If you bring up the subject of web design with small business people, it wouldn't take long to find someone who has had a bad experience with a web designer or even with one of the larger web design and hosting companies. Perhaps they have even come to the conclusion that a web site is not worth the expense. Let's look at how and why that happens, and outline some success principles that will help you when you need web design services.
One of the problems with web design is that software programs have made it seem easy to create a web site. If you have the software, and have take the time to learn how to use it, it would not take you long to build a web site. There are an abundance of inexpensive templates available to make it even easier to put together a web site. Getting a professional looking web site is not difficult at all. So you may wonder, why is that a problem?
There is a serious flaw in the web design industry, and small business owners are especially prone to fall victim to it. The problem is that often, very little business planning goes into a web site design. Too many web designers and web design companies are more concerned with selling web design than taking the time to work with individual clients and build an effective web site.
Because small business owners do not have big advertising budgets, they can be easily attracted to the low rates of some web designers and the larger companies offering low-cost packages. However, what is often lacking in these inexpensive options are the value of a web designer who will work with you to effectively use your resources to accomplish your goals.
The one element missing in web design is the very thing that is fundamentally important; that element is uniqueness. A Unique Selling Point (USP) is one of the basic tenets of marketing. You must answer the questions: why should I buy from you, and, what makes you different from my other choices?
Read your web site copy to see if it contains another common error. Does it say, "We this," and, "We that?" Do not "we" on your web site visitors! Your web site copy should speak to the visitor, address their needs, and solve their problem. It must compel them in some way. You need to draw them in and sell them on your solution.
The next principle is the one you will probably find the most surprising. People actually read web sites! Yes, they do have a short attention span, and we will look at that point next, but they do read. There have been many studies done to document the way people use web pages. Even though so much attention is given to graphics, the studies show that well over 75% of the time, web page users read the text before they notice graphics.
This does not mean that graphics are unimportant. Visual elements are one of the many advantages a web site can provide. When you consider that people use the Internet to seek information, then it does makes sense that they will read your web site's content. Providing the right information can mean the difference between winning a customer, or surrendering them to your competition.
The 3 second rule. According to web studies, if you cannot capture the attention of your visitor in approximately 3 seconds, that's how fast they usually leave your web site. This could be because so many web sites are such a horrible waste of time, that people's patience has been worn down. The solution is to have a fast loading page that quickly clues them in that you can solve their problem. If they can "skim" in a few seconds, and you grab their attention, you have successfully drawn them in so they will stay a while.
Statistically, it takes 7 visits before you make a sale. If your web site is not done well, you will have dismal results because you can't get them to come back 7 times. That is why so many web site owners are disappointed with their success. That is why some web designers provide what seems to be a bargain, while other web designers have to charge more to give you a better value. It takes more time to plan and create a good web site design.
The good news is that most of your competitors will go for the bargain and suffer the same fate as everyone else who does not realize the value of an effective web site design. Very few of them will invest the resources needed for success. If you do, you can win. This does not mean you need the big budget of a major corporation, or that it has to be expensive, it just means you need to be willing to do better than average. The rewards are much greater when you stretch beyond the norm.