Website Design & Development

Effective Web Design

A Guide To Hiring A Web Design Company

An Awful Empty Feeling

When most people think of web design they imagine invigorating graphics, state of the art HD videos and interactive flash media. Companies can spend tens of thousands of dollars on pretty web design and later get an awful empty feeling when they don’t get any visitors or make any sales. It would be the equivalent to buying a Ferrari and learning that it doesn’t have an engine…It looks sexy and fast but it doesn’t get you from point A to B.

For big companies with huge marketing budgets for T.V., radio, magazine ads, PR and other traditional media opportunities, a website that is all brand and no brains might be OK. However, for smaller players on a limited budget, the internet may be the one chance for survival and growth. The latter can’t afford to get it wrong.

The truth is some of the ugliest websites get the most traffic and generate the most sales.

The Secret To Greater Profits

There are many elements that go into creating an effective website, and, as a business owner, you’ll need to ensure your web design company understands the careful balance between aesthetics and marketing. Below are the elements your Arizona web design engineer should consider to ensure your website is not only pretty, but works like an automated sales and marketing machine.

Search Engine Optimized – SEO by Design:

With the cost of Pay Per Click (PPC) skyrocketing and Google measuring website quality scores, it’s no wonder business owners are scrambling (and sometimes paying a small fortune) to optimize their websites to rank higher for search results related to their products and services. With PPC you pay by the drink and there is no annuity paid on the traffic that doesn’t convert to sales.

One of the fastest ways to see a return on investment from your website is to start getting traffic for free from the search engines. The extra spent on the front end to research and develop a website that ranks high on the search engines, can be instrumental to early profits.  The process you’ll want to follow is called search engine optimization and your Arizona web design should be search engine friendly right out of the box. Traffic coming from the search engines is not only free but it also runs on autopilot.

Despite popular belief, the SEO design process will not affect the look of your Arizona web design and can be done ‘under the covers’. It does require the addition of valuable information about your products and services; which should be easy for any passionate business owner to generate.

Targeted Look and Feel:

Your web design should be an extension of your company brand image and attract visitors from your target audience. The web designer should spend time researching market demographics and the competitive landscape prior to creating the web page layouts. The business owner should provide a brand brief that explains their business, target audience, current branding, products and services and the main purpose of the website.

With good upfront communication and co-development, an Arizona web design company should be able to correctly position the website. However, it doesn’t hurt to periodic design reviews before steaming ahead.

Functionality:

Without getting into the software coding and technology of a website, there are a few things you should consider including and testing during the design phase:

  • Page loading speed – Slow loading harms the users experience and Google will penalize the quality score of the website when you are doing PPC advertising
  • Broken links – Links should be tested to ensure they reach the intended destination. Broken links can hurt search engine rankings and lower the overall quality score of the website
  • Uptime – Is the website hosted by a reputable company and can it be easily moved if required?
  • Content Management – Ensure content management system being used to develop the website will allow you to make simple changes and additions
  • Domain Changes – Who is managing the domain and being alerted of changes or expiration?
  • Registration Forms – Is contact information entered by prospects on the website being captured and sent to the correct person?
  • Analytics – Tracking should be in place to monitor traffic volume and sources, time on page, bounce rate and click through
  • Privacy Policy – Is there a privacy policy page that reflects the usage permission with the visitor
  • Site Map – Site maps allow the search engines to map your Arizona web design and find changes and data more efficiently

Usability:

Usability focuses on the visitor experience when they reach the website and interact with the content. The most important feature is to deliver the information the visitor is looking for in the shortest period of time. If the visitor finds exactly what they were searching for, they’ll be more likely to stay and engage with your business.

Each web page should have a single goal in mind that steers your prospects closer to a sale – watch a video, click a link, buy a product, etc. If the visitor gets lost along the way or isn’t receiving value by staying on the web page, that visitor is likely to abandon the website without reach your desired end result.

While the concept of usability may sound obvious, many business owners don’t think of their website as a sales funnel and prospects get lost in a deluge of unorganized information and are left with too many choices. To overcome this obstacle, design each page with a goal in mind and map how the website is going to automatically build trust, make an offer and ask for the sale.

Unique Viral Content:

Viral marketing is every business owners dream – your sales message gets passed around by thousands of people across the internet without solicitation or spending a penny on advertising. The effect of viral marketing can also compound when you consider the attention you’ll get from the search engines. More people are likely to link to your website and book mark your website, causing the search engines to think it is an authority in your niche.

So how can a business owner create this type of buzz and keep prospects pouring in?

Here are some items to consider giving away to visitors with the hope of getting your company brand message virally distributed and receive free traffic to your website:

  • How-to and Instructional Videos
  • Consumer Guides
  • Special Reports
  • Technical White Papers
  • Software Tools
  • News Worthy Articles

Mobile Phone Friendly Web Design – .mobi

Mobile web search – using a mobile phone or device to search the internet – has been around for almost 20 years, however, traditional web sites have been hard to view and read. With new mobile phone technology (such as the iPhone) and high speed internet, users now have a better way to search the web from their mobile device.

These developments have spawned a mobile search trend with millions of people already using mobile phones and the trend is increasing to 2.7 billion users. Google mobile traffic already makes up 20% of total internet traffic, however, previously there was no universal mobile development platform and 40% of traditional HTML sites are incompatible.

So a new platform was developed (.mobi) to create new mobile friendly websites that are easy to read, view and navigate from all mobile devices. The exciting opportunity for business owners, especially local service businesses, is to claim .mobi real estate for their product and service category.

When working with an web design company, be sure to consider developing a mobile friendly version of your website to capitalize on this growing trend.

I hope you enjoyed “A Guide To Hiring A Web Design Company”. Transforming a “digital business card” website into a sales and marketing machine can be one of the most financially rewarding activities for your business.

If you are in the process of selecting a design firm, please contact Halo Effects, an internet marketing firm providing web design services.

We’ll show you an underground method to start marketing online today with no website, no email list and without paying for PPC advertising.