When it comes to creating or updating a website, companies not surprisingly tend to focus their time and attention on product pages and specialized landing pages. That’s good, because those areas are important. However, they often do so at the expense of other critical pages. One in particular that they often overlook is their About Us page.
While purchased templates and themes can be great time savers, they are inherently cookie cutter solutions, i.e. your website design will largely look just like dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other websites. Even more importantly though, the selected template may simply not fit your unique needs or really suit your brand. So there is great advantage to being able to develop custom website designs.
Fortunately, in addition to a built-in Marketplace for finding templates and themes, HubSpot also has a powerful drag and drop Design Manager for custom template development. The Design Manager utilizes a 12-column bootstrap responsive-grid system that makes use of canned modules to layout a page template. All of these drag and drop templates automatically include a minimal CSS file that makes the grid responsive across different screensizes. While knowing some CSS is beneficial and will better allow a designer to construct the desired look and feel, the Design Manager creates a significant advantage over other CMS platforms like WordPress and Joomla, especially for non-programmers.
I'm blessed to be married to the woman of my dreams! We've been married for more than 34 years, and she still takes my breath away just by walking in the room. But it's definitely NOT a perfect marriage, mostly because I'm such a far cry from being a perfect husband. (Pssst... she's not perfect either, as was evidenced this morning when she burned my breakfast.) All marriages experience times of strain and struggle, and ours is no exception. But the principals associated with agile project management techniques, and growth-driven design are such a perfect, seemingly strainless match, that you might conclude that they were cut from the same cloth. And you'd be right.
While all of the components discussed thus far in this series are important elements to include in any digital marketing strategy, today's list includes some of the most critical.
Thank you for returning as we continue this series of posts on developing an effective digital strategy. Because your strategy should define your goals, as well as the specific tools and tactics you are going to use to accomplish those goals, we're offering this list of topics that your documented strategy should include. Again, we know that there is some redundancy/overlap among these sections, but it's because the tools and tactics work together to form a solid strategy.
A necessity of modern website design is understanding how to deal with the ever-increasing number of visitors viewing your website on a mobile device. But, unlike a desktop computer where you can count on at least a minimum screen size, mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes from 5”-7” phones and phablets, and the 7”, 10”, and larger tablets. Assuming you don’t want to ignore half of your audience, making your websites “mobile friendly” is a necessity. Luckily, there are two design philosophies supported by both desktop and mobile browsers that developers may use to make this happen—adaptive and responsive design.
These days there are website templates and themes galore for just about every content management platform (WordPress, Joomla, etc.) Basic paid templates typically cost around $50, but can range from $0 to $200. You can also find premium templates and themes that run over a thousand dollars.
But are they effective? Do they employ the best-practices of user interface and user experience design? Will your new website end up looking like every other template-based website out there? Is it worth the additional expense of producing a uniquely designed website? These are all good questions. In truth, though, the graphical design (look-and-feel) of your website should be of lesser concern than fully understanding who your target customer is, the persuasive nature of your messaging, the quality of your content, and the organization, navigation, and usability of your website.
Your website is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. You have, no doubt, spent countless hours and expended tremendous resources to bring it to its current state. And you will, in all likelihood, spend more hours and consume more resources to update it less than two years from now, even if it just went live. That is, unless you adopt an approach called Growth-Driven Design (GDD).
While well-conceived, well-executed website design can make all the difference when it comes to a visitor’s experience, there’s one additional step you can take to help ensure they get the most out of your site. And it’s simple: Tell them about it.
Could I get a showing of hands, please? How many of you LOVE redesigning your website? Anyone?... There are reasons why so many of us hate even the idea of redesigning our website. Traditional website redesigns take an enormous amount of time, energy, and money, they are usually implemented late, involve budget overruns, and most often produce lack-luster results over the long haul. If that's the case with your most recent website redesign efforts, read on... because we believe there is a better way.
Laura is shopping online for a new mountain bike. She arrives at a company’s website and is immediately wowed by what she sees. The page design, the crystal clear photos of beautiful bikes, the clever copy. She’s hooked. And she spends almost 30 minutes browsing the site. Brad’s looking for a bike, too. He goes to the website of a different company and is immediately irritated. The homepage is ugly, it takes 15 seconds to load, and the product descriptions are confusing. He’s disappointed. And he spends exactly 22 seconds browsing the site. Company A just sold a $900 mountain bike. Company B just lost another potential customer.
When properly researched, written, and designed, ebooks can be a great way to engage prospects and provide them with valuable information. And by delivering helpful insights with no strings attached, you become a trusted source for best practices, product reviews, industry assessments, or whatever it is you choose to present. This thought leadership that you establish can be a powerful brand-building force.
The year is 2005. Mike, a marketing manager, is sitting at a conference table with some of his coworkers listening to a marketing agency talk about the recent website overhaul that has been completed for his company. When the conversation turns to maintaining the website, the agency rep looks to Mike about whether the company will want to implement a content management system (CMS) to help the marketing team keep the web pages updated—at a rather significant cost. Mike shoots a quick glance to Sara, his boss, and she gives a subtle shake of the head. “No thanks, we’ve got it,” he says.
It's much easier for me to address this issue now, several months after having redesigned our website and currently possessing an absolute commitment to never again falling prey to this marketing "sin."
The truth is, even though we have constantly preached the importance of avoiding it, we at 30dps (always using the "cobbler's kids" excuse), made this egregious mistake for the better part of a decade. And, I can tell you now; we WON'T make it again... EVER!
While we’re proud of the work we do for all of our clients, a few years ago we had an opportunity to do some “marketing” that had an especially important impact. I write about it now not to focus any attention on our efforts, but rather to point out the power (and the satisfaction) of bringing skills previously used exclusively for business purposes to bear on crisis communication.
In a previous post, we explained why web design firms are failing. Unfortunately, they are not alone. In recent years, marketing firms (whether web design is one of their offerings or not) have been “failing” in many ways and in record numbers.
In some situations, focus groups have value in helping companies understand the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of their target audience (although some experts now discredit them entirely). Where they certainly do not have value is in determining the effectiveness of your inbound customer experience. In fact, using focus groups to determine the effectiveness of your inbound customer experience is a really bad idea.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I dream of conversion rates that soar to the 30-40% mark. While not every industry can realize that level of success, we’ve actually seen those kinds of numbers with our customers. However, regardless of industry, you must be willing to invest in conversion optimization to attain substantial increases in conversion rates—and most businesses simply don’t yet see the value of such an investment. The truth is, there are few expenditures that can provide such an enormous, ongoing return.
Or at least, not necessarily. Creating a visually-appealing, easy-to-navigate website should be the goal of every organization that has a web presence. However, stopping at that point and waiting for the visitors to come flooding in will likely leave you disappointed and frustrated.