Effective design should contain essential elements that come together to convey your business profile.
1. Minimum Pages of Content, With the Option to Increase the Page Number
An effective design will include a sufficient number of pages as standard; having at least five pages is key. This includes a "Home", "About", "Services", "Gallery" or "Testimonials" and the all-important "Contact Us" page. Having a sales-friendly and powerful footer is also seen as essential. Best of all, having a web design CMS that allows free page additions meaning any user can add more content and pages throughout the life of the website and avoids the need to rely on your agency and avoid added ongoing expense.
2. Fast Delivery...With Accuracy
A business owner will have many urgent tasks to prioritise at any instant, but having your site completed with speed and accuracy is essential. Any good web developer will impose an internal deadline, and anything from 5 to 25 business days can be expected for a standard build. The client should not be asked for information once construction has begun - it's up to the web development team to assess on the outset if anything more is needed before commencing the development.
A draft should be presented with guidance on how to complete the editing process, and give a suggested time frame. It is then for the client to efficiently present the agency's team with their edits so they can be processed.
3. Great Photos which represent the business
Establishing a web presence is an essential marketing strategy of any business; picking the right designer is only part of the success. Essential elements such as good content, SEO, images and presentation are equally important to editing access, mobile-friendly design and fast loading times. Most importantly, you have to trust your designer and ask the right questions before initiating the process. A good designer will be speedy, accurate and informed.
Our report below outlines 10 essential features a website needs, which our design team has experienced and learned from.
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Quality content is great, but having high impact is essential. An effective design must include images that are related to the core services or product, and make the design stand out. Designer mistakes often include having irrelevant images, poor quality images and/or images that having no "wow" factor and add nothing to the overall effect. For this reason, even client images can be disgarded in favour of stock images when they are likely to be detrimental to potential leads viewing you online. In short, being able to source high-impact, industry-relevant stock images to enhance the visual appeal is essential.
4. Easy Website Self-Editing
Having the ability to self-manage the content ongoing is almost essential for any small or medium sized business in Australia. The customer management service, or CMS, must be easy to follow and allow for updates and expansion in pages. Uploading new photos, text, news and various other information that needs to be displayed at a point in the future. Avoiding agencies who insist on making changes through their design teams is best, as such changes can be costly and flexibility is restricted as everything is outside of the client's control.
5. A Support Team that Supports Your Business in the Long Term!
When selecting an agency, it is essential that the after publication support is "supportive" and responsive to your needs when it comes to your ongoing questions. This should cover everything from self-management editing, SEO, adding pages to account information and domain renewals. A good company will have extensive FAQ and guidance pages to provide clients with all the information they need. Making sure your company is set up for technical assistance support will make your experience hassle-free.
6. Customised SEO Rich Content For More Customers
The best practice sees your designer research the SEO keywords that relate to your business and industry. For example, if a Psychologist clinic is based in Sydney, including SEO keywords such as "Psychologists Sydney" and "Psychologists in Sydney" (both searched for hundreds of times per month) is essential. These keywords must be included in the content for each page, to make the business more prominent in Google search results. Do not accept a proposal that talks loosely about SEO - SEO is critical and needs to be defined.
7. Automatic Mobile Phone and Smart Device Optimisation as Standard
In 2015, Google tweaked its search results method to de-rank anything that wasn't mobile friendly. When looking for a package or a redesign service, check with every quote that your design will be automatically optimised for viewing on mobile phones and smart devices, including iPads and tablets. Even without Google's changes, dynamic and mobile friendliness is essential in an age of fast moving technology!
8. Sufficient Calls to Action on every page
Encouraging contact is critical, so the placement of "Contact Us Now!" and "Get a Free Quote" boxes is now very popular and should be a standard feature on all pages.
9. Easy to Use Layout for Logical Use
Transparency is everything, and "less is more" when it comes to allowing your customers to navigate pages efficiently. To be able to extract information in a timely manner, clear layout is needed. The ideal layout is as follows:
- Header - a powerful header with a logo, contact phone and social media icons and their respective links (Linkedin, Facebook etc)
- Home - specifically covers the business, with a clear introduction, services outline and a focus on location.
- About Us - the best way to introduce the people behind a business is to make it personal and friendly.
- Services - outlining services clearly is essential. Mentioning your existing client types helps your readers establish your position in the marketplace, and is highly recommended.
- Testimonials & Gallery - words from existing and previous clients are essential, as is a separate Gallery page with recent work completed.
- Contact Us - having a contact form, Google Map and opening hours is key.
- Footer - linking all pages with a catchy teaser to contact the business is essential, as is the use of icons and industry accreditations.
10. A Trusted Provider and Valued Partner Beyond "Go Live" day
A web developer who asks questions about your business, pre-empts your questions, drafts a high impact design and writes excellent SEO friendly content will be the partner that delivers punch. Check the agency's testimonials, past work and look for businesses similar to yours in their portfolio to make sure they are releasing designs you like and see your business having. Experience is everything, so make sure you are not afraid to ask about their track record!