When most folks think about getting a new website, the first thing they do is research designs. Unfortunately, that’s the first, and most costly mistake they can make in both time and money. After becoming dazzled then dazed from viewing hundreds of sites, they are ready to turn the whole thing over to someone else or resort to DIY templates. That’s the second most costly mistake they make. Here’s what you need to know to avoid these expensive pitfalls that plague so many new site owners.
It’s about Results
The purpose of a site, ultimately, is to convert visitors into buyers. Content rules the Internet. What do you see in Google search results? Why do you click a link in those results? Because you expect to see content that interests you. Only then does the design of the site come into play. The same holds true for links on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If the headline and/or comment doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, it won’t matter that they are missing out on seeing your $900 design too.
Designs that Compete with Content
When a visitor comes to your site, what do they see first? Your design, of course. But, they should be able to quickly find they content they came for next. And, the site design shouldn’t compete for their attention.
Nor should your design fatigue their eyes. Use colors that are easy on the eyes to keep folks on your site longer. The more they read, the more opportunities you have to present your offers and build up your expertise in their minds.
Why Folks Leave Immediately
I enjoyed this post from Chris Lake on Econsultancy about the 25 Reasons Why I’ll Leave Your Website in 10 Seconds. If your site is too over-the-top in glitz just to make up for boring content that has no real value, folks will come, then folks will leave, and they’re never coming back.
Don’t Blame the Designer
If you have a beautiful site that doesn’t contribute directly to your sales, who’s to blame? On Search Engine Land, Sandra Niehaus asks Should You Blame Your Designer For Poor Conversion Rates? Well, that depends? What kind of designer did you hire? Do they know about graphics or marketing?
There are three types of designers, including:
- Site developers – who generally create frameworks and work mostly with code.
- Graphic designers – who generally never work with the core code.
- Site designers – who generally use a base framework and create graphics and CSS files to suit the design specs of the end user.
Make sure you hire the right designer for the job. And, make sure you know a little something about online marketing so you can feed them the right info and specs.
The Trap of DIY Templates
If you can’t find a design you like and can’t afford a designer, it may seem logical to just use a DIY template and be done with it. If you’re thinking about going this route, read 4 Good Reasons Not to Build Your Own Site. If you grow your business, a DIY site can’t grow with you in the ways you’ll need it to. Plus, unless you know why sites are laid out the way they are and the type of site that works best with your content, it will be as if you hired yourself as a graphic designer and not an internet marketing professional.
Build Around Your Content
Choosing a site design is like buying a house based on your furniture. When you develop your content drafts first, you’ll have a much better idea of the shape your site needs to take to properly frame it.
Having a website is one thing. Having a great site that successfully converts visitors into buyers is another. Put your money into learning about marketable content that’s candy for both search engines and readers, then learn how to use your website to help you display that content for maximum exposure and effectiveness.