What’s more important – website design or marketing?

There is more to a successful website than just design and marketing...

Ever since I can remember, when I talk to businesses about their websites, they ask me the same question “What’s more important – website design or marketing?” Up until recently I have always replied with the same answer… actually, they are both equally important. But is that changing?

 

The designers view

Most website design companies will want to sell you a new website design. It’s all about the design, because that’s how they make their money. They will usually find issue with a previous design and explain how you can change this and how that will impact on your business.

They often do have a point, as the design is usually the first thing a visitor notices. It is important to get the look and feel right; so yes, the design is very important. It will also impact on how a visitor perceives your products and services; if the design is poor then it is assumed that the services and products are equally poor.

A clear and obvious call to action is also very important and if this is well considered and designed properly, it should mean that you will get more enquiries. Especially if your visitors like what they see.

From a marketing view

In the same way that a designer wants to sell you the design element, a marketing company will want to sell you marketing; no surprises there. There are a wide range of marketing opportunities available and all can be used to promote your website. A marketing company will say that it is all about the data they add and positioning your site correctly. They usually tend to try and baffle you with terminology and statistics, SEO, PPC, analytical reporting, trends…

Actually, they aren’t wrong. All of these are important but are they more important than the design of a website?

As always, I like to look at these and apply a good level of common sense. If your website looks bad this will affect sales and enquiries, so it must be good. In all fairness it doesn’t have to be amazing, on trend or completely out there. It has to make a user believe in the quality of your services enough to allow them to contact you. But, if a user can’t find your website on a search engine, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed it is, you won’t make sales or get enquiries.

What you can see and what you can’t!

But it is now becoming more and more important that you consider another element; a much maligned and forgotten part of the process – the code and how the site is built. Yes, this is the geeky bit; the element that no one really understands. How your website is built is rightfully very important.

Site speed: If your site loads slowly because it’s been poorly coded or has a bloated theme with lots of plugins, this will have a negative affect on your search engine position. Google wants it’s users to have a great experience; slow loaded and badly structured websites will be penalised. Slow websites will also have a higher than average loading time, giving you a higher bounce rate, causing your rankings to be lowered further over time.

Code structure: Code structuring is important when it comes to ranking efficiently in Google. Structuring titles, content & images are all major factors in the search engines. An example of this is header tags. Your page could have multiple H1 tags, causing issues when it comes to Google identifying your focus keyword. You could also have a lack of key headers like H2 & H3s, also giving you a negative effective while ranking.

Page & Site builders: The question we hear a lot is “can I go onto Wix and create a website and be ranked in Google” The answer is yes & no. Yes, you can create a website. However it’s highly unlikely you will ever get a good search engine ranking using this method. Page builders and site builders like Wix & Divi actually struggle to get ranked against websites with a great coding structure. This is because builders like Wix add bloated code to factor all websites on their platform. An example of this is our average home page design comes with 500 lines of code. All this code is relevant to the page you are viewing. Therefore loading fast and allowing Google to dissect relevant information. An average Wix homepage is 5500 lines of code; 5000 lines extra of bloated code calling in all web fonts and unnecessary scripts, causing website speeds to be extremely poor and having irrelevant code for Google to dissect.

Mobile Friendly: Ensuring your website has been coded to support mobiles & tablet devices is crucial. The mobile market is currently taking the lead when it comes to browsing websites. Mot supporting mobile means Google will not rank a website on a mobile or tablet device, if the website does not support it.

What’s the answer?

Well the answer is that there is no individual element that is more important. Each project needs to be looked at with fresh eyes and a plan devised that will enable the right website to be created. Beautifully designed, well optimised and purpose built to enable the website to be found on a search engine, this will give the user enough confidence to contact the owner about their services and products.

When you are looking for a company to build you a website, you need to make sure that they have the skills to enable them to create the website that you need. They shouldn’t try and sell you one particular service, but help you understand why they are all important.

If you have a project you want to discuss in more detail please contact us, we would love to show you how we are different.

It always great to get a new testimonial from one of our clients. Super Event are local business who we have been working with for several months now, firstly on web design and then online marketing. Their new website was launched at the start of September and we have been working with them since to increase their online presence.

