Should You Design Your Own Website?
The question should you design your own website is becoming more common with the advent of DIY tools like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly, among others. These tools can absolutely help the untrained and inexperienced create a functioning website easily and inexpensively. Drag-and-Drop and WYSIWYG editors have come a long way over the last few years making website building accessible to everyone. The problem is most micro and small business owners don’t seem to understand the difference between an effective website and just having a website.
User Experience and Design
I’m admittedly a little bit of a design snob and I have flat out refused to do business with companies that have terrible websites or obviously put no value on their online presence. I’m biased but I know there are many people out there – whether consciously or not – that choose not to do business with companies because of a poor user experience online. I know this because there is an entire segment of my industry solely dedicated to User Experience (UX) Design.
What is User Experience?
The way a website looks is certainly important but that is only one aspect of website design. There are many other equally important aspects when incorporated together make for a good user experience. These include navigation, ease of use, functionality, security, page speed, quality of content, accessibility, and aesthetics.
What is a User Interface?
Often overlooked but maybe the most critical phase of designing a website is developing a site map and navigation. This determines the User Interface and content flow which is ultimately the way that a visitor will navigate your website to find what they need.
A good web design strives to be intuitive and help the visitor find what they are looking for in the least amount of clicks. Content that takes too many clicks to reach will lose you an opportunity very quickly.
Another way to lose users quickly is by having a slow loading website. A lot of DIY websites are not created with optimizing load time and images in mind. They are built by the inexperienced that focus on looks over function.
User Experience Design includes navigation, ease of use, functionality, security, page speed, quality of content, accessibility, and aesthetics. Together, these aspects determine how a user engages with your content.
User Engagement and Content Marketing
One of the biggest issues I notice with many websites is when the business writes the content for themselves, not their customers. The first thing to realize when designing your website is you are not your target audience.
One way to check how well you’ve written your content is through user engagement. You see this by checking your bounce rate using Google Analytics. Pages that have high bounce rates mean they are written and optimized poorly. Your website’s bounce rate shouldn’t be higher than 35-40%. The month of March 2018 evansdesignstudio.com’s bounce rate was 11.25%. The reasons our bounce rate is low is because our pages load quickly and our content is optimized specifically for the readers that come here.
Poorly conceived and written content not only degrades the user experience but it also limits your SEO return because you’ll either be optimized for phrases nobody is searching for or not engaging the users that find you.
Too many businesses think in terms of the products or services they offer instead of placing heavy consideration on their potential customer’s motivation. Potential customers seek out businesses because they have a need. If you aren’t speaking directly to or about satisfying their need they will bounce.
Effective Websites Convert Visitors to Customers
I spoke with a local business owner recently that has a website that isn’t producing traffic or leads. His competition is killing him and he has grown frustrated spending a lot of money on Google Ad Words and social media marketing companies. What little traffic he is getting isn’t converting.
I took a quick look at his website and there was no call to action anywhere and the content was vague and general at best. He was not showing up in any searches and his Google ads led people to pages that neither offered nor asked anything of them. There was no intent. He didn’t have an effective website. He only has a brochure online.
If you design your own website or choose a web designer based purely on price, you may save a few bucks at the outset, but in the long run, if you are serious about your business, you will find that the value of having a professional website designer with an inbound marketing professional’s insight can make the difference between just having a website and having an effective website.