Upgrading your website hosting is critical. It's horrible to have a landing page go down because your website hosting service shares resources between hundreds of other websites.
If you're looking for a great hosting provider, Flywheel offers managed hosting services for business owners and prompt, friendly customer service.
Cluttered landing page design
Cluttering your landing page can take many forms, from providing more than one call to action to including unnecessary links, like your website's navigation menu.
Your landing page should be focused on getting people to do one thing and only one thing.
With a clean, focused landing page design, your leads will be able to take action on your offer.
Affiliate marketing campaigns do better with a content-rich website
Affiliate marketing has taken off in recent years since it's a great way to earn money by referring people to great products.
However, due to its popularity, succeeding in affiliate marketing today requires dedication and a bit of strategy to get people to click and buy the products you recommend.
After all, clicks are the name of the game in affiliate marketing. When you get people to click on your affiliate links, they’ll most likely buy your products. This is why Ahrefs Head of Content Joshua Harwick recommends using product roundups, reviews, and blog posts to drive traffic to your affiliate website.
When you create educational content around your affiliate products, you'll show the value of your products naturally, without making people feel forced into buying.
Putting great content on your affiliate website will also boost your affiliate website's rank in search engines. This means that people using keywords like "best X" or "X vs. Y" will most likely land on your website, allowing you to tell them about your amazing products.
Great content marketing requires a great user experience on your website
Thanks to the internet, modern buyers have a wealth of available comt to make informed buying decisions. Many consumers research products and services and buy without ever talking to a salesperson at all.
That is the modern version of the buyer journey.
The buyer journey is a concept that salespeople and marketers use to describe the process that buyers go through as they discover, consider, and eventually purchase products and services.
You'll find many different opinions on how many stages there are in the buyer journey, but here's a general overview:
A person experiences a challenge or problem and begins researching to determine the cause of their problem.
To attract people at this stage, you'd want to use your website to publish blog posts and videos on industry news stories and common customer problems and questions.
After researching their problem's cause, people start comparing services and products that can fix it, based on their budget, needs, and other factors.
As people start figuring out how to solve their problems, you can publish "how-to" guides, comparisons, and reviews on your website.
When you provide high-quality content that answers confusing or tricky buyer questions, people will be more likely to trust you when it's time to buy.
After narrowing down their options, people look closely at the services or products that match their needs to make a final decision before they purchase it.
Because the pre-purchase stage is the turning point in turning leads to sales, it's vital to make sure your company stands out to buyers as the superior choice. You can do this using custom website design, case studies, whitepapers, and distinguishing accreditations or certifications.
Once leads become customers, your work isn't done. After buying a product or service, people continually evaluate whether their purchase is bringing them value.
Your website can help you build customer loyalty by providing online payment options, helpful content, live chat options, and other valuable services.
Your website can help you through each stage of the buyer journey process, taking people from "interested" to "sold." No, it won't happen overnight or even in a couple of visits. But it can happen - if you do it right.
Radio and TV advertising need an optimized website to capture & retain audience interest
According to Statista, radio advertising in the United States will reach over 18 billion by 2021. Radio broadcasts let companies target specific audiences aurally, which can prove more powerful than other advertising methods.
However, it can be challenging to track your ROI on radio ads.
Sure, you can use sales numbers to measure the response rate.
But most buyers aren't ready to be sold the first time they hear about your company or your service.
In fact, modern buyers prefer to research on their own before purchasing or talking to salespeople about more specific things like pricing or timeframes.
This means that people who hear your radio ad are going to look up your company's name in Google so they can learn more before buying.
Everything from your website's load time to the ease of navigation will all influence whether people decide to stay on your website and learn more about your company.
A fast, easy-to-use website with helpful content will help you get people to contact you for more detailed information like pricing.
PR marketing gets more eyeballs with a well-designed, optimized website
Modern public relations (PR) incorporates digital mediums like social media and online brand mentions. PR has also evolved to include various branches like crisis management, community relations, and employee relations.
With hundreds of possibilities for promotion and advertising, PR professionals categorize techniques, strategies, and assets into three categories: paid, earned, and owned.
Paid media: This includes social media advertising, influencer marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.
