Have you thought about why you actually want a website? The obvious answers are those canned responses everyone else has, “because everyone else has a site”, “to show off our products”, “our shop window on the web”, and “it’s the 21st century you muppet!” etc.
Whilst all of those may be true, it is also what most other businesses say when they think about a new website design.
At Black and white boy, we believe that each business has its own identity, personality or culture. Whatever you do and wherever you are located there is something unique about how you do business, and thinking deeply about what differentiates you is a worthy exercise to embark on when considering a new website.
Having been involved in website design since 1998, we’ve seen a lot of change, but one thing that remains constant is how savvy online marketers use their website as a hub around which all of their other online marketing activities revolve.
The reason this is important is that it’s your little corner of the internet that you control and perhaps of even greater importance, you retain any data you collect, unlike other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
So, you need to reframe the way you think about your web design project and for you and/or your team to think deeper about the project and identify clear objectives you want to achieve.
The website should fulfil a purpose as well as create something which is as unique and vibrant as your business and how you can embody that digitally.
When customers choose Black And White Boy they come to us for our expertise and an affordable web design service, a great exercise, to begin with, is to think a little deeper about who you really are.
We encourage deep thought to take the time to go beyond the obvious and explore exactly “why” you need a website and what SHOULD it do for your business and the story you want to tell to your customer, how you want to engage with them, what personality or identity do you want to get over?
In our initial consultations, we always ask a business to think like a big brand, that’s if you are not one already. Brands think differently, the progressive ones at least think “out of the box”. They get to the heart of what their customers are looking for, and you should do the same.
Furthermore, we encourage you to focus on what your existing or future customers might want from you, reflect on the questions you have been asked by your customers recently, or what problems your customers have, how you are going to solve them and what solutions can you provide for them… what is your USP?
At the end of the day a website is trying to market (read, sell) your products and services to other people, so why do so many company web pages talk about themselves so much, when surely, they should be highlighting what’s in it for the customer?
One of the common misconceptions businesses have when asked “who their ideal customer is?”, they answer “EVERYONE!”, “…if they have the money, we want to sell to them”.
This may seem logical, after all, we all want to sell as much as possible. The issue here is that if you try to sell to everyone, you actually sell to no one. Why? because you’re sending out mixed, confusing messaging that is targeted at no one in particular.
If you have ever listened to the radio, have you noticed how the presenter refers to her audience? It’s normally in the singular. One of the first things you learn as a radio presenter is to imagine you are speaking to one person – not the hundreds, thousands or even millions that might actually be listening in. That’s because they have a clear vision of who their listener persona is and tailor their message accordingly.
We use this same persona in marketing, and effectively it represents who your ideal customer is. This profiling of your dream client helps you to tailor your voice to appeal to the type of person you want to target. It also allows you to concentrate your marketing message to resonate with exactly the type of people who are going to be most profitable for you.
By asking those hard searching questions about what your business actually does, what its stands for, and how you can differentiate it from your competitor, you can get a clearer understanding of your mission.
Only when you delve deep inside the bowels of what your company does can you then discover who your ideal customer is. This is demographics 101, and it is designed to pin down the type of customer that you see as your ideal customer whether that is by income, sex, age or even personality.
Why is this important? well, try selling a fillet steak to a vegetarian. Despite your very best efforts you cannot sell to everyone, and it is pointless trying to do so. No one has a monopoly on their market unless it is driven by government, crime or if you truly have something unique.
Even a company like Apple, the largest company in the world (by market capitalisation at the time of writing), do not have 100% of its respective market, but they too use personas to tailor their message to their core audience, and you can clearly see how it is consistent with their core audience in every piece of marketing they produce.
Years ago when building websites, it was pretty straightforward, from a design perspective you only had to consider how it looked on your computer screen, which was quite easy to manage. But as with most things in modern life, progress is constant and technology disrupted how the world views the internet. So with the introduction of tablets and the surge of mobile phones, web designers had to adapt to accommodate these changes. What looks good on a desktop, doesn’t necessarily do the same on a mobile or tablet.
Nowadays, all new sites we create for our customers are mobile responsive, basically, this means that the design of your website should adapt to the screen on which it is been viewed upon. This has become of even greater importance recently as Google now have even tilted their search results to favour sites built with mobile responsiveness in mind. Their adoption of “Mobile First” is a reflection of the fact that since 2014 the majority of search queries now take place on mobile devices.
To you, it may be obvious, but this is important as if most of the traffic is coming from mobile, having your website on a 24-inch retina display is great for visual impact, but does it have the same effect on the screen of a smartphone? Is it legible? are the phone numbers and emails hyperlinked so you can call or email just by tapping on the link? Do the videos and other rich media have autoplay functions turned off when viewed via mobile? The scary thing is, that even now, some of our competitors are still building sites like it’s 2010.
There’s a great movie from 1989 called Field Of Dreams, we’re not going to dive into the plot right here, but I would encourage you to check it out if you have a spare couple of hours. Anyway, if you are familiar with the title above, this is the film from which it hails. The reason for the reference, however, is because a lot of customers are confused about websites and what they can do. A lot of them think that when they have a website built, no further effort is required and they can just sit back, relax and wait for the customers to roll in… if only.
Designing a website and SEO are two different disciplines with their own individual skill sets. Obviously, website design is mostly a creative process with some technical input, whereas Search Engine Optimisation is more technical requiring little visual creativity.
One normally follows the other in that you have your site built and then optimise after. However, when you have a site developed, it is important to have it built on solid foundations for the marketing optimisation and marketing that follows.
We see so many designs out there that just don’t consider site architecture and are built without any regard for SEO, it’s like building your house on a foundation of sand. If they were ever to benefit from digital marketing campaigns, which we always recommend, they could very well be hampered just because the site wasn’t set up with the search engines in mind.
At Black And White Boy, all our web designs take this into consideration and are designed as if we were going to carry out the campaigns ourselves. This means that when they are conceived and built out, the work follows best practices. So when launched the search engines will have no difficulty crawling and indexing the web pages to provide you with the maximum benefit right out of the box, whether it’s a new site or an existing one.