It should come as no surprise to even the novice marketer that digital marketing and branding growth have outpaced traditional media. From Google replacing the phone book to online restaurant ordering, nearly all modern transactions carry with them some kind of digital component. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend.
For most businesses, at the core of this new reality resides one vital element of the marketing funnel: a website.
That’s probably not a revelation. Your website is great for profiling past work, culture, comm defining Culture and facilitating communication.
Which leads us to the topic of this article: websites. Branding Iron has designed, developed, and deployed hundreds of them in the last eleven years. We’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to the web.
Here, we outline our philosophy, which we take all new website customers through at the start of each web design project.
1. Websites are never done
Even Dwight knows websites are never completely finished.
That’s kind of the point of them. They’re an interactive marketing tool, meaning they’re always changing. These aren’t print ads we’re talking about here, people. They’re living, breathing things that are constantly in need of updating, optimization, and upgrading.
We ask that our clients prepare themselves to continually invest effort in their website.
2. Build for the future
“I give you: iPhone.”
Just think back to 2007, before the iPhone launched: ask someone about a “mobile” website back then, and you’d probably get a deer-in-the-headlights stare. Today, mobile has surpassed desktop access, and a great mobile experience is a minimum expectation in the modern e-commerce world.
3. Design based on data
Either firsthand or found, good data can be very counterintuitive—and illuminating.
As it turns out asking users to scroll is actually a fairly low-cost behavior request if your content is quality.
The savviest interactive designers are striving for simpler, more intuitive solutions.
The lesson: the best solutions are intuitive, and designing based on data—rather than subjective preference or “gut”—will lead us all to better-performing web experiences.
Know where your traffic is coming from. How much time is spent on your site? What path would a potential client use to be able to take advantage of your offering? These answers are absolutely non-negotiable when planning your next website revisions.
4. Content drives design, and never the other way around
Technology makes amazing things possible. But don’t let that get in the way of your content.
Interactive design has entered into an exciting new era. The device you’re reading this article on likely has considerably more computing power than those available to assist with the Apollo 11 moon landing. It’s making some really cool web experiences possible. Which is awesome, except that there’s plenty of evidence out there to demonstrate that flashy interactive features can actually distract users from your intended goals when browsing a website.
So what do you do? Well, the answer is simple: allow the content to drive design, and never the other way around.
We always keep the content strategy in mind when designing a website. You have business objectives and your users have needs; your design should resolve the tension between those two objectives. We should get users from point A to point B as quickly and seamlessly as possible. And where design can support and facilitate those goals, we employ it.
What we don’t do is force content into a preconceived aesthetic, structure, or interactive device. That’s the kind of thinking that leads to poor metrics and ultimately, a website that fails to meet your expectations.
5. When in doubt, steal
Amazon’s checkout page: ugly, but effective.
We’ve all seen various versions of the old saying, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” It’s unclear who first spouted this minor brilliance, but in keeping with the spirit of the quote, we’re stealing it and applying it to website design.
Think about it: most of the sites we design are not wholly new concepts. Almost all of the problems we may face during the design process have already been solved by bigger organizations with more manpower, bigger budgets, and better resources.
Take Amazon, for example. Amazon employs hundreds of web engineers who work every day to see if they can improve the website’s conversion rates by fractions of a percent.
And while we may not be able to peak under the hood of the Amazon research machine, we can certainly see the results of their efforts: They are right in front of us. Is there any use in trying to top Amazon as far as check-out experience? (Hint: probably not.)
The world of the web is changing daily. But if that creativity isn’t paired with sound strategy, you can be left with a pretty website that doesn’t work as well as it should.
And before long, you’ll find yourself doing it all over again. Not exactly a recipe for reaching your happy space. If you want it done right the first time, Branding Iron can help. We’re usually more affordable than your other options and we always deliver a site you can be pleased to call your www.home.