If you haven’t been following along over the past month, we’ve been reviewing why it matters whether you work with a dedicated creative professional or not. We’ve covered logos, photography, and brand standards so far. All of those areas of marketing are an important part of the marketing puzzle. This week’s topic is no exception to that.
When we talk about making a good first impression on our potential clients, we’re talking about using all 3 of those other areas of marketing cohesively to produce collateral that speaks to your business’s identity and what you do for your clients. But your clients can’t learn much more than a few sentences about your business from a print or digital ad. So what can you do to share more about your business with potential clients? The answer is as simple as having a professional website built for your audience to visit and learn more about you and what you do.
The first thing you need to get secured when building a new website for your business is a domain name. This is where you will direct people to visit your website in print or digital advertising, on your business cards, and on social media platforms. Typically it’s best to stick with something short and simple. Something like “YourBusinessName.com” makes it easy for your potential clients to remember how to get to your site.
We usually recommend sticking to something that is no more than 15 characters maximum in the site name, with 10 or under being ideal. A one or two syllable domain name is going to be a lot easier for people to remember and have less potential for error. It should be unique to you and your business and not easily confused with any competitor domain names in your market as this could end up sending some of your potential business their way.
The platform on which you have your website developed is something that you want to be sure you’re comfortable with either managing yourself after it’s been built or something you would be comfortable paying a yearly/monthly maintenance cost for with your preferred creative professional. When we refer to a “CMS” in the world of website development, we’re talking about the platform on which all of your sites content will be housed, built, and served from. We prefer to build our client websites on the WordPress CMS because the final site build ends up being very user-friendly so that our clients can make simple changes to content, photos, etc. after the site is built. Without having to rely on a third party to do it for them. It’s more cost effective long-term and gives you the freedom to take control of your site once it’s ready to go live.
There are other solutions out there like Squarespace that will help you build your own website using what’s called a WYSIWYG (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”) editor to drag, drop, and build your site out in a visual fashion. But there are limitations to using a system like this. You aren’t able to use more advanced digital marketing strategies like Dynamic Number Integration to track phone calls that come from someone visiting your site. Customization beyond the templates these services offer is nearly non-existent as you can’t really make changes to any of the underlying code. And so you’re bound to working inside of a box rather than carving out your own piece of digital real estate to welcome your clients to. With a platform like WordPress, we are able to create robust, customized websites for our clients that represent them and their businesses exactly as intended.
Once you’ve decided on a domain and you know what kind of CMS your site is going to be built using, it’s time to come up with a plan or a site map that details all of the individual pages on your website and what the purpose of those pages are. A simple website will usually have a Home page, About page, Services page, a Contact page, and sometimes a blog. Most businesses will expand on those areas and include subpages like “Meet the Team” or break out their Services into multiple pages if the business offers a variety of services or products to their clients.
Whatever you decide to include, be sure to keep it simple. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, you don’t want to overwhelm potential clients with too much information. The attention span of most people in the modern age is pretty limited. We’re used to being given information in a minute or less through written, video, or audio content. So making sure your site’s content isn’t overdone is recommended. Second, the more content/pages/etc. you have on your site the more it’s going to end up costing you to have it built. This doesn’t mean cheap out and limit yourself or your website to including the bare minimum, but working with a dedicated copywriter can help to ensure that what you’re including on your site is enough to fill out the pages without being redundant. You’ll pay less to work with a good copy writer than it would cost to have a website developer build out multiple unnecessary pages or blocks of content on your website.
Modern websites have a tendency to be very image heavy and include a lot of CSS animation and other bells & whistles to make them look super polished. This is great and we stand behind the modern aesthetic but caution you to be sure that you don’t overdo it. Nobody wants to scroll past 6 full width parallax images to get through a few sentences worth of valuable content. It’s also important that whoever you’re working with spend time ensuring that your website is mobile friendly as a majority of site traffic is now coming from people using their mobile devices on the go. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly and responsive, you’re missing out on potential business from clients that might choose to work with a competitor over you simply because your competitor’s website was readable on their smartphone and yours wasn’t.
At Ankor Creative, we believe in creating perfectly balanced websites that showcase our client’s talents to their customers and give them an easy way to get in touch. Whether they’re being looked up at home on a desktop or on-the-go from a tablet, we want our clients to have their best foot forward any time someone is introduced to them via their website. Your advertising and marketing are out there in the wild every day. So make sure that those seeking out your business online are able to review what you do and make an informed decision to work with you because you’re not only the best at what you do, but because you’re the best at showcasing it to them through your professional website.