High-Performance Web Design – Stay Ahead of the Pack
Some time ago I talked with a potential client who was shopping around for a website. As we started our discovery session to determine what his business needed for a website, he let me know that he had a grandson who had just taken a website design class in high school and his grandson said he could build the site “real cheap”. (Implication: “if this costs too much, I have other options…”)
There are some bad assumptions behind the comment:
- Anyone with some coding knowledge and Photoshop can build a website;
- All websites are created equal, users can figure them out.
- If a website looks good it will perform “good”;
- User don’t expect much from a website, they’ll use whatever I give them;
This client’s take on web design is pretty common. Low-budget, DIY web solutions, free WordPress themes, and lots of self-taught web developers abound. A business owner is tempted to go with the dungeon developer (a developer who works out of his or her basement) who can slap a website together for one-third the cost and in half the time of a digital agency like Imagine That. I certainly understand the temptation.
But there are some high costs that come with bad web design.
A Bad First Impression.
Studies show that 85% of your new customers check you out online before they come to your place of business. Check out the brand disconnect between a four-star restaurant and its homepage.
The restaurant offers an elegant, amazing dining experience for its customers. There is no hint of that coming from its website.
Poor Search Performance
Search engines reward well-designed websites with a better position in search results. A well-designed website starts with the user experience and builds a website around tasks users want to accomplish on the site. Bad web design builds the site to please the business without considering how users might want to use the site.
A Frustrating Mobile Experience
Poorly designed websites very often leave out the mobile experience. A non-mobile site gets a double whammy:
- search engines aren’t going to give it a very good position in mobile search, and
- users won’t put up with having to pinch-and-squint to view the site.
Sixty-one percent of mobile users immediately click out of a website that is not optimized for mobile.
A poorly designed website yields poor results. Eventually what happens is the business owner concludes that the Web just doesn’t work for his or her business and the website is abandoned and quickly becomes dated. Ignored on the Web, it continues to offer potential customers a bad experience, marring your brand.
So what makes a high-performance website? Or, “Why should I pay $5,000 for a website by an agency when a dungeon developer assures me she can build the same thing for $1,500?” Really? Can one person do everything required to build a high-performance website? We don’t think so.
Sometimes basement developers will outsource your website to another contractor, often overseas. That opens up a whole different can of worms.
Can One Person Do It All?
Think of it this way. You are about to go into surgery. You meet with your surgeon who outlines the procedure. Next, the same doctor comes back into your room and introduces himself as the anesthesiologist, “I’ll be monitoring your vitals while the surgeon conducts the procedure,” he says. He returns again later and presents himself as the surgical nurse, “Don’t be worried; you’re in great hands! Dr. Doom has done this dozen times!” (You begin to grow concerned.) Finally, he returns the last time and introduces himself as the chaplain, and asks, “Any final wishes should something go wrong?” At that point, you would most likely look for other options!
While the analogy is a bit dramatic, it makes the point: one person can’t do it all or do it all right. If you want a website that performs, it takes a team. There is a lot that goes into a high-performance website.