Earned media: This includes mentions of your company in news articles and reviews, customer praise on social media, and high ranking in search results.
Owned media: This includes your social media posts, blog content, website, and email newsletters.
As part of your owned media assets, your website acts as a "home" for your online marketing activities. For example, mentions of your company, services, employees, and products will most likely link back to your website.
As a crucial part of your PR marketing activities, your website needs to be optimized to appear in search results for people that search for the name of your company and your services. You should also invest in professional website design, so your company website blends in with your company's established brand.
In social media marketing, a website helps you cut through the noise
Whether it's Facebook or Pinterest, most small businesses are using social media to promote their business.
Because social media provides instant visibility for small businesses, business owners often wonder whether a website is needed. However, there are a few ways a website can help you that a social media profile can't:
Cutting through feeds and notifications
Although social media can be a great way to connect with leads and customers, a website provides a way for you to cut through the clutter of people's feeds and social notifications.
Owning your platform vs. "renting" it
In recent years, social media platforms have come under fire for their treatment of user data and the content posted on their platform. With a website, you can control how your content is displayed and used.
If you use an open-source platform like WordPress to build your website, you'll have peace of mind knowing that you truly own your website.
Maximize your marketing efforts with a top-quality website
From PPC advertising to social media marketing, your website plays a vital role in your marketing campaigns' success. As you run advertising campaigns and lead generation activities, remember to invest in your website: it's the home base for your marketing efforts.
Basically, you should hire a website designer that can help you make a great first impression on leads by positioning your company as the more modern, professional-looking option in your industry.
A good website designer is also able to help you with search engine optimization.
While there are a lot of components to a great SEO strategy, design plays a critical role in factors that impact user experience (UX).
For example, website design affects how fast your site loads and how it appears on mobile devices. Good design also impacts site navigation, layout, and other aspects of UX.
So, how do you choose a designer that actually knows what they’re talking about?
Well, it’s best to start by creating a website brief for your website designer.
Answer These 8 Questions To Create The Perfect Website Brief
It's easier to choose a designer if you can clearly describe the kind of website you want for your business.
This is where a website brief comes in…
To make sure your project is successful, here’s what you should include in your website brief:
1. Introduce your company
In the first part of your website brief, clearly describe your company and its products and services. It’s important to realize that your website designer won’t know as much as you do about your industry or company.
This means that you need to describe your services in a way that they will understand, without letting jargon or industry buzzwords get in the way.
Also, be sure to list specific reasons why you’re better than your competitors. These reasons comprise your company’s unique selling points (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP).
A good website will present your unique value proposition in a way that tells leads why they should buy your services or products instead of your competitor’s.
2. Describe your target audience
Every website has a specific target audience. Defining your target audience is critical because it impacts the design style of your website, the words and messaging used in your website copy, and how you measure your website’s performance.
For example, a company selling products online would prioritize online sales. On the other hand, a food blogger would mainly want to get more email subscribers or shares on social media. Once you understand your target audience, you’ll be able to determine your goals for your website.
3. Discuss your website goals and objectives
Your website should do more than look nice: it should perform. Depending on your goals for your website, the metrics you use to track its success will vary.
Some common goals for a website project include:
Getting more leads
Being more accurate or consistent with your brand
Improving the conversion rate for your paid advertising success
Involved in paid advertising? When you use paid social media advertising, the quality and speed of your landing page are critical to a good conversion rate. Google AdWords even determines your Quality Score based on the quality of your landing page, which, of course, depends on the quality of your website.
4. List the technical requirements for your website
What features or functions do you want your website to have? That’s the focus of this question and it’s very important since it can be a dealbreaker (or deal maker) for the website designer you choose to help you.
Some examples of technical requirements for your website project would include:
Developing a website portal for members or company employees
Integrating the website with your company’s preferred CRM or other software
Any other website tasks that include coding or database development
5. If necessary, list out the web pages that you want for your website
Try to nail down what types of pages you need for your website. Often, new clients will ask me, “How many pages should my website have on it?.”
While there are different types of web pages, most businesses can have a successful website with the following pages:
Home page: Your homepage should introduce your company, your services, and your unique value proposition. This page should link to all of the main pages of your website.
