Why Architects Don't Have Dirty Hands

Here’s the thing about embarking on any new project; build on weak foundations and you’ll have costly repercussions further down the line, build without a blueprint and your entire construction will be based on guesswork. 

It’s the same when it comes to creating and designing a website. If you dive headfirst into the build and leave all marketing concerns until later, you are effectively putting your chance of success (or indeed failure) in the hands of fate. 

So, why do so many businesses do it? Well, the lure of an all-in-one service can be very tempting. When website designers offer to plan, design, and build a website as one comprehensive package it can feel like a win-win situation! After all, it’s just one person or company to liaise with and on paper, it looks cost-effective too. 

But consider this; does your website designer understand marketing too? No doubt you will have found someone with the ability to build good, functional sites that are easy to navigate and load quickly…but if your website doesn’t stand up as a marketing campaign in its own right, the proof will be in the sales. 

The answer? Engage a designer who understands marketing too, to get the marketing of your website right from the outset. And only then should you commence the build. 

Get your blueprint right 

Way before you’ve engaged the builders laid the foundations and chosen the colour scheme, speak to a website designer who can create the right blueprint first. This stage is crucial, and yet it’s one that very often gets overlooked.  

It is also a myth that cutting corners in the pre-planning stage is cost-effective. If you don’t allow enough time for planning, troubleshooting, and adapting ideas way before the build commences, I guarantee you will pay for it further down the line. 

A good website designer will brainstorm, test and interrogate your brief so they understand your business inside-out, and always with your target audience in mind. Doing this in the very early stages means you’ll be able to foresee and iron out any issues that might develop further down the line. 

It’s important too to work with your website designer to define the goals and outcomes you are looking to achieve from your website before the home page or that first landing page is designed.  

More than just functional and pretty 

These days your website needs to do a lot more than purely function and look pretty.  

Of course, these things matter – if your site keeps crashing or taking too long to load, or if it looks outdated and fails to represent your brand, your hits no doubt will plummet. 

But good website design isn’t just about kerb appeal. To stand out in a more-than crowded market, your site should be based on an integrated marketing plan that considers every element from your landing pages to your site map, links, content, and SEO. The most successful websites are those that are integral to the digital marketing strategy – and have been designed and built with marketing as the foundation. 

Customer-first, always 

It’s the golden rule, but one that very often gets buried amongst the excitement of website design; it’s all about the customer, it’s not about you. Every bit of your marketing should be focused on your customer, and never is that more important than with your website. 

Very often designers will do a great job of getting the bones of your site up and running, but when it comes to the marketing side of things, well that’s somebody else’s bag. The problem is, jump straight into a build with a designer that isn’t interested in marketing and your website won’t be created with your target audience in mind. 

This begs the question, do you want a website that just looks pretty? Or do you want one that actually converts visits into sales? 

Consider user experience for a moment; everyone talks about it, but it’s not just about easy-to-use features and snag-free processes. If you’re designing your website based around landing pages you think you should include because everyone else has, you’re off on the wrong foot. 

You need to strategically design your website from the perspective of the customer. Are your call-to-action buttons in the right place, for example? (Too soon and they’ll put people off, too hidden and they’ll never find them.) What is the customer journey through your site and can users navigate it seamlessly?  

A couple of seconds to catch their eye 

They say you’ve got no more than 15 seconds to convince your users to stay on your website before they jump on to one of the billion others out there. It’s a lot to ask! And it sums up precisely why marketing should be at the heart of your website from the very first blueprint sketches up. 

If you’d like some tips on how to engage your customers beyond those first cursory glances– and how to incorporate this into your website design and build – feel free to get in touch, I’d be very happy to share some ideas with you.