Why Your Website Sucks and How To Fix It
If you are reading this, you are either a) curious as to what this blog is about or b) afraid that our title applies to your website.
If you are the latter, then don’t worry. While we can’t diagnose what is wrong with your website (at least not in a blog), we can certainly bring up some key things you may have missed when you first made it.
You had a business plan, it involved a website, and you executed. However, just as vital as your plan is the collaboration between team players, namely marketers and designers. And while the importance of everyone else involved is never to be undermined, the purpose of this blog is show you how the operations of these two creative silos are in fact different sides of the same coin—growth. In particular, growth-driven design.
But before you can begin merging these two pipelines into a singular, quality-producing funnel, lets first break down each of their respective departments.
Ask a hundred people what marketing is, and there’s a strong chance you’re going to get a hundred answers. Some think that it’s sales, others say it’s advertising. What do we think? Well, it’s kind of all of that and then some. But at the end of the day, it’s about creating value.
But to navigate the digital landscape, one must be data-driven and analytical. We need something concrete. Factual. Absolute. We may seem robotic at times, but that’s only because we value what can be measured. We’re certainly a creative lot, but data is just our thing.
We’re regular people, I swear.
The term is fairly self-explanatory: design is what your site looks like. But it’s much more than that.
The aesthetics of a website are the ingredients that give a site (and your brand) genuine character. It’s instilling a sense of personality that really begins to shape the culture and values you hold. Every icon, color scheme, and element serves a purpose—at least they should.
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
Sometimes marketers don’t have the same eye for creativity that designers do, and some designers often dismiss the vitality of element placement on a website (you know, the all-important sales funnel). Quite frankly, this can cause some heads to butt every now and then.
It’s important to remember that these two are most efficient when they collaborate. Where web design creates the visuals to attract a customer to your brand, digital marketing makes sure that those visuals have purpose. We recommend that from the moment you decide you’re going to get a new website (redesigned or otherwise), you use your marketers and designers as a single unit (with respect to each of their specialties), regardless of who is in-house and who is being hired. Let me tell you why.
Growth Driven Design
When designing your website, you must remember that there is a careful balance of visuals and functionality. A site, without a doubt, needs to be visually attractive. Ultimately, you need to appear attractive to your customer. Whether it’s their first time visiting or they frequent your site, you must always present your brand at its very best. Your designers are tasked with this.
But all the designing in the world can’t save you if your customer doesn’t understand your purpose. As impressive as your site may look, it’s easy for the average web-surfer (is that phrase still a thing?) to get lost navigating your site. You will need a digital Gandalf to lead the way.
There are a variety of ways you can make your site marketing-friendly and ultimately transform it into a lead-generating platform for your business. Implementing an adept sales funnel (there it is again) is one such way. This means utilizing content to communicate 3 things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you do it better than anyone else
Your message needs to be easy to understand. Don’t bombard visitors with aggressive selling and pair it with blinding, eye-sore visuals, or their presence will be downsized to mere seconds. Each section of your site, especially the homepage, needs to be carefully planned and executed. Will you have a video? A form? What kind of call-to-action is appropriate? Sales funnel in place? How quickly can they take action?
No doubt, deciding these things can be a bit of a challenge. So how do you avoid these blunders?
You need your marketers to communicate vital elements to the designers who make them look good. Do this from the start, work in sprints, and leave space for backtracking because you will always need to adapt to market changes.
Growth-driven design lets you implement all the changes for your website gradually, step-by-step, on budget, and within a reasonable time frame. The main advantage GDD provides is minimizing the risks of traditional web design by implementing slight changes and testing them. This allows for gradual improvement and strengthening of your website. It’s a perpetual process that equips your website with the necessary tools it needs to succeed. The goal is, ultimately, to remain flexible. Give designers the freedom to create unique and compelling environments that still allow marketers a chance to test the waters. Let marketers communicate industry trends and data-driven goals to designers directly, who can then map out these strategies visually.
The Cliche Part In Every Blog That Uses Analogies
At a recent Technori event, Emerson Spartz made the great comparison of brands and comedians. When comedians have a joke, they test it out on a friend, then perhaps a few friends, proceed to a small venue, and eventually unleash this killing joke on an audience at some casino in Las Vegas. Businesses could learn a lot from this lesson. Too often do they skip the testing and head straight for Sin City. And when you gamble blindly you are bound to lose.
Growth-driven design is no different in that you are testing the digital waters of the marketplace before making important, finalizing decisions.
Treat your website like a joke, and the next time someone visits it, it’ll but anything but.
Christian Guajardo is CWA’s digital marketing coordinator and account manager. He spends his lunch breaks reading comics.