Why You Don’t Need Experience in a Specific Industry to Do a Great Web Design For It

It happens all the time. A prospective customer contacts me looking for new web design but insists that having design experience in their specific industry is a requirement.

That prospective client obviously feels like a web designer can’t do a good job without being seeped in the background of their industry. There’s some logic in that, but it isn’t as important as they think. I have years of experience in web design across many different industries and know that other factors matter more than industry experience. Let me tell you why that’s the case.

Consultation is Key

I have found that learning about the needs of a particular client and company is much more important than possessing years of industry-specific experience. I can design for any industry, including some I have zero experience with, by spending quality time with the client upfront.

milwaukee business consultant

This quality time takes the form of a detailed consultation. A consultation provides an in-depth understanding of the client’s business, personality, and tone. It tells me everything I need to know to design the perfect website for you.

What’s involved in a consultation? It’s really nothing more than a detailed Q&A session. Here are some of the things I try to do:

  • Assess your needs
  • Understand the market you serve, including getting profiles of your customers, demographic information, and the like
  • Determine which services provide the bread and butter for your company that could potentially be emphasized
  • Find out what services you’re looking to promote
  • Understand your company’s pain points, those areas that need growth
  • Explore your company’s key differentiators
  • Determine your value propositions

The more I find out about your company and customers, the more I can design an appropriate website. I learn by asking questions, and the answers to those questions drive the website design.

Purposeful Design

I am a firm believer in what I call purposeful design. In essence, purposeful design customizes web design to the audience. It’s not about cookie-cutter design or choosing from a set of predesigned templates. Purposeful design is based on the recognition that every creative element in your website design should serve a single purpose – to inform users and guide them toward the desired action.

The web design process needs to align with your overall marketing goals. It builds a website around the needs of the users and online behavior in your particular market. Purposeful design is indeed custom creative.

Concept Before Creation

With purposeful design, the days of “give me three design concepts” are over. Instead of providing a generic menu of design options, you get the one best design for your specific business.

ux designer milwaukee

Here’s how I approach a new website design:

  • Establish the single best site architecture. I define a clear hierarchy of structure that enables the audience to find the content they want. The user interface is everything and the design needs to be based on user intent.
  • Determine the message and write the copy. When creating site content, I always think about the site visitors and what they want and need. I also keep the client’s personality in mind and try to capture the right tone with concise messaging. Communication is key.
  • Preserve the branding. The site should always maintain continuity of brand with the approved logo, color scheme, font styles, imagery and so forth.
  • Include a powerful call to action. I design each website with a clear funnel and action items that drive conversion. Everything is in service of that goal.

The Result: The Perfect Website for Your Business

JS-Interactive has been designing effective and successful websites for companies across all industries since 2004. As an experienced web designer in Austin, I know how to design websites that work – no matter what industry you’re in. Contact us for a consultation that will result in purposeful design and a true custom website.

Contact JS-Interactive for a FREE 30-minute consultation today!

11 Web Design Tips to Get More Customers

When you consider how to market your business, your web design may not come to mind right away. Your website, after all, is for educating your customers and selling your products or services.

Wait, doesn’t that sound a bit like marketing?

In a nutshell, your marketing strategy needs to include your website design. As an expert Austin web designer, I put together 11 tips to help you create a website that will grow your business.

1. Understand Your Buyer Persona

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer – the person you speak to directly in your marketing. Buyer personas help you get to know your customers better and relate to them on a tangible level. The more details you can add to your personas in terms of needs and interests, the more effective those personas will be. Keep in mind, you will likely have more than one persona, since no two customers are exactly alike.

buyer persona marketing

2. Align Your Site with Customer Needs

Once you have created your buyer personas, you have defined at least some of the needs and values of your customers. By tuning into your customer needs, you can create a website that is both beautiful and engaging. Think user-friendly and focus on creating a valuable experience for the customers that visit. When your site is both appropriate and interesting to your customers, they will be more likely to stick around long enough to make a purchase.

3. Consider Visuals: Less is More

Now is not the time to see how many colors and fonts you can fit on a web page. Limit colors to one neutral color that forms your background and two accent shades. The accent colors will likely be drawn from your logo or brand. Next, choose one font for headings and another for text. You can be more creative with your heading font, since this will catch your customer’s eye. Stick with a basic font for text so your customer doesn’t have to work too hard to read what you say.

