Have you heard yourself saying, "I don't understand? I havea gorgeous site, a really cutting-edge splash page with aflash introduction, up-to-date technology, I paid a smallfortune for this site, and ...
Have you heard yourself saying, "I don't understand? I have a gorgeous site, a really cutting-edge splash page with a flash introduction, up-to-date technology, I paid a small fortune for this site, and I'm getting plenty of hits but no one is buying or staying in the site."
Well, you may be one of a growing number of businesses, both large and small, who believed all the hype about the latest in new technology. Many business owners want their website to have that cutting-edge look, and so will ask for things such as animation, music, flash, and other "bells and whistles" that would be detrimental to their site. These extras are probably driving potential customers away because they increase download time and are not search engine optimized.
In the rush to join everyone else on the Internet, businesses have ignored vital steps in the process of getting their business on-line. They assumed that because everyone else had gimmicks such as a splash/intro page, this was the right way to go. The result: businesses chose design companies who readily took their money and who designed exactly what the client wanted without clearly focusing on marketing goals. To be fair, oftentimes the graphic design company has no idea that a site designed with all the latest technology doesn't necessary translate into a site that has the functionality that an on-line business needs. This is because the graphic design firms specialize in graphic design, not in marketing. Many graphic design sites are full of splash pages, scrolling text, animation, etc. They use these tools because it allows the graphic designers to display their creativity and their knowledge of these "bells and whistles." Creativity is good but all the latest cutting-edge technology translates into a lack of functionality to effectively market any on-line business including their on-line presence.
When having your site designed, remember that first and foremost, you are building your site to increase prospects and sales. Don't look for a graphic design firm that believes all you need to do is get in the search engines and place banners to be successful. Don't hire a designer that is new to the Internet--meaning they have years of print design experience but have just decided to expand their horizons to the Internet. Don't hire a graphic designer that doesn't have a professional copywriter or marketing person on staff and don't hire a graphic designer just because they are the cheapest. Remember, cheap can cost you money--you get what you pay for. Hire a marketing/design firm that understands the difference between form and function and can apply it in a marketing perspective. Remember, many of these latest bells and whistles are very expensive and your site may not need them to be effective.
Every single design element affects your web sites functionality and marketability--from the decision about how the navigation will work to choosing the right colors, fonts, graphics, content, HTML code, and more. These will not only influence potential customers but search engine indexing as well.
If and when youíre ready to begin your on-line presence, start with a business plan and strategy. It is essential if you really want your business to succeed. Donít be afraid to research marketing trends and investigate a marketing/design firm that will fit your needs.
If you are currently on-line but your business is not progressing as you think it should, donít be afraid to request a web site analysis. There are firms that will analyze and help pinpoint areas of your on-line presence that need improvement for a successful Internet presence.
Last, but not least, keep an open mind to what the firm offers as suggestions for making your Internet experience a profitable one. Remember, this is their livelihood, this is what they do and they have the experience to back it up.
Cheryl Carnright and Joann Marsili have over 35 years of combined graphic design & marketing experience. They are the authors of a free monthly newsletter: "B2B Marketing News." Visit their site http://www.b2bstrategicmarketing.com.