What I particularly like about this testimonial is that it is very honest. It doesn’t seem to overstate what we have done for the client and they have been quite reserved in their thoughts, but in the end it shows that we have built a great relationship with them. Anyone who knows us as a business will know that this is one of the most important things to us, building relationships with great local businesses.

“For some time we where thinking about a new website. The content of the website is pretty easy actually. My Co-director is pretty good at getting the detail together we want to place before our customers. The biggest issue for so many of us in business is finding someone to work with that  who puts our business interests before their own, someone we trust, and simply someone we like.

Needless to say, (but will) we also have to be confident that whomever we work with has the skill base to do the job.  More than this, they must have an “I can do attitude”  I have little interest in people telling me what the problems are. I want someone to create solutions for me.  People who proudly say the likes of “You know what the problem is” are two a penny everywhere you look.   I want to work with problem solvers not problem identifiers!

We are a small modest sized firm and “we like to like the people we work with”  I think if the truth is known our business relationship started almost by accident.  I called Julian one day with some small problem (I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me) but seemingly the moment we put the phone down….he was at the office door offering help.  That quick that simple, mighty impressed we were too!

Detailed discussions took place, both sides throwing ideas around.  We all felt we could work together, and that’s vital, all of us on the same page, seeking the same outcome.  Julian, his firm Sokada, being local to us has been a real advantage.  We can have a quick face to face chat regularly, quickly, easily.  I might add that Julian was and remains always available to do just about anything.

The outcome – the website was, as we hoped, on time, and on budget.  We are pleased with the final website and continue to fine tune it, working with Julian.  That’s the web site up and running!  We also work with Julian and Jude at Sokada with ongoing SEO.

This one topic for us, for years has been incredibly high budget, with average to modest outcomes at best.  A very frank conversation took place at the onset very much along the lines of “This is the budget, this is what we are looking to achieve”  The problem we all have with SEO work on our websites is that we have all come across “The village idiot SEO engineer” who promises the world, seemingly charges the world and frankly delivers next to nothing. Julian and Jude (Jude very heavily involved with the SEO side of this venture) where very realistic, have a very common sense approach to the SEO plan, and did not over promise. We have an agreed program of work and we are seeing results.  I can only say it like it is, we are happy with the website and the SEO work… is working.

The success of this joint venture is clearly skill based on behalf of Sokada. More than this, it’s about working with the right people. People we like, people we trust, people who care about what they do, people who care about my business. I have no problems in recommending this firm to others who are considering a similar venture. By the same token anyone who wishes to have a chat on the phone to discuss this further are most welcome.  We look forward to a long term working relationship with Sokada.”

Tony Brewin
Managing Director
Super Event

Beating The Competition...

Both web design and mobile app design share many similar features. One of the most important features is that they’re both created for an audience; whether it’s a consumer, B2b, or enterprise the end user should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to brainstorming new ideas. These are just 6 Design Tips To Create More Conversions – some are really obvious but some may need a little more thought, when designing a new site.

6 Design Tips To Create More ConversionsWe are often asked “what makes a customer click for more information?” Or, more importantly, what makes people tick? For brands, it appears that these are some of the most prominent questions of 2017.

For this reason, we’d like to share a few tips related to interface design for creating a more beneficial user experience. Below are a 6 design tips to create more conversions, giving applications and websites a stronger call to action:

Complexion reduction

While this is normally used to ensure content is the key visual on the screen, it always works for making a call to action stand out. Removing unneeded colour or “Chrome” as it’s called; it stops the user becoming distracted by the interface or unnecessary elements. Instagram did it recently – to go with a full white interface, so the only colour was notifications and the main photography.

Change Your Wording

This may seem self-explanatory but language that is obvious to understand will encourage far more interaction – “Try Something” “Get Started” can be a lot better than “Proceed” “Set Up” or “Confirm”.

Make Your CTA look Tappable

Buttons needs to look like buttons, things need to stand off the page – this does not mean 3D effects, it might just be subtle shadows, intelligent use of colour or a perception of depth.

Ensure A Natural Hierarchy

Sizing, position and colour all help to give the user a sense of what is important on the page. If the useless terms and conditions are bigger – the user may believe these are more important and give extra concern to what they are getting.

Keep it above the fold

The main call to action should be obvious to the user. It needs to be really visible and easily displayed on the screen when you land on it. If the user can see the “call to action”, whatever it may be – unless they are fully committed to the purchase, they won’t go out of the way to find it.

