Friday, October 30, 2015

5 secrets that website designers don’t tell you

By Sharon Lee

You want a website that captures interest, holds it and brings you sales.

It’s easy to say, but not necessarily simple to do. Creating a website that becomes a major revenue driver can be fun. Or it can be a nightmare.

Have you ever had a run-in with a website developer who promised you a brilliant design but all you got was a big mess? No, you’re not an expert, but you know what’s good and what’s not. You also know when you’re being taken advantage of. All you wanted was a website that would help you succeed online, and what you got instead wasn’t worth the pixels it was painted on.

In this post I will share some secrets that can help ensure you end up with the best website possible. 

1. You don’t need to spend a fortune
People say you get what you pay for, and sometimes, that’s true. But it’s not true that you need to spend your life savings on a good website. There are too many designers out there preying on your ignorance, charging exorbitant rates for their own profit. They blind you with jargon and fancy coding terms. Don’t put up with it.

Decide your budget and find graphic designers who can work within it. Look for designers that fit the style of site you’d like for your business. Visit other sites you like and see who designed them. Ask for quotes, take your time and shop around.

It’ll save you thousands of dollars.

2. Design is about psychology
A graphic designer needs to know color psychology and the associations people make with specific shades and tones. She needs to know what imagery will appeal to people, the type of people it’ll appeal to, and why it appeals to them. She needs to know what’s going on in people’s minds when they land on sites and as they navigate through yours.

Are smooth curves better than concentric circles? Is IBM blue the best color or is deep red a better choice? What will draw people to the right or the left? What emotional state should the site create? Should the design be modern and simple or colourful and bold or soft and comforting? Where do a person’s eyes travel, and what will make them stop?

Good designers know all this and much more. They understand that their goal is to influence a visitor’s psychological state of mind and perception of your business. The more designers know about how people behave, what makes them take action and ways they react to different elements, the better they can implement persuasive strategies into your site.

3. You don’t need to be totally unique.
It’s true that you need to stand out these days and look different from all the rest. The problem is that some designers take it a little too far, and they design you a site that’s so unique it breaks all the rules – and not in a good way. Your stunning site ends up being a confusing experience for visitors.

Designers need to create sites that follow web conventions and usability rules, because these are the ultimate guides to navigating your site quickly and easily. If you break them, you’ll confuse your visitors.

Shun conventions and you’ll create a visitor experience that’s similar to walking into an alien world.

4. Branding is a special skill, and not all designers do it well.
Most designers aren’t skilled in developing brand identities. They’re good at developing graphic design that reflects your brand identity, but if you haven’t supplied them with that crucial information, they’re just assuming.

They’re assuming your target market, and what appeals to those ideal customers. They’re assuming the values of your business and its marketing message. They’re assuming its personality and the type of experience your customers will have when they work with you or buy from you. You know what they say about assuming, right?

It’s far better to work with a specialist to build your brand identity before you hire your web developer. Otherwise you’ll just attract the wrong kind of people, and the entire website will be a waste of money.

5. Maintaining a website isn’t expensive.
Since graphic design and website development is usually a one-time expense, unethical providers try to loop you in as a customer they can bill every month for recurring charges.

When someone offers you an upsell maintenance package, ask what they’ll do for that money. Then go to Google and find out just how easy it is to do what they’ve offered you.

Not interested in maintaining your site? By all means, hire someone to do it for you. Just be sure you’re not being overcharged for quick and easy jobs.

Designing a website involves many factors and, when done right, produces results. There are pitfalls, however, and I’m hoping this post will help you avoid them.

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