About page: This page should tell people about your company’s background, mission, and staff members. Make sure you tie everything back to how it helps your customers.
Contact page: This web page should give people a way to contact you. Office locations, contact forms, and driving directions (if necessary) should all be included on this page.
Services page: It’s best to dedicate a page (or pages) to explaining your services for your customers. It’s best to eliminate any jargon so your services are easy to understand for your customers.
Projects (or Testimonials): Although this page goes by different names, the idea is the same: show people proof of your work. Whether it’s customer reviews or past projects, this page helps you prove your expertise and abilities.
Frequently Asked Questions: If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve noticed some common questions. This page lets you give answers to common customer questions and cut down on the time you spend answering them.
Privacy page: A privacy page tells people what information you collect from cookies and analytics. It also describes how you use that information.
404 page: If you’ve ever encountered a broken link or “Page not found” error on a website, you’ve seen a 404 page. It lets people know that a page or resource was moved. This is one page that you don’t want people to see often.
Here are some additional pages or features to consider adding to your website:
An online store: This feature is best for companies who want to use their website to sell products or branded merchandise directly to customers.
A company blog: Having a company blog is a great way to tell people about your services and company. In fact, it’s one of the first ways you can step into the world of content marketing.
Press page: If your company is frequently featured in industry publications, newspapers, or on television, a Press page is worth considering. You can display your brand’s press mentions in one place and provide reporters with important media contact information and a press kit.
Careers page: You can use online job boards to advertise job openings within your company. Larger companies have web pages that tell job applicants what positions are available and how to apply for them.
Events page: If your company frequently sponsors or hosts community events, it may be a good idea to gather that information into a page on your website. This lets potential customers learn more about your company and builds their trust in your brand.
Landing page: If you’re interested in targeting customers in a specific zip code or industry, a landing page is a great way to do it.
6. Provide website design inspiration for your designer
There are many different styles of design that can be used on your website. While you may be tempted to leave any design choices up to the designer, this forces a web designer or UX designer to guess at what you want.
Most companies looking for website design inspiration will list out their competitors or other websites they’ve seen online. This is a great idea, but it’s important to be clear about what you like and don’t like for the websites you provide.
Besides providing website links, it’s helpful to know the meanings of website design styles so you can communicate with your web designer.
Here are some common website design styles:
Illustrations & Cartoons
Providing beautiful tents to Londoners for a luxurious camping adventure, Pitch uses illustrative design to convey its classy, adventurous spirit to customers.
Using hand-drawn illustrations and cartoonish shapes and persons on your website is a great way to convey complex or abstract information to website visitors.
This type of design is often used by company brands that are built on creativity or playfulness. In the last couple of years, it’s also become more common among software companies.
Based in South London, full-time photographer Katharine Peachey uses a minimalist website design to accentuate her photography. Her website has just the right balance of text and images to immediately tell her target audience what she does. With no distracting elements, people are free to browse Katharine’s portfolio and contact her if they’d like to work with her.
Minimalist website design focuses on removing unnecessary elements and text from the website, so visitors can focus on the content. Although these websites are usually black and white, they can also incorporate other colors.
Although the minimalist design style can be used in nearly all industries, minimalist design is commonly seen on sites with e-commerce stores, portfolio websites, and some marketing agency websites.
Characteristics of minimalist design include:
Flat patterns and textures
Limited color scheme (often using three colors at most)
Using textures and patterns in your website design is a good way to add depth or context. There are various ways to incorporate textures and patterns in your website, as shown on Simply Chocolate’s website.
Simply Chocolate is a chocolate-focused company that makes healthy yet tasty products for health-conscious consumers. Using a lot of product photography, textures, and colored backgrounds lets them tell people about their chocolate in a way that communicates their company culture.
You can use pictures and images on your website to introduce people to your staff or to highlight the best features of your product.
Displaying photos of you, your company, and your services helps you establish your company’s brand and visually connect with your customers. Whether you sell a product or want to visually engage website visitors, having good photos on your website is a great idea.
