The Web Design Process, Part 2
1. Written Content
Many of my clients loathe writing content for their webpages. Insert exclamation point here! Many web developers plead with business owners to provide them with written text describing their company. This includes the most basic stuff, like, the history of the organization and employee descriptions. Regardless, my personal experience is that most people hate to write. What to do?
Having published two books recently (with a contract for six more), I enjoy using my creative writing skills during the web design process. Blending the right words to create that perfect headline, or a compelling call to action is satisfying. Every writer dreams of producing something that people actually enjoy reading. With out a doubt, this drives their ambitions.
A friend of mine, who recently won the prestigious Christie Award in the category of fiction, had some brilliant insight on writing for clients. He said, “I started out as a journalist in a small town writing about everything from politics and religion, to crime and local sports.” He continued, “I didn’t know much about these areas until I learned how to interview people. I imagined myself as something like a WWII paratrooper. My job was to land on foreign soil, and if I wanted to survive, quickly discover the facts on the ground.”
2. My Approach
Surprisingly, anyone can write about someone’s business or product if they know how to gather the right information. Since I find what people do in life very interesting, this is not a challenge for me personally. Everyone has an interesting story and a core message. During the web design process, you need to draw these things out by encouraging them to talk about what they love. In fact, this is the kind of human interest material that keeps people engaged on a website. In the web design process, its a huge mistake to litter key words throughout a web page and hope that search engines will reward that site with top placement. If people do not stay engaged, they bounce away. And unfortunately, your webpage will suffer in ranking.
For example, in the roofing industry I discovered that “roof repair” was a frequent search phrase among homeowners with leaking roofs. Rather than write about how my clients were the best roof repair business, I described the experience of coming across a leak in your home. The page generated a huge amount of interest. And according to the analytics report, people stayed on the page long enough to read the story. As a result, the webpage ranked highly for that search phrase. My client earned a lot of money—success by most standards of measurement. To visit the page, click here.
3. Graphic Design
Our clients want their websites to look elegant and appealing. On the other hand, an ugly website will put a bad face on any company. It says to the potential customer, “This is the kind of service you can expect when doing business with us.” Many websites display clashing color palettes, over-sized images, poor load times, and cheesy logos. The old adage is, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” I would rephrase that by saying, “Poor graphic design will loose a thousand customers.”
Most importantly, hire someone who has an eye for design. While you may not be familiar with them, technical terms like: Layers, overlays, and opacity are the tools used by those of us who love digital artwork. Bottom line, possessing creative skills is an important quality in the web design process. And while creativity takes time, it’s critically important in developing the concept for the overall look of a website, especially if it’s being designed from scratch.
If you have a web design project you would like to talk to us about, please call, (210) 390-4500.