4. Manage Your Menu

Your menu is a tool to give customers a glimpse into your business. While you want this informational tool to be a navigational dream, consider the content of the menu wisely as well. Let it show as much of your business as possible in its brief format. A customer should be able to get a general gist of your purpose from strictly reading your menu.

5. Simplify Your Sales Funnel

As you create your sales process, eliminate all redundant and excessive actions. Cut any steps that do not serve an obvious purpose. Make sure the funnel flows consistently toward the end result. Customers are more likely to finish a sale when they can move unhindered through the process.

simple marketing funnel

6. Share Value – Don’t Sell

Start focusing on your customer who came to your site because of a problem. Let them know you understand their needs and offer a solution. Give them the solution they are looking for by sharing your own story. With the right focus, your customers will buy without feeling like they were sold.  That’s a critical step whether you are attracting a one-time buyer or a long-term customer.

7. Choose the Right Content

Think about what you want your content to do as it relates to a sale. Does your customer need information first? Give them the information they want, but just enough to pique their interest in your product or service. Create content that answers the need of your customer and make sure it is well-written, so your customer takes the time to read it. Don’t be afraid to leave them hanging a bit at the end so they take the next step with your business.

8. Be Clear

Everything on your website needs to be clear, from your headlines to your message. Your customer needs to know what you are about and what you stand for. Don’t mistake clarity with dry, however. You can be clear with content that is enjoyable to read.

9. Automate Your Processes

Don’t leave things to chance when designing your website. Set the right protocols in place to make steps like a follow-up, communication, and connection an easy process. Make your site work for you so you don’t get bogged down in the details once it is up and running.

10. Be Mobile-Friendly

While a mobile website is good, it’s not enough today. Optimize and improve your processes for better engagement on mobile as well. Create a mobile menu design that makes it easy to navigate your site on any device. Keep in mind that a substantial portion of your customers will be finding you on mobile and make sure their experience is a positive one.

mobile web design company

11. Stay Up on the Trends

Almost as soon as your website is live, it will start to become outdated. It is critical to stay up on trends to stay ahead of the game. For example, are you optimizing for voice search yet? Does your site include any videos? Now is the time to bring it up to par.

A Website Worth Visiting

Your website design is about more than making an attractive site. You want a site that is engaging, functional and smooth to use. Choosing the right web designer and creating the appropriate web design for your business is the first step to building a robust customer base.

As a web designer, I know how vital design can be to the growth of your business. Allow my web design team to help you bring your vision to reality. Contact JS-Interactive today to get started.

Web Design Trends in 2019

As the internet continues to develop, web design practices continue to adapt and bring about new trends. A good web designer remains cognizant of these trends; knowing what’s hot and what’s quickly becoming outdated.  We are rapidly encroaching on the end of another decade and with it comes plenty of new web design trends designers will want to add to their arsenals.

Growing Trends Web Designers Should Consider

Technology is changing—there’s no stopping that, and with it comes changes in how consumers are using the internet. That means that web designers need to evolve with technology.

So, what are some growing trends that web designers should consider in projects for 2019 and beyond?

1. The Minimalistic Approach

In a day where bright and flashy have become the norm, designers enjoy creating a better user experience with a minimalistic web design and the use of technology advancements. Here’s the thing, minimalistic doesn’t have to mean black and white with little to no flash in the way of images and videos.

In fact, when we talk minimalistic for 2019, we mean making use of whitespace, clean typography, and mobile-friendly design. This also means making use of quality imagery in an effective manner, such as video, illustrations, and 3D artwork to help your material stand out without over-complicating the entire design. Thanks to a mobile-first generation (aka: those who use their mobile devices as their primary method of online searching, the use of a more minimalistic approach is more important than ever.

2. Font Varieties

It’s okay to have fun with fonts and use varying typefaces to create an intriguing web design. However, we must keep the reader in mind as well, which means using easy to read fonts.

typography in web design
© site by tennentbrown.co.nz

Using fancy scripts is fun and can suit a website’s overall design aesthetic, but using too much of those typefaces can make it harder to take in the information being presented to use. This is where having varying fonts in play becomes an effective design element. Highlight specific text that you want to stand out in more vibrant, fun fonts while using a more standard one for the meat of your text.