7. Outline the timeline and budget for your project
A website generally costs between $500 and $7,000 or higher. The cost can vary depending on the complexity of the project, the number of pages for your website, as well as any additional services you might need, like copywriting or graphic design.
Determining your website budget before you search for a website designer will help you filter out possible designers who are beyond your price range.
8. Evaluate whether you need additional services
When you decide to hire someone to design and develop your website, it’s easy (and common) to focus only on the website design itself. However, there are many other services that will help your website be successful.
Additional services that complement a great website design include:
Logo design: It’s important to make sure you have a well-designed logo. Business cards, social media graphics, and the colors of your website are all based on your logo.
Website hosting: A good web hosting service will help you keep your website secure, and provide additional features like a business email domain and file storage.
Copywriting: Also known as content writing, copywriting refers to writing in a way that encourages site visitors toward a particular action. The words on your website, for example, can either turn people away or encourage them to buy from you.
SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving web pages so they rank higher in search results on search engines like Google. A higher position in search results means that there’s a higher chance that people will visit your site.
Graphic design: Images and graphics play a large role in establishing your visual brand. Graphic designers can help you design custom images and icons that help you look more professional and impress customers.
Website management: Without routine maintenance, your website can become hacked, have an outdated design, or show customers misleading information about your business.
Do you need a website builder or website designer?
Thanks to modern technology, there are multiple website builders available that let you create a great website using a template or predefined layout. Popular website builders like Wix provide a cheap option for businesses who just need a basic website and aren’t concerned about SEO.
You should use a website builder if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional website designer. For example, if you are starting a new business, using a website builder will help you quickly get up and running without breaking your budget on a custom website design.
Some popular website builders include:
If you decide to use a website builder, make sure to read the fine print since many platforms make you give up ownership of your website.
Understanding the difference between a web designer and web developer
Often, people use the terms “website designer” and “website developer” interchangeably. However, these two roles are different from each other and knowing the differences between them will help you make sure you hire the perfect person for your web project.
A web designer creates website mockups and graphic designs for use online. The job of a website designer is to create website mockups and graphic designs that look great on the various screen sizes of computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Website designers typically don’t code the website at all. Web designers are primarily concerned with user experience, typography choice, and other visual and design elements.
Typically, website agencies will employ both web designers and web developers so they can work with clients from website design to the website launch.
Should you choose a web design agency or freelance website designer?
If you don’t have the time to build your own website, hiring a website design expert is the next step.
As you look online, you’ll come across web design agencies and freelance designers who both seem to have the skills you need for your website project.
But web design agencies and freelance web designers offer different benefits and drawbacks that can make a big difference in your experience throughout the web design project and its results.
Advantages of hiring a web designer
There are two main advantages to hiring a freelance designer: cost and flexibility.
Since freelancers can set their own rates, working with a freelance website designer can cost you less than if you hired a web design agency.
If you need a budget-friendly option, a freelancer may be worth considering for your project.
Since freelancers are one-person shows, they can set and adjust their schedules more flexibly than a typical web design agency.
If you want to work with someone on a one-to-one basis, a typical web design agency may not be the best fit for you. After all, most agency owners delegate client interactions to an account manager, rather than doing it themselves.
Disadvantages of working with a freelance web designer
There are two main drawbacks to hiring a freelance designer: accountability and capacity.
When hiring anyone, you most likely have one major concern: accountability. Specifically, you want to hire someone that’s reliable, experienced, and well-respected in their community or industry.
If you hire a freelancing website designer, you risk choosing an amateur who may not be skilled enough for your project. In contrast, a web design agency has to support a team which means they’re more inclined to hold themselves responsible for delivering a top-notch website.
When you hire a freelancer, you depend on one person to handle your website project from beginning to end.
On the other hand, hiring an agency gives you an entire team of experienced designers, developers, and managers to handle your project. This ensures that if something happens to one team member, your website project will still be completed on time.
Advantages of hiring a web design agency
There are two primary advantages to choosing a web design agency: experience and credibility.
While freelancers may get involved in a variety of projects, hiring a web design agency gives you access to a team of graphic designers, website developers, and SEO professionals, and more. Often, these professionals have been in their respective field for many years, meaning you’ll get well-informed insights and advice from them throughout your web project.
