Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top 10 Myths About Website Design

I came across this article pointing out myths about website design.

I think it's a great start and is very inspiring for me to add my personal take to each...

Myth #10 Designing a website is Complicated and Difficult.
I love when a new client begins to describe to me what they are looking to do with their website. Either they act like the simplest things are the most innovative or complicated things in the world; but on the same token, something they believe is simple would require a lot more development time than the budget allows.

By hiring a professional graphic design firm you are hiring a personal tour guide who can lead you through the easiest path to your goal.

Myth #9 Websites take a Long Time.
For the most part designing a website is pretty easy and not dragged down by a tremendous workload that usually results in a long turnaround time. I think on average a website should take about 6 weeks to build, with the simple quick and dirty ones being completed within 2 weeks

Myth #8 The web designing professional will be creating the content.
Expecting the designer to develop your content is like asking your general contractor to pick out curtains to go along with your couch. Although they may have an idea, developing your content isn't the designer's specialty. At nopun we want to try and service our clients the best way we can, we try and help with content, concepts, headlines and intriguing promotions; but we tend to stay away from developing the actual "meat" to the content. We partner with content developers if a client is at a complete loss, but it's vital that the client comes to us with fresh content for their companies

Myth #7 My Website will be the most beautiful thing ever created.
Design is so subjective, what one person likes will be completely different from the next.
Nopun has developed a collection of inspiration sources and techniques that enables us to look at the demographics of your audience, and try and find a common "theme" that speaks to this audience. Usually, we find that the clients want to dictate what the design should look like, so many times the outcome is different from what we would suggest. So, if you trust the professional you hire, then follow their gut instead of adding your own.

Myth #6 Templates.
One of the biggest drawbacks to simple, out of the box website design solutions, is that templates usually don't come with many options. They follow the same layout and structure throughout the site's design. Unfortunately a website's purpose will change as the pages in your site will grow, so having a site that is custom designed to speak to the content of each page will far outweigh the limitations set by a typical website template.

Myth #5 I won't need to invest my own time into the development of my website.
When we develop a project timeline for an upcoming website design project, the tasks and responsibilities are almost equal on both sides. Although the client will not need to do any real design work and such, they will need to be involved with the design process from start to finish, making sure they understand and sign off on each critical milestone along the way.

Myth #4 My website will show up on the first page of each of my desired keywords.
Designing your site is very different from "optimizing" your site. There is a slew of techniques and changes that will need to be done to your site to help you score high. Most of the time these techniques are actually more involved, more time consuming and cost more than the actual development of your website. With no guarantees it will actually work, why even do it? Well the answer is, these techniques do work. And, the results can't happen unless this "optimization" is added to your website.

Myth #3 My website is all about my Company.
Of course your company will be the driving force behind your website, but for a website to be of real value to your potential clients, you must be able to supply some value added content. Give them a reason to go to your site, or give them something valuable that they can take away from your site. You don't have to become a wikipedia of your field but try to enlighten your visitor. If they are moved by the information they received from visiting your site, the hope is that they will remember you and will visit you again.

Myth #2 I don't need to improve my website.
"If you build it they will come," does not apply to website design. This is no field of dreams, once you launch your website you must be vigilant on tracking the traffic to your site. Analyze how many leads come from the site and how many sales come from those leads. If you don't, you leave your website design up to chance, and this is the one marketing tool that provides you with the most power. Launch your site then start focussing on the elements to help increase the pipeline. First with the number of visitors, then how long they stay, then reducing the bounce rate, then how many calls to action, then how many leads, then how many sales, then how many repeat business...

If you break each piece up in this fashion you will have control over your efforts and changes, and aren't leaving the results up to chance.

Myth #1 Websites are expensive.
One of the most frustrating things as a professional website designer is answering the question of how much? There are so many variables to consider. We aren't talking about a product I pull off the shelf and put into a bag for you. We need to really try and understand your business objectives, then develop a strategy to fit those goals. Lately, I have been working a strategy of let's develop a wish list of all that is needed. Then you let me know the budget you are prepared to spend and we will try and fit within this budget. It's kind of a 'name your own price game' giving you complete control over how much you will spend.

So. the question isn't can you afford to get a website? The question becomes you can't afford to not have a website.

Let me know what you think.

These Myths were inspired by this article.