Great Web Design = Leads & Sales
How to achieve the critical balance of website usability, design, SEO & results
Beauty may often be in the eye of the beholder, but for business website design: Beauty is as Beauty does. Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of digital agency, Bayshore Solutions, cautions business leaders that Design itself is just a portion of today’s website requirements. “Great Web design blends art and science to powerfully balance all of the elements vital to your website’s success.”
What do you mean by “Great Web Design = Leads & Sales?”
This equation describes the cause and effect of a successful business website. “Design” incorporates and balances all of things that are important to your website’s success. There are specific Web design requirements for:
- Look & feel: communication of corporate brand/message
- SEO: competitive visibility and “Friendliness” to the search engine crawlers
- Devices: consistent experiences for users of computers, smart phones, iPads
- Results: navigation and usability to accelerate lead or sales conversions
Great Web design produces an attractive, consistent approach for all audiences of your website; people, engines and devices.
What is the key to Web design for each of these audiences?
The prerequisite to effective web site design is to understand all your site’s visitors: Who & what will look at it? What are their expectations? What is the end result you want them to get out of the visit? Knowing your target audience is Marketing 101. Beyond this requirement, let’s take a look at website audiences and the related dynamics you need to include in your strategy before you set fingers to keyboard, or stylus to canvas in “Design.”
If you are not currently addressing the multiple ways the internet is accessed, and how your website looks on each of them, then you are behind the competition and losing more ground daily. There is no uniform technical protocol or standard among today’s spectrum of devices. iPhones, Androids, other smartphones, iPads, laptop computers, traditional desktop stations, web TVs, varying screen-resolutions and browsers used will all impact the experience of your website’s quality and effectiveness. Ignoring one or some could be a fatal business decision now or in the near future.
Knowing your audiences and their typical device use can help prioritize your design for device strategy; but be aware that this dynamic is a moving-target. A case in point is that Web browser, Internet Explorer, held nearly 70% global usage market share in 2008 and CNN reports in early October 2010 that it held 49% – less than half. How does your website render on browsers other than IE?
This audience isn’t even human, but is critical to your website’s success. Design that accommodates the best-practices basics as well as the format and content flexibility needed for ongoing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) competitiveness is crucial to your website’s ability to be found by the right people (your targets) using search to initiate, research and fulfill their products and services needs.
The entire practice of SEO is always evolving. What was a most-effective method in one time period may be saturated and even a detriment in the next. If your website is not designed to keep up, your SEO results won’t. However, it is quite possible to “SEO to Death” your web content. This is where the balance with design for business results is needed.
Your web visitors are not just your target prospective customers. They can be existing customers, prospective employees or influencers. Each needs to receive a favorable experience. The look and feel of your site, its content, and the delivery of your corporate message needs to resonate meaningfully with your primary targets and to your secondary and other online audiences. Achieving this is a hallmark of truly artful web design.
Then you need to connect the navigation and usability of your website to address these audiences and create momentum toward your desired end result (the lead or sale). I call this aspect “Design for the directed path,” which is orchestrating website elements and content that facilitates the journey of the educational process to the sale. Great Web design educates people through content that eliminates barriers and motivates them to call you, submit a lead form or purchase online.
When you have addressed the needs and expectations, and optimized the experience for each of these audiences in your Website design, your business is primed to reap online results and beat your competition. Thus, great business web design = leads and sales.