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.
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.
While some of the most prevalent misconceptions, like "If you build it, they will come," are largely accepted as nonsense today, the following misconceptions are still alive and well in 2016:
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.
"Failure" comes in many flavors, and web design firms' failures certainly follow suit. The days of putting up a flashy website with lots of cool bells and whistles, and then waiting for the sales to come rolling in, are long gone. In fact, that approach to digital marketing arguably ended a decade ago. Even less flashy, template-driven web development that has depended upon formulaic interface design is also proving to be a failed approach. But even greater still is the failure of web design firms to respond to the real needs of their clients, i.e. to provide measurable, content-rich inbound customer experiences that attract and convert visitors to paying customers and raving fans.
In his new book, Didn’t See It Coming, tree-hugging brand guru Marc Stoiber gives us another dose of what, since 1970, has been called “future shock”—it’s essentially change or die. “So is there a secret ingredient?” Stoiber ponders of companies that are doing quite well in the post-global financial crisis world. He submits that it is their "willingness to try, try again. Fail forward, learning every time you strike out.”
There are two big changes underfoot for companies who make their living building websites. First, the proliferation of user-friendly, do-it-yourself platforms like WordPress and Wix, and second, the rise of marketing automation and analytics that expose what's working and what's not.