Natural User Flow

The call to action needs to appear and be placed at the appropriate point of that journey. Therefore, it is important to follow the users eye through the screen. Always remember, with your website, they are being taken on a journey through the app or website.

As more organisations are interacting with their audiences and customers through apps and websites, the user experience is having an increasingly stronger impact on how an organisation is perceived. In fact, some see the user interface as an extension of your brand. For consumer and b2b that rely on digital media to interact with their audiences and customers, user experience design is no longer an option – it is a necessity.

The second installment

one-page-webistesIn part 1 of ‘The Paradox of Parallax’ we explored the marketing issues surrounding a parallax or long scroll, one page website. In this next installment we’ll tell you exactly how you can have your cake and eat it too.

To achieve that long scroll look, but to enjoy the search benefits of a more traditional site, it’s important to build out tens, twenty or hundreds of content pages based on smart keyword research. Research tells us that in excess of 80% of your website traffic will come from your interior pages as a result of your search traffic. Therefore, a key strategy is to incorporate a mix of engaging long scroll pages with shorter, more focused ones.

To encourage scrolling, ensure that high quality content is on offer the whole way through so visitors are happy to keep scrolling. If your first few lines are punchy and engaging, then chances are the visitor will be happy to read on.

Make the most of Your Calls To Action

Perhaps most critical of all, do not hide away your calls to action, or relegate them to the bottom of the page. Make sure there is no doubt in the reader’s mind what action to take and make it easy for them to do it. While there will always be the temptation to focus on the look and feels of the site, the main aim of any website is to gain customers, so consider what they want first and remember you will likely not be the target audience, so make sure the call to action is clear and up towards the top of the page.

Monitor how visitors use your site. Use in-page Google Analytics to see where visitors click the most and how long they stay on the page. If you find that they’re not clicking on something important that’s at the bottom of the page, move it up.

The moral of this story is, even if your site looks slick and trendy, it’s a wasted investment if you’re, one, not getting the web traffic you need or, two, if potential customers do land on your site and find that the content they’re being served turns them off. If this is the case, you may need to rethink your one page website, focus on adding more high quality content, or potentially adding more pages to your site.

Our Call To Action

Remember, there’s no need to suffer in silence either. The services of a professional web design, SEO and content marketing agency, like Sokada, could be a good place to start, even if you just fancy a chat about your web headache. Drop us a line to see how we can help, or perhaps even call us on 01435 817226.

What’s This All About Then?

Parallax, the long scroll, the one page website. They all sound like very different things, right? Well, in fact, they’re not. They are the same style of web design that contain a number of different elements (e.g. who we are, what we do, our products) on one page. The popularity of this format has grown considerably over the last few years and continues to play a central role in the design mix.

The beauty of a Parallax-style site is that viewers can simply scroll down the page and see all of the website’s content without having to navigate to elsewhere on the site. Alternatively, the user can also navigate to a specific section of the page via on-page links or via the navigation menu.

The Paradox of ParallaxWhat’s The Catch?

Parallax is trendy, sleek, stylish and visually engaging. So, what’s the catch, I hear you ask? Well, there’s one drawback… Parallax is not easily marketable. From an SEO perspective, a one page website is nigh on impossible to rank in Google.

Imagine for a moment that your competition has an equally cool and stylish website incorporating all the latest web design trends, but instead of one page they have 10, 20, 30 or 100 pages for viewers to browse. Who do you reckon Google is going to send more traffic to? You? Not a chance.

Every single one of their pages has been optimised within an inch of it’s life with a single key phrase that drives people to their website, thus driving lead generation, new customers and PROFIT!

Your trendy looking, one page website will likely have many different topics condensed into a single page, therefore does not rank well for any given high value key phrase, unlike your competitor’s flashy, multi-page, expertly optimised equivalent.

How To Work Your SEO Around This Style

A cardinal rule of SEO is that the more pages you have, the more traffic you get. Every page is a rich mix of fact and figures that will be entered into Google’s search engine index, will show up in searches, and bring prospective customers to the door. Not to mention, having high-quality content on a particular topic basically tells Google you know your stuff. And if Google thinks you ‘know your stuff’, it is highly likely to send more traffic your way.

