There are many web design agencies and many that offer marketing services. Unfortunately most come at web design with a ‘marketing second’ approach.
Building a website in today’s world is actually very easy. Almost anyone can do it. And here lies the problem… almost anyone does do it. The problem is that most do it very badly or use simplified technology (such as online website builders), that lack the flexibility and power for proper digital marketing.
Digital marketing needs to be considered first. This way we can ensure that the website is designed and built in a way that will meet the demands of the marketing strategies used to promote the site once it is finished.
How important is this?
Well, as a business we never wanted to get into web design. That was never our intention when we started out. We are marketers. But here was the problem… most digital marketing only works well if the website is designed correctly – and just about every website we saw was not designed well.
If we are doing SEO, then we need to ensure the platform is designed and optimised for SEO, if we are doing affiliate marketing, we need to ensure that we can use the best affiliate systems, if we are designing special promotions, the platform needs to be able to handle the technology behind those promotions… You get the idea.
But most importantly, the site needs to convert.
That is, if someone comes to your website, we need to get that visitor to take an action, and ultimately to become a customer. Just looking pretty is not enough.
An action may be to purchase online, it may be to call you, to fill in a contact form or perhaps to get them to visit your shop or office. Despite most websites being developed by good professional web agencies, few are designed to convert well.
At EthicallyMAD we look at web design with a ‘marketing first’ approach. We identify what the objectives of the website are, what the intended marketing strategies will be and then design the website accordingly.
This is not to suggest that we think that design is unimportant. It is just that we do not believe in compromising conversions for the sake of design.
If you don’t take the marketing first approach to design, then you will struggle to make any of your online marketing effective. You will have to pay more in advertising costs for each eventual sale, struggle to rank as well in the search engines and you will likely end up paying more for your paid ads.
Common Web design Mistakes
1) Sliders. Many web design agencies love sliders (those big blocks at the top of a home page with a rotating image). Their clients love sliders too, because they look nice. You however should hate them and never use them – if you care about conversions.
You see sliders have been well researched and the data is very clear. They are really, really bad. They reduce conversions, reduce usability, reduce load speed (and so negatively impact SEO), can cause issues on many mobile devices and a host of other problems.
If you don’t believe me, search Google for ‘Sliders kill conversions’. Every web conversion, SEO and usability expert has repeated the same thing. DO NOT USE THEM. Yet most web agencies continue to integrate them in their design.
If you find a web agency that uses or recommend sliders, do not walk, run! They either know little about conversions or care more about looks than results.
2) Insufficient attention to mobile responsiveness. Most websites these days are ‘mobile responsive’. But most are not optimised for mobile. So what is the difference and why is it important?
A non-mobile responsive website will not fit on a small screen. It will create horizontal scroll bars, have text that is difficult or impossible to read and may use technology that does not work on a mobile browser.
Mobile responsive websites take care of this. They adjust the content to fit a mobile screen and will usually look okay. But this is not the same as being optimised for mobile. Often the spacing looks strange, pages load more slowly than they need (as they use larger images than necessary) and usability is compromised.
Ensure your site is mobile optimised, so that text and images display well, menus are easy to use and your site loads as quickly as possible. This is important if you want to rank well on searches carried out on a mobile device and if you want your website to convert well with mobile users.
3) No consideration to conversions. Even if you have never considered them, conversions are the reason your website exists. Yet, as I have pointed out already, few web agencies give little consideration to this crucial fact.
There are many design factors that can increase (or decrease) your conversions. The choice and size of the font, the colours used for design features such as headlines, buttons and links, the layout of the page, the choice and size of images or videos, and of course, the actual words used on the page (to name but a few).
Having audited many sites now, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that the vast majority of web design agencies (and sadly many that offer digital marketing services) fail to understand the basics of web conversion.
There are rules that can be broken, but only when it makes sense. I highly recommend going out and doing a little research in this area before you get started building your site, so you do not have to suffer the cost of lost sales and a possible rebuild.
If you are unsure how well your current site is designed and built, then I would suggest booking a website audit. This will help you see the gap between where you are and where you need to be.
If you would like to book a consultation to discuss a rebuild, then drop us a line. (While we work with clients from around the world, if you are based in Nelson or Richmond, we are always available for a coffee to discuss your needs in person).
Please note: Sites start at $2,500 (and go up from there depending on your needs). We will not work with platforms such as Wix, Weebly or SquareSpace, as we only want to do a job if it is going to get done properly and stand up to your long term marketing needs.