The websites we create are powerful tools for our customers and prospects. The website we put in our customers’ hands should help them gain a competitive advantage in their industry and improve their business presence. Our main objective when we create a website is that the site offers many benefits, such as enhance the business brand, improve customer service, increase sales, get more leads, and newer clients. Before starting to craft a website, our primary obligation is to think of what our target audience wants from the website?
These questions are especially crucial to a small business as they need to grab their customers’ attention and find new customers continuously. Small business needs to make sure that they offer what their customers want and, hopefully, something more the clients didn’t know they wanted.
I am writing this article as the owner of a small web and graphic design business with a lot on my plate. More prominent companies work with their teams to manage the different aspects of each department, but as a freelancer, I am left to juggle the tasks of numerous sections on my own. I produce web and graphic design that will make my customers successful. It is a big responsibility. The visuals and content I create to my customers are the first impressions they will need to introduce their business or brands to the market.
Web design should, actually, be more than an online presence. It should be more than just appearances and looking good. Good web design can, additionally, bring many business benefits to the target audience.
A well-maintained professional website will help boost the customer’s company marketing with an appropriate message and call-to-actions to inform, educate, and persuade the target audience.
Benefits Of Web Design
Content is crucial in this area. Background to the information, examples of successful projects to the company teams and customers, and being open to the customers to integrate with a clear call-to-action.
A Good Introduction
Visual images are also essential to complement the content and communicate the message to the user. The University of Ottawa affirms that users take 1/20th of a second to judge a blog’s design. Or, as some people say, tomato sauce on your first-date dress is not a very good impression to start a relationship.
Users might take a quick look and go. When the website is well-done, it not only looks beautiful and adequate, but tells the target audience precisely what the business is, what it does, and how it can help them.
Customers want the right products from a business they feel they can trust. Design is a way to build a potential customer base with the target audience. People are visual; colours, images and photos matter a lot. And problems with designs could, unquestionably, turn people away.
Design Is More Than Looks
It must affect people’s ability to navigate the website and/or use the products it sells. The Netmen Corp lists design issues that lead people not to trust a brand:
- Busy layouts and too much visual clutter.
- Unclear navigation.
- Design that was boring or generic.
- A website that took too long to load
- Too many ads or pop-ups.
- Difficulty finding things on the website.
- Large blocks of text.
- Text that was too small.
- Personality-free design — sites that looked too “corporate”.
- Puns or cleverness in names or content.
Images influence people’s perception of brands and products. We published a series of seven articles on the Gestalt Theory Principles studying precisely that: human being’s visual screen design or how the individual elements from a composition can be visually organised into groups or structures.
One good example would be the packaging Amazon uses now: a smile on each package. Imagine how beautiful it is to see millions of boxes with smiles all over the world.
Design affects how people perceive the quality of a brand, and it also changes how they perceive the reality of the products. Whatever people are saying about a brand, that is the brand, and not what the owners want it to be. The message designs create must convey exactly the message from the company; there is no room for misinterpretations or alterations.
Makes The Company Memorable
Design helps the target audience remember the company’s name and existence but particular attributes of the business. Shapes, colours, icons are tools used to study how the brain perceives and responds to them.
Feel thirst? Close your eyes and think of a refreshing cold drink. I bet you will visualise the red and blue sphere right away!
It Focuses On The Target Audience First
The customer comes first. Responding to the customer’s needs is crucial for an active business. Design is one way to react to the customer. Yes, the package needs to be useful, the colours need to be vibrant, but the customer has specific needs and is looking for a solution from your products.
Anticipating the customer needs before they even know it is a need. Who can live without a smartphone today? Would we think that 20 years ago? WordPress is a professional and learnable open-source CMS to create a website today. It is used by over 35.2% of all sites on the Internet. Who would think that someone who does not code could build websites? When you recognise the logo, you recognise the quality of the company and you trust what you are reaching.
Part of being a good web designer is understanding how human’s mind works. A professional designer will know how to use the Gestalt Principles, for example, as a method to improve screen design to achieve visual results. And they will show the most relevant design with the proper shapes, colours and similarities to produce the most significant emotional response from the viewers. Perception principles will be added to the design to create the desired effect.
It Explains Things
A design displays things to the customers instead of telling them; it is a much more engaging way to get the message across to their brains. Gestalt Theory teaches us that our human mind likes simple things. That is the reason our eyes tend to group objects in composition to see a group. A group is simpler than individual details. Going over details, the brain explains lots of things fast.