Freelance designers can work on their own terms and may not be as tied to completing a website project as a web design agency. This is because a web design agency is often more established within their city and community, which means that they'll be more inclined to produce work that upholds their great reputation.
Disadvantages of hiring a web design agency
There are two main drawbacks to hiring a web design agency: larger investment and slow-moving bureaucracy.
Working with a web design agency, you’ll usually need to invest more than if you’d hired a solo website designer. This is because agencies typically bring multiple branches of expertise to your website, including user experience (known as UX), search engine optimization (SEO), marketing expertise, and more.
Having access to an expert team of web designers, web developers, copywriters, and other marketing professionals can provide immense value throughout your website project. However, working with a large agency also means that decisions and deliverables will need to pass through many more hands than with a smaller agency or freelancer.
This can cause website projects to drag on for months or even years. If your company is hierarchical as well, this may not be a problem. But smaller businesses or solopreneurs may find their patience wearing thin as the project progresses.
Look in these 7 places to find a website designer for your website project
When you’re looking for the best designer to build your site, you should look at online reviews and testimonials, browse each designer’s portfolio, and research the payment and contract details.
When you’re searching for a web designer, check out the number and quality of their online reviews. Testimonials and reviews let you get a glimpse of a designer’s quality of design work, how reliable they are, and their overall reputation online.
If there are negative reviews, it’s a good idea to read the top reasons why past customers were concerned. Most credible companies who are active online will respond to bad reviews online to apologize or offer a solution or explanation.
Reading through a company’s responses to good and bad reviews can help you learn how the company deals with negative customer feedback.
It’s true that you can’t please everyone, but if you spot recurring themes, it may be a red flag that you shouldn’t hire that web designer or agency.
So where should you look for a website designer or web design agency?
1. Friends, family members, & business partners
Well, the first place to start looking for a website designer is with your friends, family, and business partners.
If anyone in your circle of friends and family has had a great experience with a specific website designer, it might be worth hiring them for your own project.
However, as you get recommendations, make sure that the website designer is experienced. Many times, I’ve had clients hire my web design agency to redesign a website that was designed by a friend as a favor.
In addition to asking family, friends, and business partners, here are a couple of review platforms to search for a great website designer or web design agency:
As you search in Google, local options will appear with the designer’s number and quality of reviews.
A fast-growing platform to find high-quality, US-based service providers, UpCity lets you search for local and national service companies based on ratings, testimonials, and services offered.
As a global freelancing platform, Upwork lets you search for website designers in any city, region, or country. If you don’t mind working with someone virtually, this can provide you with many more choices for a website designer.
Designed to speed up the process of finding freelancers and contractors, Fiverr offers budget-friendly rates for having freelancers complete specific, one-time projects. While Fiverr does have ratings, and you can filter by country.
Though similar to Upwork, 99designs is an online marketplace that exclusively features freelancers who create logos, graphic designs, and websites. You can either work directly with a designer or create a contest and accept submissions from multiple web designers.
While not as well known as Upwork or 99designs, Toptal is another online marketplace that lets you browse freelancers who offer various services, including web design. Toptal boasts a rigorous screening process, which it says eliminates 97% of its marketplace applicants.
Narrow down your list of potential designers with these questions
For business owners, it can be challenging to know the difference between a good web design portfolio and a bad one. When you’re hiring a website designer, it’s best to determine whether their portfolio matches the style you want for your new website.
Some designers focus on designing for companies in only one industry while others design for companies in any industry. This can be good or bad, depending on your needs.
Your business is unique. Your web designer should understand that and design a website that meets your specific needs.
How much do you charge for websites?
Asking web designers this question may unfortunately get you vague answers. This is mostly because most agencies and freelancers charge for websites based on hourly rates.
This is a legitimate pricing model that works well for website designers, but it can make it hard for you to nail down a specific price as you search for someone to help you with your website project.
A typical web agency or designer will ask you some questions about your website project, then send you a proposal. Or, they may have monthly website management plans that include website design services.
Either way, getting a clear idea of the cost at the onset will help you quickly rule out designers that are too cheap or too expensive for your website project budget.
