“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late,” said Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. While directed towards technology startups, I think the same concept applies toward web design. Yet, many business owners fail to grasp this concept. Many think that the constant tweaking of the design is going to dramatically improve conversion rates, and that simply isn’t the case. Once you’ve moved beyond the GoDaddy’s 90′s look website builder, and to a much more professional web design, which can be done on WordPress for merely the cost of a theme ($~50)… There’s a point of diminishing returns on ongoing web development. Yet many business owners (mostly non-tech small businesses) insist on tweaking their design to their liking, even if others don’t agree. Design should be the least of your worries, even the biggest companies have started out with an ugly website. BusinessInsider has an article illustrating what 14 of the most popular websites on the web used to look like including examples from both Facebook and Google.
“If I Shouldn’t Focus on My Website, What Should I Focus On?”
It depends. If you’re a restaurant owner that’s driving more customers through the doors. How do you do that through you website you ask? Have Answers. When people look up restaurant websites from home, they’re usually looking for things like the menu, phone number, hours of operation, happy hour times and/or location. Make it dead simple for people to find it. When people are looking up your website from their mobile device, hopefully they’re seeing a mobile version of your website with a lot of the same content and a link to Google Maps for easy navigation.
If you’re providing a service, eg. lawyer, plumber, dentist, etc., your primary goal would be to increase the number of leads. But don’t split test your web design, split test your copywriting. In a city of hundreds of professionals providing services just like yours – why should they hire you? I’m a firm believer in that people don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.
What we just went over isn’t groundbreaking, it doesn’t take hours of design work. Sometimes it’s the smallest changes that have the biggest impact.
Websites Don’t Drive Leads – SEO and Marketing Do
“Can we move this button over here… change the color of this from blue to red… maybe if we bring the application form a little higher?” These tasks are commonly requested, and also have a nominal (if any) improvement on conversion rates. It’s like going on a date and asking, “What color socks should I wear?” Point being, their are so many other things that you should be focusing on.
- Is your copy effective? Test headlines through Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, drive that traffic to your website and use Google Analytics to see how many of those users are converting. You’ll drive leads and have much more data than if you were to spend the same amount of time redesigning your footer.
- SEO – For many businesses, your primary focus should be SEO. Leads through organic traffic are free, consistent and usually convert higher compared to other channels.
- Outreach & Connect – Find clients you want to work with, find blogs you’d love to guest post on (like this one), answer questions on Quora, join online communities within your niche, etc.
At SorianoMedia, I’ve worked with too many businesses that focused on the wrong things, and consequently, wasted a lot of money. Don’t spend another dime on tweaking your web design if you’re not generating any traffic. And remember that (in my experience) most web design companies have limited experience with SEO, so I would be weary of hiring them for marketing and SEO.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below!