At Brick Road Media 35% of our business comes from Website Design/Re-Design. When we first start discussing a website project the end goal is the top priority . If driving traffic and leads is the number one priority then functionality is the first design element that we will work on . Too many times designers go for high -end graphics and photography but forget the marketing elements that will make the page produce results . I mention this because over 90% of the clients that we consult with have marketing and page conversion at the bottom of their list of priorities . Here are the top 5 design blunders for you as a budding designer or D.I.Y to avoid. 1. Font is too small- 14pt Font is the new 12pt Font . I often see websites that use font that I have to use the control + key for, and a lot of times they are using this small font in key areas such as contact us page and in areas where the call to action is located . If I can't read it, then how would you expect the older generation who haven't upgraded to a 32 inch LCD panel screen to read your important parts? Go BIG or Go HOME! 2. Home Page is Jammed- You know these pages on talking about. The website that looks like they took the company flyer , brochure , sales presentation folder , and every other piece of literature that is ever been printed for the company and threw it in three unorganized columns with two irrelevant stock images and called this their home page . Please Please Please avoid this style at all costs . We use WordPress for all of our websites and there are several great theme companies such as Woo Themes, and Elegant Themes that will help with the layout of a good home page . To start you want to make sure that there's plenty of white space , and I recommend that you choose the three most important elements of your business or organization that you want highlighted and start with either a slider or three shadow boxes that link to the information pages about those items . Do not put the information about these items on the homepage ! Use images or icons in a short catchy phrase that will induce the user to click to learn more information . This will keep your home page clutter free , easy to navigate , and most importantly it will keep your user engaged with your website until they find what they're looking for . 3. Forms- This blunder can easily be fixed . Keep your forms to 4 Input boxes or less . There is a time down the road to get your users date of birth , social security numbers , firstborns shoe size, and Rusty the family Dog's DNA profile, but it is not in the first interaction with the user . It is better to start with name, and email and go from there. Statistics will show that your click through rates on forms increases when your fields of input decrease. 4. Contact Page- This may be more of a personal pet peeve , but it drives me crazy when I landed on a site and find the information exciting enough to want to know more and talk to someone and the only option is to fill out a basic contact form where you know the message is landing somewhere in cyberspace . What tends to happen with me, is I get the reply 2-3 days later and by then I forget what I was interested in or have already went to a competitor and purchased. That is what happens to companies that don't think of being super accessible on the web. The Best way of handling in my opinion is to give as many options to the user to contact you as possible , if such as live chat , e-mail address , phone number , hours of operation , and an expected time frame that their query will be returned . 5. Creativity before Functionality- As discussed above in the introduction you want to decide early in the project what's the main focus is going to be . If the main focus is to drive traffic and leads which is typical for most businesses, then you need to focus on the marketing functionality in the overall user experience. There will be a time and a place to input those sexy icons and that awesome photograph that you are just dying to put in the website somewhere, but trust me on this one, designing a funnel that will drive and capture leads is much more rewarding than having a cool site.
We love working on our home turf in Richmond, Indiana. The local business websites we design all have the same purpose: to get results for our clients.
Yes, a website must be aesthetically pleasing and have all the latest tools for search, social sharing, and easy content management. But at the end of the day, we teach our clients that even if a site had horrible design and navigation, yet was somehow able to bring in more leads and customers than a "pretty" site - always go for the ugly and profitable!
Fortunately, our clients in Richmond and across the country don't have to skimp on looks OR performance. Beautiful websites that attract targeted leads and customers through search and social... that's what we build. We call them "marketing platforms" rather than websites.
Many of the sites we've designed in the Wayne County, Richmond Indiana area are available for review in our portfolio. From real estate to plumbing and HVAC, to dental, nonprofits, contractors, and many other industries, Brick Road Media continues to broaden our experience with all types of designs and marketing opportunities for local businesses here and all over the U.S.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, past and present, for a great first year!
And we can't wait to work with many more local businesses in 2013. Whether on straight web designs, re-designs, or working on your ongoing digital marketing tasks, we're here to soup up your results and help you take advantage of a remarkable time in history to capitalize on everything the web has to offer local businesses!