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A Different Approach to Website Design

What if I told you that by changing the way you approach a website project, you could not only sell more services to a client, but also build a long-lasting relationship with them that generates even more projects? Interested? Read on, my knowledge-hungry friend.

We all know that a professional website is mandatory for a company to establish credibility in today’s business world. The first impression of a business (even your own) happens through your website. Therefore, the site needs to reflect the professionalism and quality of the business through the style and design of the site. Despite what you may have heard, it actually doesn’t start with stunning web design. It starts with the brand identity and ends with brand image.

What is brand identity?

A brand identity is the collection of all brand elements (logo, business cards, brochure, product packaging and website) that the company creates to portray their desired image to the consumer.

What is brand image?

A brand image is the perception of a product held by real or potential consumers. When you take into account the brand identity and brand image of a business, your resulting design will both generate the client more business, and be visually appealing.

How to approach your next website project

When you meet a new client who wants a website design, ask them the following basics: who, what, where, why and how. It may remind you of English class, but it works. The answers will enable you to turn their website into a lead generator, grow their customer base and develop a functional design that is visually stunning.

If you are fortunate enough to have a client lead that already has a logo, then use that element to begin to understand their brand identity. The larger and more established businesses will be able to answer these questions with ease. Other clients will need a little bit of hand-holding. In either instance, your business will stand out from the competition. Why? Because you, the website designer, are taking the time to not only learn the ins and outs of the client’s business, but also to build trust with the client. As a result of this thoughtful knowledge-gathering, the design you produce will effectively boost their brand awareness and build a brand image.

Question one: Who?

First, who are they? What is the name of their company? Always follow this question up with asking if they have a logo. If yes, great! We will revisit this later. If no, either offer your services to design a logo for them or outsource to a fellow Wix Partner who also does graphic design.

Second, who are their customers? You also need to understand the client’s customer base to help guide the design. Ask them who their target market is. Or, ask them to describe their ideal customer. Their answers will dictate your color choices, font used and font size. I had a client who was over 60 and he requested larger font size because he said that he didn’t like websites with small text. I bumped the font size up one point and made sure that there was a high contrast between the text and backgrounds. This enabled the site to appeal to his target market (because his target market wasn’t all over 60) while still making the text easy to read.

Question two: What?

What products or services do they offer? This question assesses if the client needs an eCommerce site or a Wix Restaurants site, as well as if they need to offer other tools like a form, online appointment booking using Wix Bookings, event registration with Wix Events. Ask yourself how you can help the business owner run their business more efficiently.

I have a client who owns a printing and promotions company. When we first met, he said he wanted a new website design, yet with the same content from his current site. He added that he didn’t want a bunch of fancy things. All he wanted was for it to function well and be easy for people to find what they need. I evaluated his current site and suggested how to improve the client experience with a clean design, clear calls to action, a file upload and a proof approval form. The client was impressed that I took the time to understand his business beyond what his current website offered and make suggestions accordingly. In addition to simplifying the process of ordering materials, my design also makes it easier for customers to approve the proofs they receive. Furthermore, the proof approval form streamlines the workflow in his office.

Question three: Where?

Where is the business located? Are they located in a physical location or online only? Use this information to help with your search engine optimization. Remember to charge clients for Search Engine Optimization. This is a value add to the client, and an additional money-maker for you. I personally include the price of SEO into my website design. I promote that all of my websites are Search Engine Optimized. I do this because, by the end of the project, I know so much about the company that I am the most qualified person to write their keywords, add alt tags, image tooltips and page descriptions.

Question four: Why?

Why do people need the company’s products or services? What sets them apart from their competitors? Who are their competitors? Ask for their competitor’s web addresses. Use this as research on what their competitors are doing online. Or, what the competitors are not doing (hey, a potential client). And, use this to see what the client’s website may be lacking. Two of the competitors of the printing company from the example above were offering online proof approval. That is where I got the idea that helped me land the job.

Question five: How?

How does the company want customers to interact with them? Should clients be making a purchase online, booking an appointment or subscribing to the company’s mailing list?

All websites should have at LEAST three calls to action:

  1. Contact me (either phone, email or visit location).

  2. Buy or order, or book an appointment.

  3. Subscribe to a mailing list to stay in touch with customers. Ask for their contact information in exchange for something free, such as a coupon to use on their first order, an eBook on a topic that would interest the customer or even a free consultation.

Other calls to action include an invitation to “follow us” on social media.

Here is a prime opportunity to offer to brand the client’s social media accounts, email campaign templates and email signatures to coordinate with their new website design and add to their brand image.

By the end of the website design project, you have increased the number of services you offered, gained the trust of your client and planted the seed that the client needs YOU to continue to build their company’s brand image.

Written by Melissa Winebrenner

Owner of Winebrenner Designs LLC

My approach to web design is a little different than most. I am not just a web designer. I have a journalism, marketing and business background in addition to being a designer. Winebrenner Designs LLC is a full service web and graphic design studio based out of Kansas City, Kansas. I work with clients all over the world and specialize in website, marketing/social media and print design.

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