Think of situations when you had to perceive things quickly – traffic signs, for instance. They promptly transmit the information to drivers on the road. Well-designed, well-thought, well-patterned signs like traffic signs simplify, spell out things to customers. We human beings, as we mentioned before, are visual learners; imagery conveys vital points to viewers. When visitors come to the website you created, they want to find ways and solutions quickly. Otherwise, they just move to another. Competition is abundant.
It Is Cost-Beneficial To The Company
The impact of web design on business needs to be seen from a financial point of view. Business Statistics show that web design boosts a company financial performance. A well-created website doesn’t need to cost much, and it provides the company with a credible, user-friendly site that can start driving purchases, requesting quotes and much more. A good website is, as a matter of fact, the best employee you ever had.
The importance of web design is often underestimated. It is essential to say that web design and graphic design are not just improved appearances. They are important tools to provide marketing messages with appealing, adequate visuals. It is crucial to engage the web designer with the marketing group. A well-informed, competent web designer can increase the company’s marketing through visual communication to build the company’s identity and brand recognition.
Website For Small Businesses
You could be asking yourself if your small business needs a website. Of course, you have a clientele and your products. What other difference would a website give you?
Think about the telephone. It was a disruptive technology in the late1800s, and it changed the way business was done. As people learned to use the telephone directory to find things and shops, the market realised it would be a good idea to advertise there. So, in the 1930s, the Yellow Pages became the standard procedure for most businesses as most of the homes in the USA had a telephone and used the directory every day.
A similar thing has happened now with the Internet. Now, you need a website, no matter which industry you are in. Actually, you need one from the day you started your business. You need a website to reach customers, find new niches and succeeded.
Why Do You Need A Website To Reach Your Target Audience?
Digitally advanced small businesses reach more people as most customers will only look for a business online. We have to remember that we live in a digital age. By now, consumers expect companies to have an online presence and most times will never think of going to other business directories to find products they need. So, having a website, you will be there where your consumers are.
Besides that, most people (actually, 75% of people) base their credibility on the website design. People tend to do business with a company they trust, and the website is the first place they go to check for credentials, reviews, awards and position. But remember, that people only take 1/20th of a second to have their first impression of your business, so be objective and tell your customers what you do and what you are from the start, or they will leave.
You Have Facebook, And That Should Be Okay?
Not really. You and everybody else have a platform on Facebook. You need a website even if you have a Facebook page. Nowadays, it is getting harder to connect with users on Facebook, and the younger generation is moving to other platforms. It is important to realise that Social Media will help your business grow, but don’t bet on using it as the only marketing channel for your business.
Benefits Of A Website For Small Businesses
In addition to the other benefits that we listed before, small business has some unique approaches to marketing strategy. Relying on Yellow Pages, Yelp, and other directories to list a small business online when you can do much more of reviewing your business on a website that you own and control. Small business has complete access over what the clients see, so key essential aspects from the company will occupy leading roles in the website.
And, most important, websites are cheaper than traditional online advertising, as the company can provide more value to the customers through the content of the website to reach more people year after year without a consequent increase in subscriptions.
Benefits To Consider
- Save Costs On Printing And Distribution Of Advertising Or Catalogues
For one thing, the website acts as the business brochure or catalogue that can be updated as needed using the Content Management System (CMS) at any time without printing or distribution costs.
- Improve Productivity
It saves time in providing product or service details to customers as the current information is available 24 hours online with easy updating.
- Improve Customer Services
Equally important, the business can educate customers with free easy to read articles about products and services with access from anywhere in the world. It also helps the company reach the local market from brick-and-mortar shops, offering them updated details so they can make informed decisions.
- Promote Products, Services And Local Shop
The website will have high-quality photos, illustrations and detailed descriptions of the products and services showing how they can help the customers in their personal or professional interests.
- Advertise Available Positions
The website will be a great tool to advertise new positions that applicants can apply online to your growing business.
- Build The Business Reputation
The business domain establishes a strong online identity. It provides personalised email correspondence, easy contact from your customers with feedback or questions, visitor polls for cheap market research, forms and autoresponders automatically 24 hours and demonstrate the business expertise and knowledge in the area of work.
The cost of a website:
- Hosting – the service or company providing space on the Internet for your website. WordPress provides hosting, but other sources are readily available from Australia. WordPress hosting costs about $7.99/month.
