Having a website that looks great, but does nothing for you or the end-user, doesn’t work. Every brand has a website for a reason – getting found online, selling products in a store, generating leads from a contact form or request for quote form. Whatever your reason is, your website has to accomplish that function to be viable. If you don’t feel like your site’s design is doing that for you, maybe it’s time for a new website.
Understand that there’s a wide variety of different elements to a website. Your function could be one of the easy ones we described above, or it could be a purpose that’s more abstract. Perhaps you want to show clients all of the awesome work you do? You can use your website to showcase your portfolio. Not only will an up-to-date portfolio help generate new traffic, but it gives you an opportunity to send existing or prospective clients to your website with a purpose.
Here's the thing...
Of course, every website should, at the very least, look good. However, don’t put the cart before the horse. Take a look at your business goals, and see how the website can fit into them as a marketing piece to your larger puzzle.
So, what do you do?
“But we are strictly business to business. We won’t ever get a client from a random Google search.” You may not get a lot of searches, but there’s still a wide variety of different functional items you can accomplish with your website, regardless of industry. We have clients that try to encourage users to use a cross-reference chart they’ve built, or others just to get pricing options, others still just to sign up for a company newsletter. Just because your website isn’t your primary 24/hr salesman that many businesses use it as, doesn’t mean that your website just needs to look good, and that’s it.
Every business has a product to sell. Every business wants to present themselves in a certain way to clients or customers. Your website should be an active extension of that marketing arm – a tool to be used routinely, not just a standalone thing.
The most effective way for your website to generate value for your business to is to have it fit into your other efforts as a complementary piece. Are you trying to sell products in your store? Why not try to sell them online to reach more people than your brick & mortar store? Are you trying to retain existing customers for your service industry business? Why not offer promotions or exclusive deals through web-interactions? A website is multipurpose enough to fit into a wide variety of different goals.
This idea is why we always preach “usability” to our customers we work with. It may look awesome and be incredibly engaging to have an on-hover multilayer parallax with a double-exposure video playing on top, but if that piece slows the user down from whatever the function of the website is, then lets not do it.
When approaching your website, whether it’s a new website build or working with your existing site, try and think through the purpose – the function of your site, and what you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing your end goal can drastically change the way your website is designed in the first place.