!
Engage the Audience
Grab attention … on some problem your audience shares, and then address the solution. This is the most important part … the part that compels viewers to want to see and hear the entire story/show!
Many people follow your company page as a way to engage and interact with you.
To encourage that engagement, ask people questions and reply to their comments. You can also host contests.
For example, HootSuite posted an update that asked its followers to share the social media story that was most memorable to them in 2013. Some of the responses were included in an article that highlighted the stories.
Be memorable and bold … be worth the audience’s time and attention. Use subtle marketing techniques. The challenge is to turn marketing into memorable content that informs, enlightens, and entertains at the same time.
Highlight products and services with showcase pages
Think of showcase pages as a way to highlight your specialized content. They let you customize your messages and engage different audience segments based on their product interest.
Create and curate showcase pages to make sure your customers can easily learn about the product or service that most interests them.
We all understand the need for a call to action. However, you can only deliver on the action call by a convincing story. A story catching attention and providing relevant messages for your target customers. Bring them back for more.
Optimize the site’s ability to be found
I am a big proponent of writing for human beings instead of search engines. With that said, if you want people to find you when looking for great content in your niche on Google or Bing, some optimization will be needed.
This optimization, also called SEO (Search Engine Optimization), includes a certain number of elements that, implemented well, will truly make a difference in the success of your blog.
By the end of 2014, more people will access the web via mobile devices more than the PC or iPad. Still, 46% of mobile users have difficulty interacting with websites — so it makes sense that 62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile increase sales. So if you haven’t gone mobile yet like these guys, now’s the time.
What do you think? Have you used any of these tactics on your Company Page? Do you have other tips you’d like to add?
Remember … don’t talk about how great you are … tell your customers a story about how what you do well will make them look awesome.
Need some help in capturing more customers from your marketing strategies? Creative ideas to help the differentiation with potential customers?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy improving your marketing, branding, and advertising?
Do you have a lesson about making your marketing strategy better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on marketing strategy from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:
Like this short blog? Follow Digital Spark Marketing on LinkedIn or add us to your circles for 3-4 short, interesting blogs, stories per week.