The value of a digital presence
The importance and value of your online presence cannot be overstated! Having a professional, fast, secure and astetically pleasing website is vital to maintain brand recognition and credibility.
Your web design is your first impression
Having a website for business becomes more of a necessity each year. According to smallbusiness.com, over 70% of small businesses had a website in 2017. However, just having a website isn’t enough; it needs to have important, relevant content to the user and show that you care about quality.
One of the most important ways to do this is by having a professionally designed website. Even in a smaller metropolitan area like Vancouver WA, web design can ultimately be the difference between a customer choosing one company over a competitor.
Should I just put up a site now and make it look nice later?
A website is one of the most important tools a business has in modern times to stand out from the competition. However, putting something together in a few minutes and throwing it online isn’t enough; according to a Stanford University study, poorly designed websites have been shown to do more harm than good, and it’s better to have no site at all than one that provides a bad user experience. It might seem tempting to put a website up to start a web presence, but doing that can actually set you back more than help.
What about web builders like Wix and Squarespace?
Using a website builder is often attacked by professional website designers because they’re trying to get your business for themselves. But the reality is that using a builder like Wix or Squarespace isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What matters are what the specific goals of your website are. A personal site that you’ll use as a digital portfolio simply needs to look nice and a site builder works great for these types of sites.
However, if your goal is to create a competitive site for your business, you’ll find that the free versions are severely lacking. The most important thing that these builders are missing is search engine optimization. And while the top paid plans may claim to help out with that, having the robot algorithm of a site builder attempt to understand the robot algorithm of search engines rarely works and will cease to be effective when the search engine updates its parameters.
Can’t I design my own site and then have someone do the SEO stuff?
While it’s possible to build your site yourself and try to have a professional company do SEO for you, you’ll likely hit more walls than necessary this way and end up paying more than you need to. There’s also a good chance that part of the design you love will need to be changed regardless, because design is an important part of SEO. Because of this, the best option is often to search for someone that will do both the design and the SEO services so that they have maximum control of helping you get found while increasing conversion when potential customers do find you.
Your site needs to be mobile friendly
5 to 10 years ago, a lot professionals might have said that having a mobile-friendly site was “a good idea”, but in 2018 and beyond, mobile-ready sites are a necessity. Mobile searches now account for over half of all search queries, meaning that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you can miss out on half of your potential traffic or even more. So what makes a good mobile site? Element display and load speed are two crucial factors that can’t be ignored.
Mobile devices have screens that are significantly smaller than laptops. This means that if you use text, images, and videos with only desktop in mind, mobile users can be missing out on crucial information. Most users will leave a site in under a minuteif they don’t like something, and one of the worst offenders is having text or images off the screen so the user constantly has to scroll both left-to-right and up-to-down. And if your image or video is too large, the user will have to pinch to zoom out just to watch it; if that’s even an option!
Back in the days of dial-up, 1mb of bandwidth would be lightning fast. But with over a decade to accumulate to fast page load speed, users won’t put up with waiting around anymore. In fact, over half of mobile users will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load This means that page load speed should be a top priority, and a professional website designer knows this.
Page load speed has become so important to Google, that starting in July 2018 page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches. There are dozens of factors that go into loading speed and tracking performance is complicated, especially considering that different users have different devices and access to different internet speeds.
Responsive and adaptive web design works for desktop and mobile devices
Just because mobile devices account for most of searches nowadays doesn’t mean that desktop can be abandoned, and mobile-only sites such as m-dot sites only frustrate desktop users. To accommodate both, your site should use either a responsive or adaptive layout. While they approach the solution in different ways, the goal of both of these sites is to provide one version of the site for large screens and another version for smaller screens. This is one area where a professional designer can be invaluable, because they have the knowledge and experience to tell you which option will be best for you specifically and know how to implement it.
Be sure to approach your site design carefully
Your website is often the first impression that potential customers have of you. As many as 97% of customers do online research before choosing a product or company (In a survey asking if they did so at least once in the last year), and if you don’t have a site, you could be missing out on a substantial market. However, the site needs to be well-designed and focus on appealing aesthetics and fast load speeds so that people can trust what you say and can know that your business puts quality first in all of its interactions.