When it's time to hire an agency to create a website, it's vital that the web design services you use can see the whole picture.
After all, a website is never just a website.
The best agencies will look at your business as more than a design project. Quality web design professionals look at this as an opportunity to help you grow your business by positioning your website to attract visitors and convert those customers into leads for your sales team.
To do that, an experienced digital marketing agency will perform four critical steps when providing web design services:
- Get to know your company’s needs
- Analyze your current website and develop a strategy
- Carefully craft content to position your website
- Build a website that runs flawlessly
Get to Know Your Company’s Needs
A marketing services agency should first talk with you to understand your business and your ideal customer. You'll define your business for them. This includes who your target consumers are and what your business goals are in the next 12 months to 1-3 years down the road.
A big mistake some web design companies make when building a website is that it's all about your company. This type of site is typically called a brochure website. It's one big ad about what you can offer and not about what you can solve for your customers. Which is why if you are considering building a new website or redesigning your existing one, more thought needs to put into the overall design.
Your website should instead focus on the messaging that resonates with your ideal customer. What problems do they have and how can you solve them, How do they feel? What do they care about? Any solutions you offer should bein relation to their problems, not the other way around.
It’s important to choose a marketing agency that offers a big picture perspective and will develop the website as a component of the larger business objectives. It should seamlessly and measurably guide them through the buyer's journey, generating more leads and sales.
If you simply want a nice-looking website, a web developer will do the trick. In fact, most out-of-the-box website companies can deliver a beautiful site. However, your site needs to meet business goals.
With that said, if you want a site that is customer-centric and works as part of your business's overall goals, you need a web design company that understands how to create the project to meet those goals and not just deliver a pretty brochure online.
Analyze Your Current Website and Develop a Strategy
The best web design services will include analyzing your current website using analytical tools such as:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) analytics: An agency should look at your search ranking for keyword phrases most important to your business. The agency will then evaluate what it needs to do to optimize your website to increase Google search visibility among your target audience while ensuring the user experience aligns with both customer expectations and business goals.
- Traffic analytics: An agency will evaluate where your traffic (and your top competitors') currently comes from, how it arrives, where they go on your site, how long they stay, etc.
- Heat maps: An agency will look at where people focus on a web page. People visiting a webpage often skim it and look at images first, so it's important to know what's drawing their eyes so you can conversion rate optimize (CRO) each page. What if they're not even seeing your CTA button? That's a problem you need to know about. Heat maps help you do that.
Next, website designing services use what we've learned from careful data analysis to develop a comprehensive strategy. They then put that strategy into place through brainstorming sessions and thorough analysis of the data.
Web designers create a website. An agency builds the strategy around it that makes it successful.
Let's take a closer look at what goes into the above analysis of your site. A web design company will:
- See if your current website is optimized
- Research and analyze your website traffic, taking a look at how your website is performing currently
- Look at your competitors to see what’s working for their websites and you stack up against them
- Perform a keyword analysis to find relevant keywords that you can rank for and what your potential customers may be searching for
- Determine what results you can expect with the budget that you have
- Optimize pages on your website, such as H tag titles, meta descriptions, content, keywords and CTA’s (These increase clicks to your site and help pages generate more leads.)
- Determine whether the language on your website is clear, targeted and concise
- Analyze how fast your website is and if it’s secure
An agency will also take a close look at backlinks and whether they are helpful to your web traffic. For example, if a lot of your links come from blog comments, Google may consider the linking site a spammy site, which could hurt your site by association.
Not all blog comments are bad, however. Some blog owners manage comments well to maintain the health of their site, and the blog post may be very relevant to the page it links to. These can help you.
Carefully Craft Content To Position Your Website
Based on the data gathered, the website design process begins. An experienced digital marketing agency will carefully craft messaging and create content curated to position your web pages to solve customer problems. The goal is to attract and convert visitors into leads.
The right content is critical because high-value content isn't cheap. It takes time to plan, create and analyze, so it's essential that you not waste money on the wrong kinds of content. That’s where the agency that you hire comes in.
Web design and developers are experts in web programming. They usually have years of experience. But that may be all they do. They may not have any broader knowledge of digital marketing, inbound marketing or content marketing. This limited view can hamper the results you achieve from your new website.
Alternatively, full marketing agencies also have expert web design professionals with years of experience. They can blend user design and usability with the development of your buyer personas to create a site that customers love. Your sales department will love it as well, by the way, because a broader approach to site design can generate higher quality leads or Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).
Based on buyer personas, an agency can create online materials like videos, blogs and offers that stimulate interest in your product or service. They'll design high-converting landing pages for your ad campaigns as well. Stand-alone web design services and SEO professionals may do some of this, but often the quality isn't there because of their limited focus.
The truth is, poor-quality content will damage your reputation and cause your prospective customer to bounce immediately and look for someone else. High search engine visibility doesn't mean much if it erodes how customers see you. You can spend all the money you want on driving traffic to your website, but if your website is NOT ready to engage and convert those vistiors in leads or sales, then you are wasting your money! You need- to understand that..
Build a Website That Runs Flawlessly
Nearly 70% of online businesses fail they can't seem to get their website to work right. And these days, almost every business is at least in part an online business.
It’s one thing to have a strategy and valuable content in place for your website. It’s another for the site to run efficiently and flawlessly. If the latter doesn’t occur, potential customers will never realize the value that your website holds.
Your web designers should provide a seamless go-live process that has your new site up and running flawlessly. This requires extensive pre-live testing and live monitoring.
The best web design services will do the preparation work and research needed to ensure that your website is more than just an attractive website.
Your site must also be customer-centric, user-friendly, functional and work to achieve the greater goal of building your business and growing it.
It’s critical to not overlook mobile-friendly designs. A mobile-friendly website shouldn’t be just "OK.” Today’s customers live on mobile devices and there’s a good chance they’ll encounter your business for the first time on their phones or tablets. Your mobile site should respond and operate just as well as it would on a desktop.
First Impressions Are Key
Keep in mind, your website is the first impression a person has of your business. As soon as potential customers click on a search result and arrive at your website or landing page, they must know they are in the right place to receive the help they need to solve their problems.
That’s why web design services play a crucial role in developing and implementing an overall marketing strategy to grow your business.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!