It’s that time of year again. New budgets, new goals, and new strategies. If you plan on getting a new website built in 2017, here are some things you should ask your designer about before signing on the dotted line.
Mobile First Design
Look around. How many people do you know who use their smartphones to access the web? How many times have you used your phone to look up directions or hours or a phone number to a business you’re already on your way to? Over 60% of all web traffic is now on our phones. If your designer isn’t talking about things like “responsive design” or “mobile design”, you need a different designer.
A Future Proof Website
A lot goes into a modern website. Long gone are the days of a handful of HTML files, some stylesheets, and images. Feature-rich websites that allow clients to update their own content and deliver content dynamically are where the world has gone. Over time, things start to break down. Generally, a quality website has a shelf life of 3-5 years before you should start considering an update. Your designer should have a plan for maintenance and updates for those years.
Deliver Great Content
There used to be all sorts of tricks about how to get to the top of the page when someone searched for businesses like yours in your area. Almost none of them work anymore. The tools that search engines use to figure out where to put your site are so advanced that there isn’t a way to cheat anymore. They’re looking for three things now, speed of the site, correctness of the underlying code, and, most importantly, quality content. You can’t cram a bunch of awkward keyword phrases at the bottom of the page anymore. Make sure you spell out clearly what you’re selling, where you are, and how you can help them with their needs. Your designer should take care of the rest.
Tell a Story
Expanding on “Deliver Great Content,” tell people a story. Chances are, they already know what you do. If they searched for “Dentist,” and found your website, they know you’re a dentist. There is no need to tell them that you’re a dentist and that you offer standard dental services. If you do something above and beyond what is normal, be sure to include it in your story. Tell people why you do it, though. Why are you a dentist? What drives you to be the best in your field? What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are now? What sets you apart from other dentists in your area? Let people form a connection with you.
So often we see websites with bunches of buttons and tons of links telling visitors to “click here” and “call now.” It all gets lost. You need a clear message and you should have a prominently placed phone number and call to action, but too many of them just overwhelms visitors. Think signal vs noise. You want people to get the signal with as little noise as possible. Declutter, use a lot of white space. Make sure that every bit of information on the website is important and serves a very clear purpose. If you don’t absolutely need it on the page, get rid of it. Good design is about what you leave out, not how much you can cram in.