In August 2019 my friend, Katy and I went Live on Facebook here (There are some special offers only available in the video for those who watch/listen.) Whether you’d like to watch, listen in the background or read a spark notes version below, you’re in luck! Katy Van Est and I are talking all about websites. If you have development or design questions tune in and drop a comment below.
Don’t forget to comment and share as a free way of supporting our businesses and help other business owners in their business!
Let’s start with Website Development vs Website Design
There is so much more than we can imagine that goes into building a website. That’s why a majority of people are avoiding reaching out for assistance or surprised by the turnaround time.
If you turn to an agency for website help there is a team working on your site. Imagine what happens when you play as a one-person basketball team instead of five.
The process to a beautiful online platform begins with gathering information. Once all of the basic information a design is focused on (think fonts, colors, imagery and icons) as well as the basic copy and information the designer is able to trailblaze the path in the direction you want to go.
Then comes a fun little thing called UI and UX.
UI=User Interface and UX=User Experience. Nearly all online traffic takes place via mobile phone so when someone having an ‘experience’ are they on the phone or the desktop? Companies understand the importance of the cell phone and choose to start design on mobile first (Also, because you can’t fit as much on your phone.)
What’s next in their experience? Ask yourself…
What do they expect when they click on buttons or links? Where are they expecting to go? We do research on user’s behavior on websites so we understand the home page is obviously the first impression and the About page is the second-most visited page on your website. What do you and don’t you need on these pages?
That’s design. Next step is development.
Easy plug-and-play templates are seen from sources like Wix or Squarespace. They’re most popular for their template designs because you can pick the optimal and aesthetic layout to fill with your content.
If you have the budget you can hire team of developers to code everything from scratch. Someday, man, someday.
TIP: Understand some things aren’t feasible or possible to make exactly how you want it. Having a little bit of flexibility will get you as close as possible and make everyone happy!
Even if you don’t have that big budget, it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. At the end of the day if it’s clean and organized, has all the important information and you can direct customers to it, that’s a great start.
What are the first things we look at on your website?
The first three things I look at on a website from a marketing and branding aspect: Copy, Flow, Call to Actions. Learn more here.
Compare a restaurant and a fashion blogger. I want to learn the most about the fashion blogger on her page and then a site or page optimized to shop. For the restaurant I am most interested in their menu, an online reservation booking and your hours or specials. That’s the importance of an outsider’s point of view and a professional’s point of view because what your customers might need, want or look for aren’t the same as what they would actually want.
Your priority of selling should never come above their priority of receiving information.
Katy’s top things she looks for are…
First Impression. Does your website match the industry you’re in? Is it white and bright or rustic and moody? No matter what, is it clean and easy to navigate or is there so much going on you don’t know where to look? Does it reflect what the business is about? We don’t want to visit a spa’s website and have a modern, techy vibe.
Second Is Navigation. How easy is it to navigate the site from a user’s perspective? Your pages should be clearly labeled and, when possible, drop down. Clarity over Creativity here. Imagine someone is visiting for the first time and have no clue about you or your brand’s personality.
Third is Contact Info. It is horrible to hide or not include contact info! You need to specify who you serve and how exactly they can contact you. If you’re a storefront this means including your street address. If you’re a service or home-based business you can have a simple contact form, clarify you’re based in X City but willing to travel throughout the U.S….what information do you get asked about the most? Add the answer as clearly as you can on your website.
TIP: Another bonus of having that contact info on the page is that it helps with Google searches and SEO. People need a way to find and contact you.
What’s The Process Like?
Local Collaborative’s process starts with Free Discovery Session and that more often than not leads to a Branding + Positioning Strategy. Once everything is compiled together in your brand book, you can look and feel really, really good about what you’re putting out into the world.
From here, that’s where graphic designers come in with logo design, website design and any other talents it takes to build your brand and get it ready for the world.
I know what I want but not how to say it…Here’s what to say.
Don’t worry about getting the exact language or presenting everything correct. If you’re very clear on what you want that will help the designer most. Keep in mind a lot is up to the designer to handle but you can focus on CTA’s (Call To Action) and what color you’d like the button to be. So long as a main strategy is in place for your site you don’t have to worry about the technical language as much. If you can show your designer examples or links to websites that you enjoy, they should be able to get to your goal as closely as possible. Tell us your goals and let us fire the way to get you there.
Website or Social Media?
Our goal when working on social media content (Facebook, Instagram or any others), it’s of the most importance that you direct traffic to your website. It will be the only platform you own. When social sites crash (which they often do) you cannot bank any one or other to sustain your business. you need a website and I would put the priority there instead of social media sites.
Already have a website and looking to get a remodel or just a revamp?
You should be checking up on your website at least every six months. This means re-reading all of the copy, updating infographics and sales information, switching photos, offers or seasonal attributes.
If you haven’t touched your website in 2-3 years chances are it’s out of date and you’re looking at a total redesign. This doesn’t mean you need to re-brand but just modernize. Modernizing can include different icons, larger photos or using your colors differently.
Has your industry changed at all? Likely. If you’re in the food industry it’s extremely important to include nutrition information. If you’re in the fitness industry they can handle a quick description on what’s best for a beginner, intermediate or advanced workout.
What information should you add on or even remove to be less text heavy? Too much or too little info are both issues on a site. Don’t make visitors read a novel. People don’t want to read that much; they will scan, get it and go. It’s all about time. If you don’t have enough info people can get really frustrated which loses you clients and gains you phone calls and complaints.
Katy completed my portfolio so I could focus on my own clients and work. It’s worth it to outsource because what takes me weeks could take her 2-3 days!
Anything I can they do before coming to the pros?
Quotes can scare people away because websites are a lot of work and take a lot of time. Both of which they have a hard time grasping right away. We get it. This is an investment well spent because you’ll get what you pay for and won’t have to overhaul so often.
If nothing else you can start on a site like Wix or Squarespace or establish what you can in documents and bring in a designer to finesse; saving time and money. It can also help if you have your info or copy and then we can adjust to fit your brand. By giving us this amount of info to transfer over, it might be more time consuming on your end (is your time worth it then definitely just skip to the pros).
Wondering if you can do this alone or skip the frustration
and get help?
If you’re making one of these mistakes it’s definitely a smart choice for you to save time and money by hiring help.
Time. As mentioned above you’re time is likely way better spent with your loved ones or working on what makes you happy. Just taking a guess but that’s probably not coding and formatting?
Hamburger Navigation. (stacked menu, usually three lines) on desktop view. This can be hard to find and adds a click for your users. It’s used best on mobile views.
Irrelevant content or imagery. Don’t have a block of text about pet food and then a picture of a mountain. You want to portray the ‘final’ or ‘dream’ image of the result people are looking for. Do they want to smile and be content? Is the dog eating the dog treats more active? Are the kids hugging their parents or independent?
We did have a question about domains and hosting. Head to the video for the answer on this!
Technology changes so fast we are all always learning and adjusting. Again, We can’t wait to collaborate with you!
You can learn more about branding and marketing on our blog but I went ahead and pulled a few specifically about websites. Happy learning!
Katy Van Est