Face it, your website sucks. It’s old. Tired. And your customers find it about as useful as a wooden frying pan. But let’s say you can’t afford to throw that frying pan away and start over.

You need to keep busy and stay in the search engine ranking spotlight.

Arthur Rimbaud (the visionary upstart poet who became a gun runner) once said, ‘One must be absolutely modern’. In other words, repeating the past is too easy. Instead, be the next thing. The new thing.

People like new.

New products.

New ways to visualise themselves using those products.

New collections that change with the seasons.

Even new ideas.

Human beings are innately curious and we are drawn to the new because we love to be new ourselves:

We want people to know we are up-to-date, on trend, ahead of the curve.

But to get there, you have to get four things spot on:

First, you’re in the business of selling more stuff. That’s it. Period.

And in the real world, people are more likely to buy something they can touch.

They are also more likely to pay more.

Web design is about recreating — as much as is possible — the physical sensory-filled user experience online.

Even if you’re startup making organic candles, if your website doesn’t help me smell those candles twinkling in the hearth this Christmas, you’re not just failing, you’re building a Frankensite.

Take the Apple Watch.

Big glossy close up pictures.

Videos showing people like you wearing the different versions.

The aim is simple: to picture yourself wearing it.

To approximate as close as possible the physical and emotional experience of trying on the watch in an Apple store.

Ok, you’re not Apple.

But bringing products and services to life is not something only the world’s richest brand can afford to do.

Your brand might have a long proud history but you know full well the value of keeping fresh.

I want you to seriously ask:

  1. What unique problem do they have that our product or service can solve?
  2. How does that problem make them feel?
  3. Which new feelings do we want to inspire with our problem—solving design and content?

Whether you’re a startup crafting organic candles, a consultancy selling services or a blue chip selling jet engines, the same principles of great design apply.

Second, You need to refine customer engagement: improve what is working with your current site to keep them engaged — (and drop what is making customers drop off the site.)

We measure performance for two reasons: to cut back on the areas that are underperforming and save money; and to identify and improve the performance of the areas that are over performing.

Converting more new customers — without spending more money.

Look at the way you talk about your brand and the way your customers talk and ensure that you’re using the same language.

Remember that your business goal (making money) is intimately tied to how well your brand can empathise with both the financial and emotional needs and motivations of your customers.

Using your empathetic understanding of your target audience, imagine that you have the same problem (and with it the same emotional distress that that problem causes them).

Now go to your website and ask yourself:

  1. Do I get what I’m looking at in an instant?
  2. Do I know where I need to go or what to do next?
  3. Is the final solution delivered in a way that truly makes me happy?

If your target audience needs you because their problem makes them sad, empathise (in the design and content) with that pain and show them (with the design and content) how you can make them smile again.

This might seem an odd thing to say, but your job really is to make your clients happy.

If you have a big smile on your face from start to finish, you’ve cracked it.

If not, time for an emotional rethink.

You see,

Your web design, Ads, posts and your content have to work together to address not just the informational and motivational needs of your target audience.

It has to be empathetic and take account of their feelings too ..

Use best practice analytics to help you measure everything: which are your most lucrative keywords or landing pages, which are your most engaged social media posts or opened email campaigns — as well as which are lame ducks.

Your job is measuring this at every step and refining it, improving it and innovating it faster and better than your competitors.

Third, you need to be in control.

Which means you need an administration panel that has been designed as much for you in mind (to edit and publish) as the front end is for your customers (to search and purchase).

You need a CMS system that has proven itself as a robust and scaleable solution.

For this reason, I use Wordpress.

Usain Bolt uses WordPress.

And Justin Timberlake.

NASA.

Time.

Samsung.

Wired.

Star Wars.

Even Marks and Spencer.

For their websites, blogs, even apps.

To spread information, sell stuff and analyse data.

In fact, in the twelve years it’s been around, WordPress has become the CMS of choice.

Global domination often explained by the fact that:

It’s FREE and comes in innumerable mobile-responsive shapes and sizes. It’s much more scalable and secure than you think. It’s laughably easy-to-use and seamlessly integrates with your social media.

But for me,

The reason why it’s a world beater is that it’s constantly been improved, refined and finessed by millions of tireless WP die-hards.

Unlike your static website — which I’m sure rocks — WordPress doesn’t sit still and doesn’t sleep.

Matt Mullenweg of WordPress, said: ‘Technology is best when it brings people together.’

Can’t argue with that.

Finally, Google is watching. Ranking sites not on their aesthetics but on things like bounce rate and dwell time, signals not just of quality content but a quality read.

Whether we use Google to solve work problems, educate our children or idle away a rainy Sunday afternoon, words still make the web go around.

We search using words (although increasingly using the spoken word).

Scan the SERPs (more words).

Click the links (words) and, in a few very short seconds make up our increasingly sceptical mind on whether to read on – or jump back to the SERP and refine our search (yes, more words).

So here’s something you probably didn’t know ..

You don’t design a site for users, you design for readers.

A great website is only a great website if it’s a great read.

So in the next post here’s how to engage your website visitors with something you know they’ll love to read.

Website design ideas and tips

It’s the kind of website that gets me off my seat.

Yours for those blockbuster breakthroughs,

Stephen

P.S

  1. Good design and even better SEO consulting entails rigorous data analysis, research, education and testing.
  2. The c word: Collaboration, working with you to align online marketing efforts with business strategies.
  3. Just as having a diverse workforce raises your human capital, a diverse approach to online marketing helps to soundly establish your brand capital.

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