Your website is the 24/7 expression of your brand and one of your most valuable assets. Websites and technology are constantly evolving so we can not be rigid in our approach. We also understand that no two clients or websites are the same. In some areas we need to be fluid and adapt in the moment. This can lead to uncertainty around website projects but we have a skilled team that you can rely on and if we are clear on the desired outcome then the rest is easy.
The first task of your site is to tell your customers what your business does, how it does it, and why it does it. The second task is to inspire confidence in your company and the third is to gather contact information about your prospective customers. The third task is to sell or serve, there is no greater salesperson than one that is global and works 24/7.
The Big Three
At Ahooy we believe there are three key steps to building a good website: planning, creating (content and visuals), and building (technology). Of course within that there are many components to consider in the development or optimization of your website. But from website design to making better use of modern technology, Ahooy can help you address all of them, or simply the parts you need most. Remember, the goal is not to get hung up on technology but rather to realize the vital role that it can play in the growth of your business.
All good website projects start with collaboration. Nobody knows your business or your customers better than you, so we start with a workshop where the goal is to understand your audience needs as well as your business needs. We have to remember that a website is for our audience not for us and it’s very easy to fall into this trap. In fact, most websites speak at their audience rather than starting a conversation with human beings. Planning allows us to truly understand who will be using your website and what they need so that we can tailor the experience accordingly. Within the planning phase we will define the site objectives, guiding principles, user needs and content pillars which will inform the design and content to ensure every page is delivered in a way that engages and connects with your audience.
We all understand the importance of first impressions, and the visual look or design of your website is often the first point of contact for your customers. And as you know from your own web-browsing experience, when we don’t like what we see we quickly move onto something else. If your customers move on to one of your competitors, that could be costly.
A well-designed website is like a thoughtfully designed Scandinavian-inspired home. It’s clean and inviting, there’s room to breathe, and it’s certainly not packed with clutter here and there. It also gives visitors the freedom to move around freely. When this design thinking is applied to your website, you give your prospective customers that same kind of freedom. It not only makes your website visitors feel welcome, it inspires them to have confidence in your business. When you consider that, it’s easy to see that design is much more than the look of your website, and what an important role it plays in your sales efforts.
Bill Gates said, “Content is king” way back in 1996. He was right then and he’s still right today. Along with design, content plays a starring role in the functionality of your website. It’s the substance – the what, how and why – of your business. It essentially tells your prospective customers why you exist and what your product or service can offer them. Tone and other creative elements further enhance your content, as do keywords which help your business rank higher in browser search results, proving that good content is necessary for driving traffic to your website, which is the same as leading customers to your front door.
Technical implementation is another key aspect of your website. This includes the visual design of your site, the content management system (CMS) and more. A website that loads quickly obviously guarantees a good browsing experience for visitors. Understandably, sites and pages with longer load times generally result in a lower average time spent on each page, and higher bounce rates, which is how quickly a visitor says, Sorry, I’m out of here. Thus slower load times lead to fewer conversions, meaning visitors don’t do what you want them to do, which can range from them signing up for a newsletter to making a purchase.
In addition to the end user’s experience, newer technology also benefits the website administrator. Too often, maintaining a website is quite tedious for most people which can give them a good excuse to neglect it. But at Ahooy we implement websites with the WordPress publishing system, which provides a website that is both secure and easily updatable.
A faster or optimized website can also help you gain better search engine visibility for your company, given the big role that speed plays in Google’s search ranking algorithm. And considering Google’s mobile-first mentality, yet another important factor every business should consider, it’s clear that speed matters.
Another important factor – and it’s one that probably mimics what you and your staff already do out in the world everyday – is the collection of leads, or contact information, for your sales pipeline. A well-designed, well-written and technically functional website not only helps in that regard, it can truly help you stand out from your competitors.