When it comes to any marketing you do for your small business – and especially your website – the answer should be “effective.” Some of the most effective online sales sites are relatively plain, but they are easy for people to find and navigate.
Effective websites have another, vital element. They are tailored to the business that they promote. That means that they accurately, authentically and uniquely explain what makes your company different from your competitors.
Lately, we’ve been getting requests to implement WordPress templates for small businesses. WordPress is a platform that makes it easy for people to make updates, and was originally created for blogging. In recent years, it’s become popular because there are numerous ways to customize the basic blogging format as well as many different designs that can be used inexpensively.
The problem is that the people who create these templates are doing so as designers, and creating an effective website requires a lot more than a pretty appearance. The creator doesn’t know what business is going to use the template so he or she can’t be considering how your specific customer is looking for and how they’ll find it. And when you go to look at these templates and find something that might work for your business, you’re looking entirely at the design and how pretty it is. Usability and effectiveness are completely taken out of the picture.
To be truly effective, you have to consider many things when creating a website. Who are the primary customers? Do you want them to buy something or take some other action? How do you want them to move around the site? Is your goal to educate them with information about your industry or convince them to buy something – or both? How is the site going to be structured so it will be easy for people to find it using search engines like Google and Bing?
A template is usually ill suited to meeting these needs, and that’s why we sit down with each client and plan the navigation and goals of the site before we do the design work.
The right planning and design for a site takes more time, and will cost more. But it will work. It will help people find your site, use your site and ultimately give you more business.
Coming tomorrow: Why templates don’t rank as high in search engines