7 important questions for attractive website design
7 important questions for attractive website design
I’ve made a decision. I’m moving. No, not my house. My workspace or rather my virtual workspace. While my home of www.johngkent.ca has been great, I have realized I am trying to do too much with it. In fact, my web guy said that it looked a little too Chinatown.
That got me thinking about what a website is for and what I should do with my website design. Do I stop promoting my novels? Or do I take my blogging down the road?
The decision for my website design became after I answered these questions.
1. What are you selling?
It seems like a silly question, but it’s one many people don’t understand. Let’s put it this way. Why are you building a website? Are you selling a product? Service? Is it all about the content? Answering this question will go a long way to answering the questions below. If you are selling a product or service face to face and need a website as a handshake for those people who come through your virtual door then you don’t need to blog about it. But if you’re choosing a blog for your website design, you have to know what you’re hoping to accomplish. Are you building traffic so you can convert a portion of them into paying customers on your premium access site? Or is your website design for building traffic to sell advertising on your page?
2. Do you ad or subtract?
There was a time when advertising was the greatest thing you could have on your site. Who wouldn’t want passive income to pay for the website?
Then people started asking themselves why they would advertise for other companies on their site. That’s like putting up a billboard with a television showing other companies’ commercials isn’t it?
But now, we’ve come back full circle. The blog format lends well to advertising. For my new blog about business advising, I must think about the nature of my traffic to determine if I will add ads to my website design though not in the beginning because you must have a certain level of traffic. The goal then is to have enough traffic that your selling advertising space akin to the traditional newsprint media. Your content is the lure, not the end game. A hard pill to swallow for an author, but then you have to look at it in dollars and cents not whether you are comfortable with the process.
On the other hand, I’m part of a project for the website design for my in-laws’ new CSA farm. Even if we go with a blog for that page, the intentions are to bring people to their physical door. We don’t expect the kind of traffic that I do for my business blog. Their intentions are to convert people into customers for the market garden. The blog is the dessert, a gift to show people how the process starts, how to cook the perfect pumpkin pie, and perhaps a few tips on growing yourself some extra tomatoes or pumpkins.
3. What is the best url?
Does johngkent.ca speak to you as a business and sustainability advisor? It is what I am, but as you can see from some of my other posts about my farm or my speculative stories, I am trying too much. Not too much in general for website design, just too much for one site. So I have to ask, do I send my speculative fiction to another sight or perhaps a shared host like Weebly or blogger? Or do I come up with something like businessadvisor.ca? And for that matter what’s the difference between .ca and .com and .org?
As a Canadian, I am drawn to the .ca, but it is choosing to cut your audience in half or worse. For some businesses, it works. My farm www.kenviewfarms.ca can’t export meat to the U.S. or Australia. The .ca isn’t limiting because my market isn’t outside of Canada.
The website design for an advising and blogging for businesses however is a different story. I want my site to be searchable by anyone around the world, but specifically in North America, both Canada and the U.S. When someone looks up business plan advisor or some variation thereof, I want them to find me. Google however will push my site on Canadians primarily if I choose a .ca. In my search for a URL however, I am finding limited options. My search goes on by adding “a” or “the” or “tips” etc. etc. appended to the front or back of my URL to ensure I get a .com.
4. Do you SEO or not?
OK so remember that searchability? Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website come up number one in the ranking when someone searches for your product or service. How do you rank with respect to your competition? Do you want to rank high or do you need that traffic? For now, my audience comes through my social media posts and word of mouth. My goal however is for people to find me in the vast world of the Internet. SEO in my website design will make that happen. SEO can be relatively simple in a small market, but the time to do upkeep can grow as Google continues to change the rules. That said Google changes the rules so searchers get more of what they want.
5. Do you use business card or dynamic style?
There are two primary types of website design. On the business card type, like my farm site, you get a definition of what the company is selling and a contact page. If you look tomorrow there won’t be anything new. On a dynamic website design like a blog however, you will see new content as often as you click refresh on some sites. As an added bonus for that SEO, more pages = higher rank. The blog website design becomes interactive as people comment, whether with happy or angry sentiment. Just be careful if you travel down the blog road. Customers expect you to keep adding content. Skipping a week or two may not seem bad, but when you log onto a site and don’t see any new content you ask yourself why you came. If you’re selling advice then you can’t get off the train while it’s running because you are the train. Without your content, you don’t have a site.
6. Do you make it yourself or have it professionally done?
I was pretty proud of my first webpage. I took the time to code it in HTML. I had boarders and multiple pages. I’d say it took me about two months to create in my after hours. And by that, I mean pouring over code until two in the morning and getting excited with every small win as the site came to life like Frankenstein. When I had that webpage redone however, it was awesome. My provider used research data to back up his claims for website design, proven systems to achieve my goals. Things that wouldn’t work were scrapped or adjusted until what I got was art.
Today when I look at a new page there are programs like WordPress available to bring your vision to life. You can sit down and adjust things until the beast rises. For me however, I will be the first to admit that sometimes it’s about living on an island and sometimes it’s about getting expertise. While I can fine tune and adjust WordPress, I will continue to use Clickhelp for the back end build. They understand website design and I just can’t that pass up.
7. Do you have goals?
It seems like an odd question to throw in at the last, but like everything else, it’s a loaded question. What I’m really asking you, is whether you have well defined short and long term goals and if you have written those goals down. As with any plan, without quantifiable goals you only have a wish list. The goals help you keep focused. They give you something to strive for. They tell you if you’ve made a difference. Sometimes the goal is to become self-sufficient. As an end goal that’s great, but what smaller steps will you achieve to make that happen? By defining your success you won’t wake up every morning asking yourself why you keep doing it.
Bonus question number 8. Is your webpage part of a bigger marketing framework?
No one lives in vacuum, nor can your website design. How big is your marketing plan? Do you use social media? Which ones? Choosing the right social media platform depends highly on your target market. Different demographics use Twitter and Facebook differently. Knowing who your target market is will dictate how much time you spend with different platforms, but spend time you will have to. Doing some research into your field will go far into how much time you will have to spend.
In today’s marketing world, a business can’t go without a webpage if you cater to a market larger than one customer. If you want people to look for you or even to find you by accident then you have to craft your website design appropriately. In your process you have to ask yourself a lot of questions to make sure what you envision is what you achieve. For me, I am splitting my site in two, my author site remaining, while my business site will preview in the coming weeks. What’s your secret to Web success?