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Web Design: Crushing the pessimism

This article talks about 6 fundamental requisites when producing and maintaining a successful website, and some of the challenges you might face

Greg: A pessimistic web design client

Greg, shown to the left, is an imaginary client of ours who’s somewhat pessimistic and doesn’t always want to follow our advice. We’ll listen to Greg’s concerns and offer some practical arguments.

#1 Commission a professional, user-friendly design

Greg says: I can’t afford expensive designers, I can build my own website.

Our thoughts: Building your own site is OK if you only require a limited number of pages within an off-the-shelf template. If you want something more unique or involved it’s usually better to hire a professional. Several year’s worth of experience can’t be bundled into a simple package that will produce a website with a few clicks of a mouse.

#2 Remember that content is King

Greg says: People don’t want to read lots of text, I’ll just include a few pictures instead.

Our thoughts: If someone’s interested in your product or service, generally they’ll consume as much information as you’re willing to provide. Both Google and regular visitors enjoy reading content – a few paragraphs of text isn’t going to cut it.

#3 Update and add new content regularly

Greg says: I don’t have time and my business isn’t interesting enough to continually write new content.

Our thoughts: Why would Google, or anyone for that matter, take an interest in a website that doesn’t change for years on end? Set-up a blog on your website and make time to update it (or delegate the job). No matter what your business, there’s always something to write about. If there isn’t, then you probably wouldn’t be in business right now.

#4 Consider hiring a copywriter

Greg says: Why pay someone to do something I can already do myself? I got pretty good grades in English at school, I can write my own copy. Here’s a headline I wrote just now: ‘Established in 1980 we employ over 20 people and offer a range of skincare lotions, creams, anti-ageing gels and face masks.’

Our thoughts: The above headline is ‘ego driven.’ Nobody cares how long you’ve been established or how many people you employ if your product or service is inferior or bad value for money. Here’s a better alternative:

“Try our award winning skincare range with free delivery and a 30-day money back guarantee.”

#5 Consider hiring a photographer

Greg says: I don’t like photographers. I’ve just bought a new iPhone and it has a fantastic camera, I’ll take my own photos.

Our thoughts: Sadly Greg’s iPhone doesn’t come complete with studio lighting nor a degree in photography. If you need product or application shots you can’t beat the impression that professional photographs will create. If you only need “lifestyle” images, purchasing stock photography can be an alternative and cost effective method of acquiring professional looking images.

#6 Engage with your customers and potential customers using social media

Greg says: Facebook’s for kids, my customers don’t use it.

Our thoughts: Facebook is appropriate for some audiences. Other social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are used by different types of people and allow you to engage with your customer base. Whether you talk about your latest blog post, a special offer you’re running or a new product that’s about to be released, social media provides an excellent (and free) method of doing this.