I have been studying websites for the past 10 years. I remember building my first website and having NO clue who would even read it. This was before Google, before Facebook, and before MySpace. My customers barely had email addresses!
I hit publish and sent it into the atmosphere. I was nervous about putting myself out there, but then again, who would even find it?!?
It's been 10 years since I built that original site, and WOW have things changed. Now we all have smartphones in our pocket and it is essential for every business or church or organization to have a website.
But how do you make sure your website stands out from all the rest?
How do you engage your prospective customer when they've landed on your site?
How do you make sure your website is actually accomplishing anything at all?
Here's what will NOT work:
1. Have a beautiful design with stunning pictures, but have no clear call to action. So your visitors just leave quietly, unsure about what they should do next.
2. Have NO contact information on your first page. Your reader scans and looks and scans again, and in frustration, hits the "back" button so they can find your phone number or address in a different place.
3. Have a big beautiful site that isn't mobile friendly. Make your visitors zoom in and pinch and zoom out and scroll from side to side until they're dizzy. Your reader abandons the site, frustrated.
These three frustrations happen to me daily. And it makes me want to throw my phone across the room. (Which is extreme, because I really love my phone!)
Here's the deal: I would much rather build you a simple, basic website that WORKS than a complex, beautiful site that causes your reader (and prospective customer) frustration and dismay.
A famous marketer, Dan Kennedy, said: "If every ad around you is pretty, be ugly. If every ad around you is ugly, be pretty." I am paraphrasing, but the point is: STAND OUT.
When we build websites, here's what we focus on:
1. Easy to read.
2. Mobile friendly.
3. Clear steps on what to do next.
I have friends who tinker in web design and they've turned up their nose at some of the sites we have built. They think they are too simple. Too basic. Here's the deal: they are artists, not a team focused on building businesses. When they are building a gorgeous website on a HUGE monitor in their office, that website IS beautiful. It's a piece of art. But are they certified in SEO and experts in systems and streamlining? No.
Here's the reality: Your reader is clicking on your website from their phone, probably coming from an email, Facebook, or Google. So let's make your site simple, clean, easy to read, easy to navigate, and most of all, let's get your prospective customers to call you, stop by, sign up for your newsletter, or buy from you. Because THAT is the point of having a website!
Having an "ugly" website that gets me new clients and new business and grows my bottom line...now THAT is a winner!
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!