Can you explain how you build websites?
Next to payment and experience, asking about the website quality and build process is critical before working with a web designer.
Before you put any money down, you should be confident that you are paying for a well-designed website that will help you achieve your business goals.
Looking at a web developer’s past website projects can give you an idea of their quality. But asking the web developer directly about their design process and website quality will give you a better idea of whether you’re working with a professional designer or an amateur.
Have you worked with other companies in my industry or on similar projects?
When you’re choosing a designer to build your website, it’s vital to make sure that they have experience with your type of project beforehand.
For example, if you want to let website visitors register for events on your website, ask your designer to show you examples of websites they’ve developed with a booking and registration feature.
Even if a web developer doesn’t have experience with building a specific integration or feature, a professional will be able to walk you through how they’d research and build that feature into your website.
How can I keep my website updated after the website project is done?
Even perfect websites need to be updated as your business changes and grows. Most agencies will require hefty invoices for small changes and website updates. Other agencies will insist that you handle any post-launch website changes yourself.
At AMARQUEZ, we handle website design, website updates & changes, and search engine optimization for one flat monthly fee. This makes us a great option for companies who want a long-term partner to handle their website support and optimization.
How will you measure whether my website is successful?
Ultimately, your website needs to work. Even a pretty website is worthless if it doesn't help you rank online or persuade leads to contact you or buy from you.
Talking to your web designer about how results are tracked can help you determine whether they really understand your needs for your online marketing.
Next steps? Hire a web designer so you can succeed online
Now that you’ve learned how to choose the right web designer for your project, it’s time to get out there and find a web designer who’s as committed to your online success as you are. Then, you’ll be ready to start transforming your company’s online presence.
7 Reasons Every Business Needs A Website In 2020
“Why can’t I just use paid ads on Google or Facebook to get more leads and sales calls?” is a common refrain we hear from many business owners. Well, in this article, I'll discuss 7 reasons why every business should invest in a website in 2020.
1. Customers expect credible businesses to have a website
In 2020, people are skeptical of any business that doesn’t have a website. The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report showed that 62% of people won’t consider businesses without a website. Whether you’re big or small, not investing in your online presence can cost you many customers.
More businesses are investing in online marketing and website design. It’s critical that you invest in a website design that stands out online so you can keep up with your competitors.
3. People use websites to learn about businesses
Because they sell products online, e-commerce companies obviously need a website. But a lot of service companies struggle to understand a website’s benefit. However, even if you don’t sell products online, a website can tell people about your business and your services.
Often, your website is the first contact with your potential customers. Whether you sell products or services, your website can answer many common questions from customers.
Answering common customer questions on your site will cut down on the time that you and your staff spend on the phones. With proper design and development, you can sell people on your services before they talk to your sales team.
The best part is that information about your services and business are available 24/7 to provide value to your customers. This saves you and your staff the time you’d spend answering repetitive questions and lets you focus on other aspects of your business.
4. Even buyers in industrial, manufacturing and B2B spaces are influenced by online content
Many times, companies in industrial or manufacturing sectors believe that their company doesn’t need a website because it wouldn’t make a difference with their customers. However, Google’s 2018 research showed that buyers used Google searches, product specifications in online catalogs, and other digital content to make their final purchasing decisions.
5. A great website lets you display reviews and testimonials.
You could rely on review sites such as FourSquare, Yelp, and others to host reviews for you. But, showing reviews on your site builds trust and lets people read what customers have said about working with your company.
Since people are already looking for you online, it's best to include reviews and testimonials on your website.
6. Digital marketing is more measurable than print advertising
Websites bring a better return on investment than other forms of advertising. If you’re planning to market your business, a website should come first. You can measure your investment in digital marketing channels using tools like Google Analytics.
Having a website can also help you save on printing marketing materials. Everything that you would normally print you can now provide on your website. For example, you can display coupons or a product catalog on your site, so they're always available.
7. People judge you based on your website design
People have so much information available to them online that they make split-second decisions to filter through it all.
In fact, it takes less than 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for people to form an opinion about your website. Within seconds, people judge your website and decide either to stay on your website or leave for a competitor.