3. Upping Your Animation Game

That’s right; animation is all the rage! Popular GIF website, GIPHY, reported recently that about 2 million hours of GIFs are viewed daily on their site alone.

Animations have come a long way over the years, and even the simplest of animations can convey an important message to those who visit our websites. Animation can be used to guide a reader through information quickly and as a way to break up larger blocks of text to give the reader’s eyes a break.

Animation can even be used purely to entertain our readers as well, giving websites a more personable vibe instead of just a tool to move consumers through our sales funnel.

Now, animation comes in a variety of forms and can include:

  • Animated GIFs
  • Galleries/slideshows
  • Scrolling text
  • Page motion
  • Animated backgrounds

While incorporating animation into your design is an excellent idea, remember to keep it simple. The more animation you include, the higher the possibility of your page load time decreasing.

4. Adding Chat Boxes

While chat boxes may not seem like an entirely new concept, this technology is gaining traction this year. Consumers want to always reach someone from a brand, which is where chat boxes come into play. Thanks to advancements in both AI and machine learning, chat boxes are able to bring this expectation to life.

Web designers are beginning to add chat boxes to websites of all types, and in doing so, applying a lot of the trends we’ve already mentioned. This includes adding varying fonts and colors to chat boxes to help them stand out while still remaining consistent with the rest of your site branding. Web designers are also learning that chat boxes can adapt well to a minimalistic approach because that makes them simpler to use for the consumer.

5. Include Illustrations and 3D Artwork

Friends, gone are the days of the standard, overly used stock images. It’s time to welcome in illustrations and 3D artwork into your web design practices.

Okay, so stock photography isn’t going anywhere. However, we are seeing more brands choosing to go the illustration route to help set them apart from others. In fact, brands such as Slack, Mailchimp, and Dropbox have all opted to highlight illustrations as a way of catching their reader’s attention.

mailchimp newsletter campaigns

Want to stand out even more? Then we suggest considering 3D illustrations! 3D artwork helps to draw the eye in a way that 2D illustrations simply don’t.

6. Include Videos

Videos, like animations, aren’t going anywhere. With 45% of people claiming to watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos during the week, videos are a must for web designers.

Again, much like animations, videos are a great way to give your viewers a break from long walls of text. In fact, many consumers prefer short explainer videos than text in many situations simply because they are easier to digest. Not to mention videos are more effective when it comes to the human’s ever-shortening attention span.

Videos come in all shapes and sizes, including:

  • Explainers/Tutorials
  • Product reviews
  • Presentations/Webinars
  • Interviews
  • LIVE streaming
  • Testimonials

Website Design Services by a Top Austin SEO Company

As an SEO company, we know just how vital website design is to build your brand and inspire engagement. Websites are considered a brand’s first impression to the world, and that’s why we offer more than just search engine optimization services.

Our web design services are individually tailored to our customer’s needs, not our own and can include:

  • Usability/User Experience Considerations
  • Creating a Mobile & Responsive Design
  • Content Writing & Development
  • SEO Friendliness

Want to learn more about our website design services? Contact me today for more information.

Website Mistakes that Always Cost Your Small Business Money

A company website should be a foundational part of every business strategy. With over 3.2 billion people using the internet daily, the number of people shopping, browsing, and information-gathering online is steadily growing.

According to Walker Sands, “consumers increasingly expect the line between online and in-store to blend into a single, seamless customer experience.”

Regardless of industry, you need to start thinking about your website as your business, not just as a pretty interface or facsimile of your real-life business.

Making amateur mistakes can cost your business money. Here are four main ways that SME businesses lose out by not optimizing their website:

  1. Poor Information Management
  2. Bad Design
  3. Not Tracking User Data
  4. No Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

With so many tools, resources, and teams of digital experts out there, your business—no matter how small—should capitalize on these tips to avoid losing business online.

Poor Information Management

Potential customers should not be confused or suspicious when they arrive at your site. If your messaging is not clear about what your business does, you can totally miss engaging with the right audience. Search engines can’t connect you to the people searching for the product or service you provide. In this case, everyone loses.

SEO is in large part simply helping a machine meet the intent of searchers. At its most basic level, a lack of information hurts your SEO because search engines can’t understand what your site is about.