But remember, any old content won’t do, it needs to be of high quality, add value and be engaging for your target audience, otherwise you can be sure no one will be stopping by again. Building a great looking site is all well and good, but, just like us, we need food and water to keep us going, a website needs quality content to keep it nourished.

There are other issues to factor in when deciding whether to choose a single page, long scroll website too. Most online consumers simply aren’t willing to scroll down as much as you want or need them to. So dropping that essential call to action button at the bottom of the page is a complete waste of time if most of your visitors will never see it.

This is in comparison to a more traditional website design, where you’ll usually find it above the fold, prominent and immediately. Call to actions will also usually be built into the user journey, with prompts along the way, often on each page. Stats have shown that traditional websites have a much higher customer conversion rate than the trendy long scrolls with the call to action buried at the bottom of the page.

If, despite everything we’ve told you about the potential pitfalls of long scroll sites, you still fancy a Parallax site, well, we may have a solution for you. Long scroll sites can be effective, but you’ve got to be smart about how you approach the build and be sure that you have plenty of great content to share.

What To Do Next?

Stay tuned for the next installment to find out how you can achieve that long scroll look, but enjoy the search benefits of a more traditional site.

But in the meantime, if you want to make an enquiry or find out how we can help with getting your website seen online, then please get in touch

A bit about Wanted on Voyage

What a great small business; a passion for the outdoors and a vision for a business has brought Wanted on Voyage to Heathfield High Street. They enable you to get hands on with a lot of very high quality travel equipment, that normally you would have to buy before you can try. The core of their stock is manufactured by Thule whose name you may have seen on car roof boxes and bike carriers. They are also a regional distributor for Thule.

Wanted on Voyage

They now also stock items from other manufacturers like Jurni, Lifeventure, Trunki, Vango and Eastpak; increasing their range to include backpacks, travel cases for children and adults and all the accessories you can think off to go along with them. The high street shop is an aladdins cave of cool stuff.

What they wanted

Thule Bike RackThe basics of the project was to create a high quality website that sold a wide range of products, as well as helping to promote the high street shop. Yes you can buy a roof box online, but delivering it is going to be tricky and if you can pop into the shop and actually see it and compare it to other roof boxes it will make buying the right one so much easier.

There were also other benefits to popping into the shop which they wanted to get across. They offer a FREE fitting service so not only can you choose the right roof box but they will show you how to fit it. For those infrequent travellers, there is also a roof box hire facility. If cycling is your thing then you will understand how important it is to get the right bike rack and again they offer a wide selection and the chance to get up close and see what you are buying.

It’s all about the voyage

So if you are planning a trip in your car and need to fix something to it, Wanted on Voyage will be able to help, from bike racks to roof boxes and all the accessories you may need; they even sell lights for the inside of your roof box. They can also help you with travel cases and backpacks to put in your roof box.

You can buy online at www.wantedon.voyage or fully immerse yourself and pop into the shop at 71 High Street, Heathfield, TN21 8HU.

If you need something urgently why not call them on 01435 868158.

You need to redesign your website

It’s the first thing that most website companies will say to you; it’s the easiest thing to do and they will make the most money from starting again… don’t get me wrong I’m fine with people making money, it’s just that isn’t always the best solution.

There are times however when that very definitely is the right thing to do!

Website Review

Understanding what you have

You don’t always have to redesign your website, it’s just not as simple as that; understanding what you have and how to improve it is the key to developing your website properly. The first step towards this is a website review and if it’s done well, the information you gain will help you make the right choices about your website.

There are several key sections to your website that influence how people find you and how they use your website. Then within each of these there are elements that you might change to improve or maximise the potential of the site.

You may for instance get loads of traffic to your website but no one ever contacts you; this could be down to poor image and styling which may mean you need to think about that redesign. A really good conversion rate between the numbers of people visiting your website but low traffic numbers may mean that your site looks great but isn’t marketed well.

Why request a Website review

As a business owner your website is probably the single most important marketing tool you have; you know your products and services well but do you know how to get the most from you website?

That’s where we come in; we understand these key sections of your website, the design, the structure and the content within it and we can advise you on how best to make improvements. We can review your site and tell you what is good about it and what really needs fixing.

