It wasn't long ago that websites were a luxury or simply "nice to have". Now having a website as a creative professional is essential to your business.
Your ideal clients expect to find you online and get to know you before they choose to work with you. They need to see that you're an expert, they can trust you, and they can relate to you.
Most important, they need to see they will receive high value from what you offer. You need to prove you are worth their investment.
This starts with your website. Your website is your first impression to your ideal clients. Its main goal is to solve problems for your viewers. This is where you give clients value and in turn earn their trust.
Since you're looking to grow your business and offer value to your ideal clients, your website is your most valuable asset.
So how do you know it's time for a new website design?
Do any of the following sound like problems you currently have?
1. You're Absolutely Embarrassed by Your Website
Are you embarrassed when your ideal clients look at your website? Do you dread giving out your web address? This is the worst feeling in the world. Trust me, I've been there too.
Your website should be something that you're proud of. A slice of the internet that you invested in and care about. Your space devoted to helping your ideal clients.
You should be happy to give people your website and know that they're going to receive value in going there.
2. You're Unique Offering and Messaging Isn't Clear
Your ideal clients are busy, they come to your website and should immediately know what you do. Do your viewers know exactly what you do within 5 seconds of landing on your website?
Now, this is a great test to run on any website. If viewers can tell you what you do after looking at your website for 5 seconds, you're getting your message across.
Show your website to someone that hasn't seen it before. Then give them 5 seconds to view before you close it. Now ask them what they remember. Can they tell you what you do?
If not, you still have work to do.
So what does your current website tell people? Does it state your message in a way that's clear and easy to understand or does it leave them confused?
Viewers that are left confused aren't going to invest more time to figure out what you do. They need a clear understanding within a few seconds or they'll leave and never come back.
Even if viewers make it a few seconds and keep reading, you need to hold their attention. So many small businesses make the mistake of only talking about themselves and not to their audience.
Websites that only talk about your business don't help clients and to be frank, they're boring. Nobody wants to get to a website and read about how awesome you are and how many years you've been doing what you do. They need to know three things
1. What you offer
2. How it will benefit them and solve their problems
3. How do they buy or sign up
You need to tell your ideal clients exactly how your service or unique offering will help them. If they are questioning whether there is a benefit to them, they will leave and never come back.
3. Your Website Isn't Fully Mobile Responsive
How do you feel when you try to go to a website on your phone and you have to pinch and zoom to view anything? Pretty annoying right?
Websites that aren't optimized for mobile devices feel outdated. In turn, you make snap judgments about the entire company.
You often assume
- The entire company's outdated
- They haven't put effort into their online appearance so they don't put effort into their service
- You question whether you can trust them
- You question whether they are even in business anymore
These snap judgments your ideal clients are making could cost you business. Optimizing for mobile is now a major sign it's time for a new website design.
Smartphones have become a standard today. Not a luxury item that very few have. Mobile website viewers have now surpassed desktop viewers and the numbers continue to rise. In B2C businesses you can receive almost 80% of your views from mobile devices.
Not only is this important for your viewers but, also for your search rankings. Google has made it known that they crawl mobile websites before the desktop versions.
If you're not optimized for mobile you will get pushed lower in the rankings and harder for clients to find.
4. Your Website's a Simple Brochure and Doesn't Offer Big Value
Modern websites need to offer value to customers. This has become so important even Google uses this as a major factor in ranking your website. Google places a higher emphasis on websites that offer value to users.
Your content needs to be comprehensive and relevant to your audience. So speak to the problems that they're having. Most important, make sure that you have a user-focused website that is helping users solve a problem or learn something new.
5. You Aren't Generating Quality Leads from Your Website
Here is the most important factor. When done right, your website should be a lead generating machine for you. Your website is a powerful asset and should be your best salesman.
There are a lot of aspects your website should have to ensure your viewers are getting high value.
- Well planned navigation and site architecture
- Mobile design
- Valuable content that helps solve viewers problems ie. blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks
- Free offers that are valuable to your viewers
- Testimonials and social proof of the work that you've done
- Calls To Action that guide your user
- Forms or chat functions to make contact as easy as possible
Having these aspects will help engage viewers with your website. Well planned navigation and thoughtful calls to action will help guide your viewers. Show them what they want to see, don't make them work for it.
A successful website design for creative professionals requires strategic planning. Planning starts with a blueprint or map for your navigation. Website navigation needs to make sense or it can ruin your viewer's experience.
Mobile design needs to be well planned to ensure important information isn't lost or hard to find.
Your site needs to load fast and not test the patience of your viewers. Slow loading sites will annoy viewers and can cost you potential clients. Which of course means fewer dollars in your pocket.
Another aspect of websites that is often overlooked is the end goal or desired action you want a user to take. Ask yourself, what is the primary purpose of your website?
Do you want users to
- Fill out a form?
- Schedule a consultation?
- Request a quote?
- Shop products you sell?
- Try a demo of your product?
- Sign up for a free trial?
The desired action that you want viewers to take needs to be clear and easy for a user to understand. Missing the mark on this key step can be a detrimental mistake. Not having an action for users to take leaves them feeling unsatisfied and unsure of what to do next. This leads to low conversions and high bounce rates.
Now go through the list above. If you're experiencing any of the above issues it's probably time for a new website design.
Your website should be a powerful asset to your business and your career. It's your lead generating machine that works even when you're sleeping.
So if you're looking to grow your business in 2018, investing in a new website should be a top priority.
Careful consideration and planning should go into this. The first step is learning that your website can and should be doing more for you. Then you must figure out what is lacking and where your website is missing the mark.
Once you address the current problem you can then start crafting a creative strategy to fix it. Only then can you start developing a website to engage your ideal clients and provide big value.