That’s why information-rich content, both web copy and content marketing, is vital to your business. Through well-researched keywords and good copy, you tell customers and search engines about the solutions you provide.

Information legitimizes your business to people—and bots.

What you do, how to contact you, and where you are located should be front and center. Many business owners may not realize that a lack of information is hurting their online presence. At a basic level, your website needs to correctly display all the information that should be available to the public. This includes contact information, phone numbers, credentials, or links to reviews or ratings of your business.

According to Yext, managing business information is essential because it ties together the greater digital footprint that your business should maintain:

“A successful path forward with Digital Knowledge Management includes execution across a number of areas such as content, reviews/ratings, making your website secure and mobile-friendly, deploying structured data (Schema, in particular), in addition to more traditional elements — including SEO, social media engagement, and even paid social and search options.”

Be sure your site gives users the information they need to trust you.

Bad Design

Since your business website is a fundamental component of your business as a whole, it needs to be functional. Yes, aesthetics are important because they reflect on the professionalism of your business, but it’s arguably more important for the design to be purposeful.

The responsiveness of your website is critical. In most scenarios, a high bounce rate means that people aren’t sticking around to explore your site. They’re leaving because they’re not finding what they’re looking for or they don’t like what they see—two problems that design can help fix.

Good commercial website design is about inspiring trust.

As a digital storefront, your website has about 8 seconds to make a good first impression and help visitors to understand what you can do for them. For small to mid-sized businesses (without the benefit of instant name-recognition) much is riding on that first interaction.

Even if you have a nicely designed website, you need to find out how users respond to it. This includes many factors to consider:

  • User experience
  • Your unique value propositions
  • Accessibility and ease of use
  • User intent
  • Your conversion funnel

This also applies to how your site performs on mobile.

If you’re not optimizing for mobile, you’re losing business.

website user experience mobile Neglecting mobile users hurts your SEO, bounce rates, and ultimately your profits. If your site looks great on desktop but is clunky and impossible to navigate on mobile, you’re missing out on a huge base of consumers.

As the SEO site Zyppy points out, “mobile-friendliness is an actual Google ranking factor. But more than that, your mobile (and desktop) design can influence engagement, sharing, satisfaction, and quality metrics. A poor mobile experience can have a negative cascading effect on your rankings and visibility down the line.

Likewise, a positive experience can help.”

If you’re unsure if your website works for mobile, you can test any page using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Not Tracking User Data

Tracking site performance with Google Analytics can tell you how users are finding you and their behavior while on your site.

Identifying the types of users who come to your site can help you anticipate their needs or wants. Knowing how people navigate your site will allow you to continuously hone certain aspects to better appeal to your customers and potentially even develop new revenue streams.

Track site performance via Google Analytics

Don’t expect to get it all right the first time. It takes time to learn your audience, diagnose user patterns, and understand their behavior. But web data analytics can get you there. Analytics takes out the guessing game and provides detailed reports on customer behavior so that you can make informed decisions about your website.

No Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Online business is driven by multiple working parts. The interconnected channels your company uses—including social media, SEO, online directories, digital ads, print ads, and radio ads—should all direct traffic to your website.

But when users get to your site, without a call-to-action (CTA), you’re missing an opportunity to let users opt-in for permission marketing (signing up for a newsletter, giving their email in exchange for resources).

Visitors to your site should never have to work to give you their information. Don’t overwhelm visitors, but try to put yourself in their shoes. A box or popup to enter your email should be front and center, and you should also clearly display the information for how to get in touch with you (like an email address).

A Website that Works

Take a bird’s-eye view of your website and see if there are aspects mentioned here—which are are all connected—that you can optimize. By improving these elements, you’re bolstering the core foundation of your business. When your website performs for users, you’re more likely to get the results you want as well.

JS-Interactive is a full-service team of digital marketing and design experts based in Austin, Texas. We strengthen your business by improving your web design and UX, boosting your online visibility through organic search and localized SEO, and increasing your sales through optimizing digital conversion funnels including PPC, social media, and content marketing.

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This article was co-authored by Sarabeth Flowers Lewis.

What Are the Signs You Need A Website Redesign?

In the ever changing face of the internet, where the rate of evolution moves consistently at a rapid pace, we continue to hit new tipping points that require solutions to new problems in the way we experience the web. Getting a website makeover addresses one of these problems, and with the big push in technology towards the mobile market for example, a website redesign becomes not just a cosmetic luxury, but an essential to your business. So what are the signs you need a website redesign?

