How important is website design in digital marketing? The short and simple answer to this is very. Your website is the centre of your business and where any client or potential client, customer or potential customer, will visit at some point. Whether this is to find out more information on your services, to purchase anything from your business, to make a booking or to find contact details. The last thing you want as a business is to be disappointed by sales or bookings because you have an amazing marketing campaign but a website that doesn’t show the same standards. Whether this is to do with website speed, navigation around the website or pages and buttons on the website that just don’t work.
If your website isn’t getting the results that you would like and isn’t performing up to the highest standards possible, then it may be time to think about a website redesign. If you do think you need to go down the path of redesigning your website, there are a few things you need to consider. These are the types of factors that you need to discuss with your website designer and ensure that all changes make a positive impact overall. The last thing you want is for a new website design to perfume worse than before.
Firstly, you need to define who your website is for and who your target audience is. Then once you know that, you can build your website designed around what you want. So, ask yourself, is it for:
Once you know who your target audience is you can build a persona for each segment and create a journey around what your users do on your website. This will then help you determine how users get to your site as well as how they navigate around your website to each product or service.
Take some time to understand your target audience and how they behave before you start to make any changes to your website. The best way you can do this is by testing out a few ideas on your website before you change anything. Ask your website designer to create the landing pages for your marketing campaign and then you can run A/B tests with your email or ad campaigns to see what ends up being more effective overall. After that you can then make other small changes to the pages call to action (CTA) to then understand what works best for your audience. After you've collected all of your data, you can use it to build the best website for you and your current/potential users.
Defining your Websites Goals:
Outlining the purpose of your website in regards to your marketing strategies in order to define the objectives. These strategies can include sales, brand awareness or lead generation and all of these objectives should be the centre of any website redesign. This is why when choosing a website designer, asking them if they could specify how their designs will potentially meet your objectives is important.
Another important factor is to measure out your Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) for each of your objectives. These could be based on how much time customers are on a page, keywords used, rankings, bounce rates, visits etc…
Overall, to ensure that you meet all of your goals for your website you need to consider:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
User Experience (UX)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
Search Engine Optimisation, also knows as SEO, is all about increasing your visibility on searches. This is done by increasing both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website, as well as exposure to your brand in a none paid manor - also known as organic. Essentially, you want your website to be seen under relevant searches, as the majority of website activity starts from a search engine.
A quick response website is a necessity, especially that in this day and age more than half of online searches are on a mobile device so you need to keep this in mind. However, you must also consider that there is a wide variety of devices that this needs to be compatible with, whether that’s a iPhone (also depending on the type of iPhone), a Google Phone, a Samsung etc.
If you are trying to search for a particular product or service from your phone and a website that you click on takes a while to load, most people will just go back and find another website. We are brought up in a generation now where when we went to know or find something, we want to be able to do it straight away. So a website with a slow response won’t help with your sales, especially if that generation is what you are focusing on.
However, any changes that you may make to your website can affect your SEO performance, whether this is making it better or even worse. This can lead to impacting your rankings in each engine such as Google and Bing. Whatever changes you do make to your websites, you need your SEO to change along with it to positively impact your site. That means a good design will have to take in some considerations such as:
Structure and navigation
You want your website to be easy for users to navigate around and this also leads to computer bots being able to make a map of the website from when people use it.
The content of your website is as important as the structure and navigation. The more and better quality content you have will increase the chances of your website being found on search engines and this is normally due to you having more accessible information. In a simple explanation, whenever you add new products, article or blog, for example, to your website, this is then another page that Google can use to rank you on search engines.
This isn’t as important as physically being able to use your website, but still something that should be considered. By making your website aesthetically pleasing will firstly just look good and secondly user are more likely to trust you and your website, leading them to come back.
