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Your B2B website strategy boils down to figuring out what your current and potential customers want online and then meeting that desire online. As more small businesses continue to launch or upgrade their Web presence, we’ll have to learn a few things in order to maximize that digital migration. You have to prepare your website and that starts with understanding what your current and potential clients want from you online and then giving it to them. Sounds simple enough…
Ultimately, your Web design is not about your favorite things. It’s about clearly and simply relaying a message that connects with your visitors in 2 seconds or less. Your visitors what to know:
- What you have.
- What you can do for them.
- Who you are.
- That they can trust you and your message.
Ten years ago, building a quality e-commerce website was a highly expensive proposition. You had to hire an outside firm to do it. Today, businesses can use any number of open-source platforms to build a complex, yet relatively inexpensive website.
But just because you can do it yourself, should you?
I say no. It’s too critical to your business not to get right. These cookie-cutter websites that people are peddling may be fine for some kid with a blog or a pizza parlor looking to put their menu and phone number online, but for most businesses, they just look unprofessional.
Here’s the thing about cheap, template-driven websites: They look like every other cheap website out there. And that cheapens your brand. It makes you look like you don’t take your marketing and messaging seriously.
Custom designs are always going to cost more but the result is something you’ll never get from a generic template: a site that’s been designed to drive real business for you. That requires a team of people including an information architect, a designer, a front-end coder, a back-end developer, a quality assurance expert, and a project manager to coordinate all of the work.
But first, you must find the right design team. Look for one that understands your business and how to best promote your business online. When you are interviewing potential designers, make sure they can point to specific case studies of successful projects they have completed for other clients.
The design process should always start with a planning phase: That’s when your designer should demonstrate an understanding of your business, the competitive landscape, and the goals for the project.
This is followed by the design stage, where your team will map out the look and feel of the site and lay out the navigation and functionality requirements.
Finally, after all of the site specs are agreed upon, the front and back-end coding will begin. At this stage, the quality assurance process tests the site’s functionality across a variety of browsers.
It’s not a fast or cheap process. (And, by the way, it doesn’t end there: The next step involves driving traffic to it with sound marketing strategies.)
If want to be in business, then you need to be online. But if you’re doing a bad job of it online, you have no business being in business in the first place.
I just wanted to pass on a complement on the work you and your team have done so far on our website! The new homepage and back page designs are awesome. We believe you have captured our intent and spirit with this design. We can’t wait to get the entire site completed and on line!
Please pass along our congratulations and give a “high 5” to your entire team!
Everyone would agree that usability is an important aspect of Web design. Whether you’re working on a portfolio website, online store or Web app, making your pages easy and enjoyable for your visitors to use is key. Learn More: Smashing Magazine
How effective is your website design? Does your website engage the user at every stage?
At any time, website visitors are in one of the following stages: 1. Attention, 2. Interest, 3. Desire, 4. Action, or 5. Satisfaction. Data-driven, user friendly design, in all of its forms, packs a powerful punch when it comes to a website’s performance. Read More: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Web Designs
The past 13 years I have heard the same thing over and over from my industrial manufacturers. “I don’t want to put that online because my competitor will learn my deepest darkest trade secrets!” Learn how telling all will help you attract the “right” prospects and by doing so how it will not only invite prospective customers to learn more about your capabilities and strengths, but also convince them that an on-site visit is a must. After that, let the revenue build. Read More: MetalForming Magazine
Its 2011, so what are your online marketing plans for the New Year? Will you be investing more in Pay Per Click (PPC)? Will you start blogging, tweeting? Whatever your online marketing plans, the end goal is likely to attract more people to your website in the hopes that this will translate into new customers, new leads and new opportunities for your business. However, you won’t be able to do any of that if your Web site is turning people off, instead of turning them on. Read More: http://bit.ly/f9mEPk
There’s an interesting paradox I’ve noticed having to do with an analog vs. a digital existence. You may have the best looking physical location imaginable, and yet because you can’t be found online, you can’t connect with customers and thus don’t exist. Have you encountered it?
It has to do with online search. Through online search businesses have the opportunity to be found and connect with potential customers. We used to have the Yellow Pages. I remember sitting on stacks of them as a kid so I could reach the dinner table. Who uses them anymore? People found businesses this way; well those days are gone.
Read More about Being Found on the Search Engines
You have a great website. It has beautiful images, a compelling theme and intuitive navigation, all designed to take eager visitors to complete descriptions of your products and services. The only problem is that your website shows up somewhere after page 10 on the organic search engine results. Since most referrals to sites come directly from search engines, search-engine-friendly content is imperative. Here are five tips to make sure search engines love you and your prospects can find you. Read More