We also won’t sugar coat it, we will give you an honest opinion backed up by years of experience, delivered in a non-techno way; so you understand what we are telling you.

What do you get from it?

We reviewed a client’s website in April 2016 and agreed to work with them to change how their site was structured. The design was fine but we needed to make a few things more obvious. Between June 2016 and October 2016 that client saw an increase of 110% in the traffic to their website over the equivalent period in 2015.

So we think there are some really great benefits to having your website reviewed.

What do we get out of it?

About a third of the businesses we do reviews for ask us to help them make the changes we have suggested; so basically we get work from it. Even if it doesn’t lead to work, the businesses we do reviews for have all said how useful the exercise was and how much it helped them.

How do I request a website review?

Just click here to email us and we will send you a questionnaire, don’t worry it’s just 7 short questions that will give us the information we need to properly review your website.

If you would prefer to discuss a review with us that’s fine just call us on 01435 817 226 and we can answer any questions you may have.

How do I Know?

You may already have a website; it sort of works for you, but there is lots that you now don’t like. There are still bits of the design that are good but the site isn’t working as well as you want it to. So what do you do? You ask yourself “Do I need a completely new website or can I make some changes to what I already have?”

Google Analytics

Do I Need a Completely New Website

Well first of all, do you actually know how many people visit your website? 10, 20 100+ every day? Which pages are they finding first or “landing” on? What is working for you and what is not? These are all important aspects of what you need to know.

You don’t want to delete pages that are well written and potential customers are actually finding; but you also need to think about the pages that are not actually working for you. You can then make a decision about the pages that aren’t found, or that people jump away from as soon as they do see the page.

Using WordPress

Your website needs to be structured properly; the foundations need to be strong so that it can grow. Using WordPress is very easy and the way it is structured will enable you to add new pages and optimise them properly. Some web companies use their own bespoke platforms which they would have you believe work in exactly the same way as WordPress but they rarely do. They can be hard to manage and the way they are structured can actually prevent you from optimising the content properly which is a BIG MISTAKE!

Adding a blog to your website is also a great way to market your services and products. Search engines like Google love new information, so the more you post articles, the more they will visit your website. You could use your blog to make offers, write articles that are relevant to the pages within your site and give your viewers more information about what you do. All websites should have a blog these days, but you must be prepared to write new posts regularly. There is no point having a blog if it has not been updated since 2012!

Does Your Website Sell You Enough?

Is your website shouting enough about what you do? Are your services or products hidden away in the bowels of your website never to be found. This is something we come across time and time again. Businesses regularly approach us, saying they already have a website but it is not doing and saying exactly what they want it to do; it just isn’t working for them.

You really need to be clear about what you do and then shout about it. There are so many others doing the same as you and if they shout louder then who will be heard first? Probably not you…

What Can You Do About It?

There is always a compromise between marketing and design, if you want to optimise your website to the maximum, the design will usually suffer a little, and if you want it to look amazing then you may not be able to add that keyword rich title.

There are occasions where the design is actually fine but the content isn’t displayed properly; your website might get loads of traffic but no one ever buys anything or makes an enquiry because the design is awful. Not everyone has a bottomless pit of cash to spend so understanding which bits to keep and which to upgrade is important.

Here are a few sites that we have recently been working on, we didn’t design any of them; we discussed the websites with the owners and explained how we could improve them and made changes.

    1. SR Nutrition, is a great example; the design of the site was fine but it just wasn’t clear what services were actually being offered. Their stats have soared since they started to shout more about their services online. Take a look at their success story.
    2. Tinker & Toad already had a good looking website, but it just didn’t do what they wanted it to. They needed to encourage people to visit their high street shop so focusing everything on an online shop wasn’t the right approach. We suggested a few changes to the message they were giving and some restructuring and now their website is found better online and people are staying on the site longer to see what products are being sold.
    3. Sway Allstars Orchestra wanted to update their site to WordPress, make it responsive and be able to make changes easily. We made lots of updates, added a blog and they can now show potential customers what they really do!

Are you asking yourself “Do I Need a Completely New Website?” would you like to improve your website but don’t know where to start! Why not contact us, you can call on 01435 817 226 or fill in our enquiry form. We can give you an honest review of your websites, giving you the information you need to make your website more successful. We look forward to hearing from you…