- Domain name – shown as http://www.yourcompany.com, and is usually a yearly payment. WordPress, as an example, charges $14.99 per year.
- Design – Some designs are free, other cost depending on your business size.
- Plugins and extensions – Typically, the more plugins you want, the more expensive a website gets. Some plugins are free, and a basic website works well without any plugins.
- The complexity of design – The more customised your website is, the more expensive it is. It varies according to the needs of the client.
Moss51 Art & Design uses WordPress to host most of its clients. The structure of the website is user-friendly and extremely adaptable to making it a custom website with professional improvements tailored to your business needs.
The fact that more than 50% of Australian businesses are still without websites is shocking especially if we consider that close to 90% of consumers check the Internet before making a purchase.
Main Steps To Consider When A Web Designer Creates A Website
The consumer expects site navigation to be a familiar place easy to use. It should be at the top of the page and adjust to the site easier. Most essential elements first, each category with subcategory underneath in dropdowns menus, links to visitors to use in every page including the business logo linking back to the homepage. This navigation needs to be responsive to tablets and smartphones too, besides all sizes of computer displays.
Easy Contact Information
A point often overlooked, the About Us Page is extremely important as it teaches the consumers about the business and the story of the people behind the company. This page happens to be one of the most visited pages by consumers.
The Contact Page should be comprehensive and easy to find if people need to contact or clarify some doubt. Customers expect to be able to get in touch or chat with you as they are entrusting you with their hard-earned dollars.
Appropriate And Consistent Design
Harvey Norman home page – CTA, contact chat, accessible and concise information and showing their colourful personality.
People are visual learners. A well-designed website will appeal to the target audience. It is made to focus on usability, clarity, simplicity. The design needs to appear professional in desktops and phones or any other kind of screen size it is viewed.
Every page should have a call to action (CTA) to help customers directly to the products they are seeking. CTA should be clear to see and explain what action consumers should do.
It is a grant to say that web design should be consistent in the overall tone of voice and personality. Consumers do not want a funny Facebook Page and a severe website. They don’t like significant changes. The business personality should stay the same no matter how the consumers come in contact with the business.
All information should be easy to locate, laid out clearly and concisely, including warranty information.
Give Amazing Consumer Offers
It has to be a good deal, of course. Consumers nowadays are quite smart and have lots of places to compare prices and information.
Adding testimonials and awards is an excellent idea as it displays your accolades and personal testimonies in photos or videos recommending your business for quality service and reliability.
Use A Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
All things considered, security is crucial to you and to your customer. In fact, it is imperative your website has SSL to set up a secure pathway between your site and the device your website visitor is browsing on. It secures personal information and is a requirement from Google to keep customers safe.
It is of particular importance in eCommerce sites that collect personal information. Adding SSL is simple and well worth the effort to protect your customers and make your website trustworthy.
Use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
It is a critical tool to help your website gain more traffic. SEO strategy needs to be checked and included since the beginning of the design phase. Neglecting SEO will mean the target audience will not find your website. A complete SEO will have your website optimised around the keywords you want your business to be located. Local SEO targets customers who live within the company’s service area. Search analytics companies like SpyFu and Sitechecker have free plans to help you check SEO pages, keywords, and your competitors to assess the quality of optimisation.
Use Responsive Design
More and more people use mobiles to check products before they shop. It is comfortable to know about the product, prices, availability before contacting the dealers. Responsive design matters a lot. Make sure your website responds well to all types of screen sizes and operating systems.
Speed Up Images
If the images in your site load slowly, you are going to lose visitors before they engage with your content. People generally respond well to images, so it is essential you create a healthy balance between images and text. Also, the images should be optimised to load fast, so an excellent recommendation is to compress them to save time for web and performance.
If you are a small business or a business on the grow, you need to have a website to look after most of your customers who will look for your business online. In most cases, they will bypass the offline business directories completely. Additionally, the website strategy is here to stay, and the prospects are only to grow in the future.
Offering what your target audience is after is essential. Websites will be a tool to graph your customers’ attention and show then that you are a different competitor. The design should be an eye-catching help to communicate your value to the target audience. Be consistent demonstrating your qualities as an established, professional and reliable web designer who is concerned with the issues your customers care most about and build a trustful relationship with them.
Your design should evoke emotions, including buying decisions. Could you ever think of something more potent than your web design to connect with your customers’ emotions? Design choices that drive effective emotional responses from your buyers and provide them with efficient solutions.
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