Everyone has a website. But not everyone has a website that works well.
It’s very easy to sign up for WordPress or Squarespace and pick from the multiple free theme options they have. However when you do that, so have millions of other people. Choosing a free theme means you won’t get something unique or original. Your audience may even notice that it’s not original, and that could harm their brand perception of you.
A free theme hasn’t been designed specifically to your needs or goals, so it’s unlikely you’ll be receiving optimum results. Having a custom designed website is usually going to give you better results and help you reach your goals quicker.
Brand perception is increasingly more important online. Competition online continues to grow, online shopping doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon and millennials are now at the phase in their lives where they have a strong purchasing power. The design and usability of your website is going to play a huge role into how a visitor interacts with it.
Competition is fierce, and while you may have a visitor on your website that doesn’t always translate to sales (or whatever your goal may be). Your website has to do the work to keep them there, that’s where design comes in.
As an example, consider this custom and professionally designed website by Dog Studio in Belgium. See those subtle bubble animations going on? Those aren’t just there to show off, they’re there to catch your attention, to make you feel like you’re in the water. Don’t feel like you’re in the water yet? How about the sun rays coming in from the top?
But so what if we feel that way, it’s just a website right?
I’m pretty confident that if you visited that website, your curiosity was piqued and you scrolled down. From there maybe your eyes glazed to the ‘available soon’ and then you started interacting with the screenshots in the blue section. By the time you get to the bottom of that page there’s a nice big call to action to register your email address. Those who sign up have a much higher chance of converting to sales than those who came and then left after 10 seconds.
A professionally designed website helps you find your best leads, and your best sales. But how does it do this?
Add strength to your online presence
If people want to find you, they’ll often turn to the internet for their search. Depending on who your audience is, it’s likely they probably won’t pick up their phone and open the phonebook to find a local business.
The internet has set an expectation – that you’ll be there. An easy to use professional website that has the crucial need to know information very clear and easy to find is going to lead to a happier visitor.
If your visitors can learn about you and your services/product within 10 seconds of visiting your website, they’re going to be much more likely to stick around and engage with you. Having a website is crucial to providing your audience/customers with the key information they need and helps lessen the barrier to purchase (or whatever your goal is).
Competition is strong
Maybe your website is from 2002, or 1992 and looks a little out of date. Competition is fierce in the online market and your audience has an unlimited amount of choice at their fingertips. People often say you need to keep up with your competitors, but what good is that if you’re only keeping up with them?
You need to be ahead. You need to be the one setting the example and delivering the best possible value to your website visitors. If you can do that and set a lasting impression, your visitors are more likely to return.
So how can you do this? This is where design, marketing and goal setting can really help. Consider what your call to action is and how you can guide your audience to perform that action. Design is not just about making a pretty looking website – it’s about strategy, solving problems and providing effective solutions. How can the design of your website help you reach your business goals?
For example if you have an online store and your audience can’t find the purchase button, that’s going to really affect your online sales and overall sales. Having an easy to understand design system on your website is crucial in helping you reach your goals.
Connect with your customers
Website themes don’t know what your goal is as they haven’t been uniquely designed for you. Quite often the free themes you find are designed for blogs, but maybe a blog is only one part of your strategy? Maybe you want to have an online store and a blog. While you could do some merge of WordPress and Shopify themes, the design won’t be consistent and your audience won’t have a smooth experience.
They’ll need to learn two design systems just to use your website, which can create friction and confusion – potentially leading to less sales. A professionally designed website gives you a lot more flexibility and provides you with a design that fits your needs in one unique, design language.
Maybe your call to action or goal is to encourage newsletter signups so you can create quality leads and offer them exclusive content. The design of your website is going to play an enormous role in the conversion of visitors to sign ups. Should the signup box be at the top of the page or the bottom? What messaging will come before or after the signup box? How can design help communicate what value the audience will receive if they sign up?
Reach for the stars
A good custom designed website is flexible. It has room to grow, develop and expand. You should be regularly checking in with your analytics to see how it’s converting. Use the data to try new strategies or run A/B tests. You could try testing different marketing tag lines, imagery, content order and placement to see which one helps convert the best.
If you have a new product/service to promote, the designer is going to design your site with that in mind. Like our Riiot Labs example, the messaging on their website is very clear. They are selling a Pool Analyser – I’m going to guess that you and I both think it’s a pretty boring product. However the marketing and design on the website has positioned it as a must have product for your pool.
It’s selling us a lifestyle of relaxing by the pool side and ‘no worries’. The colour scheme and the smoothness of the site reminds us of water and keeps my interest piqued as I continue to scroll down the page to learn more (even though I don’t even own a pool).
While out of the box themed websites may not influence how people get to your website, they can hugely influence whether people actually stick around and convert. Working with a designer who knows your goals and crafts a custom designed website that perfectly meets your needs is going to have a much higher chance of helping your website reach it’s goals and continue growing.
Are you thinking about getting a new custom website? Get in touch about working with us.