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The right web design look and feel – Does it matter?

This might seem like an obvious statement. Of course the look and feel of my web site matters but how much does it actually matter and what can I do to improve my web design interface?

Many companies are constantly tweaking their web site with a view to capturing the attention of potential customers. Although not all web sites are commercial in nature, the majority of web site owners are targeting potential customers with the ultimate aim of securing online leads and sales.

Having a pretty web design is nice but it is no guarantee to converting visits into leads and sales. On what basis then should web designers set the look and feel of a web site and how are they monitoring the results of the web design look and feel on visitor’s behaviour?

Whilst the web offers massive sales opportunities, it takes specialist knowledge and constant research and web design intervention to actually secure orders online. Getting traffic to your web site is important. Search engine optimisation to improve your web site’s organic ranking on search engines and pay per click will get you traffic. But traffic alone will not fetch you sales. You could literally have hundreds of visits to your web site and end up with no leads at the end of the day. If you are paying for your clicks, it could be a big waste of money.

The average web surfer i.e. your potential web design customers spends about 10 seconds on your web site. That is a very short time but it is the only window of opportunity you might have to sell your web design services and products to that potential customer. Putting together the web design solution that will work and deliver this tall order is the key to a successful web design business or any business for that matter.

You cannot beat marketing research in planning any selling tools and you do not have to be a marketing guru to start thinking marketing. Start by deciding which segment of the web design market you want to target. Is it the discount low cost segment or are you more into the corporate web design sector? Selling discount web design through a corporate sophisticated web site might put the potential low budget customers off. Conversely, corporate customers looking for an expensive, high end and sophisticated web design would expect their supplier to have a corporate web site.

Once you have established which segment of the web design market you are serving and decided on the ‘discount’ or corporate look, start looking at the web design elements and where these fit on your homepage.

A good starting point to putting together an effective web page that works is research on the behaviour of web surfers. Try typing ‘heat map’ into Google and look for ‘Where should I place Google ads on my page?’ The web site offers some indication of the ‘hot spots’ on a web page i.e. the areas where web visitors are most likely to spend time looking. Use this as a first step in putting together your web design. Try placing your key product offers and contact details in the hottest spots of the heat map – showed as bright orange on the heat map.

Once our web site is online, no amount of reading can beat a good testing procedure for your web design. Get your web site online and start analysing what’s happening. Look at your basic stats like number of visits. Then start looking a bit deeper into your stats using some analytic tools to check the effectiveness of your web design.

Google offers some free analytics tools that allow you to easily find out which links visitors are or are not clicking on your web page. Look at important links that are key to generating leads, like your ‘request a quote button’. If these important links are being ignored, start tweaking the web design look and feel to make them more prominent and visible of on your web site. Use position (remember the heat map), bright colours and catchy words to draw the attention of your potential web design customers.

When it comes to the look and feel of your web design solution, remember that looking pretty is not enough. The web site must respond to key marketing issues like your market segment and web surfer behaviour.

The next time you visit a web page, try and see if the look and feel achieves the objectives of the web site.

About the Author:
Ralph Ramah is CEO of Discount Web Design, a web design and search engine optimisation company offering affordable and effective web design solutions to business across the UK.

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