Smart Strategies: Choose content over ‘cool’ factor in website design
Don’t change the look of your website just because you think a competitor’s website looks cooler, newer, fresher!
That’s an interesting tip coming from a web design company that makes money when people rebuild their websites. You’d think I’d want you changing your site every couple of years.
All I can say is, as a small business owner myself, don’t succumb to emotions with regards to your website redesign decisions.
Of course, you should always pay attention to your website and what your competitors are doing. But if you’ve updated your website in the last two to three years, it’s not imperative that you change it again to give it that new “cool” home page.
Don’t Let Emotions Drive You
Question // What do your customers want when they come to your home page? (No really, stop and take a moment and answer this question in your mind before reading further.)
Answer // I absolutely guarantee you that the top thing on the mind of your customer is NOT how new and cool your website homepage looks. The first thing on your customer’s mind is: “Does this company have what I need?”
And they want that answer within five seconds or less.
What is happening with the new “cool” website design strategy is to create long-scrolling visual representations of your company.
I’ve heard Kansas City digital agencies describe it or defend the practice that you should build a company “experience.” As people scroll down the length of your home page, their positive experience builds piece by piece. First you have the brand, then a large image, then a video, then a testimonial section, then a contact form, then a section for each business service, then a section with awards or credibility icons, then a section for social media conversations, then a section for etc., etc., etc.
If you make your potential customer scroll down through a long visual show of emotional website “coolness,” in reality they are going to be racing to the back button.
Consider the User
One of biggest mistakes I see business owners make is falling in love with the look of their competitor’s websites. I hear it from owners all the time: “Their site is so cool. I want to make my website look like theirs.”
Business owners, consider this: The top three groups you are making a website for are new customers, existing customers and Google. You do not see the owner of the company in this top three list.
From a website design perspective, you should have at the top of your home page all questions answered for a potential customer. Don’t make them scroll down through a long website to get the quick answers they want.
(What Google wants from your home page is text content. Lots of it.)
Once you’ve satisfied a potential customer’s five-second need-to-know-it-now questions, then you can focus on the rest of your website’s presentation. The cooler you make a site’s home page, the longer you make the home page. The more visual sections you have on the home page, the harder it is to quickly answer a prospective customer’s questions.
Focus on Answers
So when deciding whether you should upgrade your website to that new, cool, fresh look that your competitor might have … STOP!
Turn off your emotions. Look at your current website, and ask yourself: In five seconds or less, does my website tell my potential customers what I do and how they can get a hold of me?
If it doesn’t do that at the top of your site, then trust me — creating a new, cool, long-scrolling website with YouTube Videos, cool graphics, Twitter feeds and other social media feeds won’t keep them on your website.
American consumers get bored very quickly, and they want their answers NOW.
Give it to them first and foremost, then worry about the “coolness” of a new website later.