So, you’re looking at your website and you’re thinking, “You know… I feel like I should be getting more from you…” Or maybe you’ve just started a business and you know you need a website, but you don’t have the slightest clue where to start. Whatever your situation, it may be tempting to just call up a local web design firm and start firing away. A GOOD web design firm, however, is going to start firing back! Here are some questions you should be prepared to answer in order to make the most of your consultation… and maybe even point yourself in the right direction.
Many business owners and executives understand they need a website, but they often do not understand all of the other components of an inbound marketing strategy. So, they do a search on Google for something like "web design Greenville SC", find us and reach out if they think we might be a good option. Nearly 30% of the leads we get through organic search come from prospects thinking they just need a website.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors to keeping visitors on your website is having a good, solid navigation system that supports all search preferences. In fact, more than three-quarters of survey respondents from a recent HubSpot study say that the most important element in website design is ease in finding information.
If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will give up and leave.
We've covered research and prototyping, and now we actually have a fleshed out design to work with. It's time to do some testing. Usability testing is the last step in the UX design cycle (I say cycle because testing often results in more research and prototyping) and, sadly, is an often ignored part of the equation for one simple reason – nobody wants to pay for it. While it is true that whole-hog usability testing is expensive, you don’t need 100 strangers in a room with two-way glass to test a website. There are many ways to accomplish small scale usability testing with zero added cost, and I would highly recommend these practices to any small firm or sole-proprietor for whom proper testing is not an option.
The planning stage of a new design doesn’t end with research. Research answers the “who” and “what” questions, but not the “how” questions. The next tool in the true UX designer’s tool belt is most commonly referred to as prototyping (or wireframing). In a nutshell, prototyping involves taking all of those funnels, forms, and CTAs, organizing them in a way that makes everybody happy, and defining specific functionality before you start design – and it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. This is where true UX designers stand above the rest and where we could all stand to improve.
How much you, as a designer, research before you start new design speaks volumes of your claim to be a “UX designer.” As a student, and even as a young professional starting out, I was convinced that there was such a thing as “an eye for design,” and it showed in the amount of research I did (or didn’t do). While it is true that some people grasp the rules of design much more naturally than the rest, and perhaps some do possess greater natural ability in lesser regards (say, color vision); there is no natural ability contained within any person to divine rules for design and usability out of thin air and without prompting. All designers must research.
Research takes many shapes. For the more naturally gifted, research can be as simple as looking at other people’s work, or better yet, looking at nature. Personally, the majority of my early research that made up my misunderstood “eye for design” came from over-exposure to TV and the internet from a young age, a somewhat photographic memory, and a knack for pattern recognition. But for most designers, research looks more like work – especially when you dig deeper into functional design (web/application design, industrial design, packaging design, etc.).
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is popular for many reasons:
- It allows for quick implementation of mobile-friendly websites.
- It doesn’t require a separate platform or database.
- It is as flexible as the CSS used to create it (extremely flexible).
But while everyone is thrilled that we finally have a simple, broadly accepted solution to the years old question of how best to develop mobile websites, there is a big question that has been largely ignored in the mainstream. What about mobile usability?
Landing pages are critical to your internet marketing efforts.Your landing pages must be optimized to quickly provide visitors with essential information about the products and services you are offering; and what they need to do to get hold of them. Thus, the landing page must answer the following questions:
- Is the page about the same products or services they were searching for online when they found you?
- Does it tell them what they need to do NEXT to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, download your whitepaper, or whatever your conversion goal is?
- Does it include links to other sections of your site that they may want to visit?
- and...does it do this carefully, without distracting them too much?
You already have a website. It's a few years old and conversions are not where you would like them to be, but you can't quite justify a full-scale redesign. It's time to think about a few bandaids - short term fixes to get you through the next year or two while you save up for that nice new website and marketing strategy from your friends here at Waypost. Here are three simple ways to increase your conversions on an existing website.
1. Replace your image rotator with a single call to action.The data is in and image carousels often have a negative impact on conversion. This is primarily due to visitors not hanging around on your home page long enough to see more than one slide. It's time to focus that valuable home page real estate in three easy steps.
Google Analytics Benchmarking Data is Back
Just last month Google Analytics announced the return of industry “Benchmarking” data that consists of key metrics generated from websites. That’s data from hundreds of thousands of websites if you're keeping score. So, with so much data the metrics are pretty statistically significant and really give an accurate picture of what’s going on with websites.
The fun for me, and it’s NOT looking at all that data, is that I just “zero in” on a few numbers that I think are important like BOUNCE RATE. The significance of Bounce Rate for me is that this one number tells me if websites are making a good FIRST IMPRESSION and getting that potential client to spend some time on the site and look around.