With SEO, it’s important to input metadata and alt tags as this provides more explanation for pages, products and images. This gives Google more information on the page. Also on SERP, the page title and the meta description are the first thing you’ll see and can determine whether people click on your website or not.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO):
CRO is the process of users going through the desired action from enhancing your website and all its content to increase conversion rate (CR). This conversion doesn’t have to be a product or service purchase in particular, it just depends on your objectives. These conversions can be:
Contact Form Submission
This means when designing your website, you want your users to be driven towards these call to actions. That is why having an experienced website design team can lead to a higher standard website as they know how to balance efficiency with aesthetics. If you know the basics of what you want and need before they make a start on your website, they then have the time to include all of your objectives in the planning stage. You will then be in the best position for your websites CRO.
User Experience (UX):
This one should be self explanatory by the name ‘User Experience’. However, if you still aren’t sure on the specifics, it’s about focusing on satisfaction for the user. What happens it that search engines try and link up what users wants with the best and most relevant websites and this is by using UX. So when you do convert your website over to the new one, you want this new site to consider the user journey. This is why you want your website to be simple and easy to use which will make your users time on it seem worthwhile to them. User experience is so important when it comes to website design and it is closely linked with SEO and CRO too.
As we know, an aesthetically pleasing website is important as it is one of the first things that your users see and if they appreciate the look, they will have a higher emotional response to it. However, the issue is that lots of websites out there take looks over how it actually functions, and this can be dangerous for them. If a user is using one of these types of websites and pages take too long to load, or the website itself is difficult to navigate, that user is unlikely to stay and possibly won’t come back.
Users in this generation also have very high expectations of websites loading fast. When designing your new websites you need to compress files such as images and videos to a limited size. This is an important factor to be aware of before you redesign your website as once you have made it and it’s up live, it’s difficult to back-track. Another important factor for UX is navigation, as I mentioned earlier. If a user is searching for a particular product for instance, if they can’t find what they are looking for because your websites is difficult to use they might end up leaving your website and going to your competitors. Navigation links in with responsiveness, especially when it's on a mobile device as some forms, such as contact or payment, don’t function correctly. This is another issue that may lead your users to leave your website and go to a competitor.
Your brand identity is what speaks volume on your business. Most users will get a first impression of your brand from your website. This is why it’s important, firstly to for everything to work correctly and in a simple and easy manor, as this will allow your users to trust you and your business. Secondly, the better your website looks, the more trust you will get from your users which leads to returning customers. If a user has a bad experience on your websites, especially if it is the first time they are on your websites, this will reflect badly on your as well as your brand.
If you highlight yourself and your brand on being efficient as well as simple and easy to use, then you need to make sure your website conveys this. Navigation, aesthetic and functionality all need to be focused on as well as everything else to build a good website. Make sure you have briefed your website designer on all your values and guidelines so they are building the best website for you and your business.
Analytics and Monitoring:
Unfortunately your website will never be ‘perfect’. There will always be something that needs to be updated or changed for the performance of your website to be optimised. As you want profitable actions to come from your website, this means you need to know what parts of your website is performing well, and what is lacking. This is where analytics and monitoring come in. Every part of your website can be monitored and you should definitely put some time aside to spend trying to get an understanding of your users and their journey around your website. It is good to know what pages users go to and then to see what pages aren’t getting enough, or any, traffic.
The easiest way to do this is by using Google Analytics and you can complete free crash courses online to make sure you are achieving as much as your can from your website.
Having a website is more than just designing a basic site and just hoping for the best. It requires a lot more thought to make sure it works at a high standard and keeps users coming back. Also, to support your Digital Marketing activities, you need your website to function properly. You may notice that other marketing platforms you have, such as emails, and then social like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, aren't as active due to a poorly designed website.
However, if you do wish to redesign your website, or you are thinking about creating a website for your new business, please make sure you know about everything that needs to go into a good website. It’s not always just about what you see physically on the website, the properties behind the website are as important, but people don’t consider them as they can’t see it and this is when websites fail. If you are choosing to hire someone to create your new website, be sure you are hiring someone that is qualified and experienced as well as knowing what they are doing, especially if you do want a good website made. Be sure to cover everything you want on your website, both of what you can see and can’t see, before your web designer starts the process.
Tip *If you aren’t sure why your website isn’t working as well as you would have hoped, you can do an audit to see what it is that is missing and fix it.*