Well…how easy is it to navigate throughout your website to access information? Not just on a standard desktop or laptop, but also on multiple mobile devices? By taking a good analysis of your website, tell us…how well is it achieving what you’d like it to achieve? These are just a few questions to ask when considering a website redesign. So let’s go deeper and dive into a strategic checklist to conclude whether or not your business website needs a redesign.

Is your website mobile friendly?

With sales for mobile devices exceeding your standard desktops, it’s imperative that your customers are capable of viewing your business website on a mobile device. Classic websites are too small in scale and hard to navigate through on the small screens of mobile devices. If your website is not mobile friendly, you increase the chances of users leaving your website, and surfing another that is optimized for a mobile environment. Another important note…if you are optimizing your website for good search visibility, having a ‘mobile responsive’ designed website helps search engines to crawl and index your web pages, making them more likely to show up in relevant search queries. Since a mobile responsive website enables your webpage to adapt to multiple devices, there is SEO value with having the same URL and XHTML page viewed from your browser, when requested from a cellphone, or a laptop.

Does your website look dated?

In a competitive market, it’s important that your website remains current in its look, feel and functionality.  It’s not to your advantage to have clients looking at the same web presence and the same content over and over for several consecutive years. Outdated information and a dated image can convey a message to your online customers. If information is not current with the growth of your business, and if content is dated, it may discourage return visits to your website; in a case where your website lacks mobile responsiveness, it can actually discourage new visits as well and increase the chances of users leaving your website. Evaluate how your website looks, and ask yourself if what’s presented online really captures the essence of your business in a professional way that leaves a good 1st impression for prospective business.

website redesign austin texas milwaukee

Do you have the ability to update your own content?

Static websites are a thing of the past, and in today’s market, it’s of great benefit that you have the flexibility to manage your own content without the need of a web developer. Having a content management system in place gives you the ability to update and publish your own content, while reducing the cost associated with maintenance as a result of less dependency on a web developer.

What is your competition looking like lately?

Do an analysis and see what your top competitor’s websites are doing. Evaluate what you see working effectively and what you see as areas that are not working or could use major improvement. Naturally, you will want your website’s presence to rise above and stand apart from the competition.

What is your website content strategy like?

With today’s push to provide creative and unique content, you’ll want to ask yourself …how helpful is your website information? How accessible is it? And how relevant is it based on the product and services you provide? The key to a good content strategy is to build and maintain relationships with your online customers by communicating your business product and services in a variety of creative and effective ways. For example, videos and consistent blogging that provides up-to-date, market-relative, helpful information to your customers. It’s important that your website brings value to them…both new and existing. If a website user visits you once, but doesn’t find your information useful, chances are they won’t return to your website. The key to any effective content strategy is making your website and its information all about YOUR CUSTOMER, and not about you.

What IS currently working on your website?

In your evaluation, take note of what is actually working on your website when planning a redesign. If there are areas of your website that customers visit regularly and if there is content on your site that they find useful …keep those things. Accentuate the positives and build on them for the future.

What’s NOT working for you on your website?

In your evaluation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How easily can online customers access the relevant content they need?
  • Is your website’s navigational architecture easy to follow? Or is content nested within content, creating confusion to your customers and even to yourself when browsing your site?
  • Is your information current?
  • How long or quickly does it take for your web pages to load?
  • How well is your site positioning in Google and Bing Search Engines?
  • Are you getting good results and qualified leads from your website?

Is your website visible to Search Engines?

If you were to search a product, service or even your company name via Google, Bing or any other major search engine … does your website show up on the 1st page of your search results? If not, then it’s critical that your business consider a redesign to include a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. With the internet now being the 1st place people go to learn more about your business, it’s not hard to understand the significance and the importance for having a good SEO plan in place for your website. At JS Interactive, our certified SEO expert is trained and continuously up-to-date with the latest trends and strategies involved with Google, Bing, etc. and with the constant changes in Google algorithmns, we are constantly at work maintaining and growing your website positioning and performance in all major search engines.

These basic questions can really help you to determine whether or not your company needs a website makeover. To help you better understand some of these questions, you may also want to read why Web Analytics are important »