Itís always difficult combining creativity with business. For creative designers, their primary concern is how something looks. For business people, itís all about how something performs. So if youíre talking to a web design agency about updating your website, how do you know that your creative team understands your business needs?
Bums on seats, clicks into conversions
The first role of a website is to give your business an online presence that encourages unique and return visitors to visit your virtual Ďstoreí. Getting them to stay on your site and not bounce to a rival after a few seconds is a tough job Ė in fact, just getting them through the door in the first place can often seem like an uphill struggle. Your web design agencyís first role is to create a website that not only attracts human visitors, but the search engine Ďbots as well, because without a good Google ranking your website is effectively shunted to a side alley with no passing traffic.
So a website design agency has to have a good understanding not just of design concepts, but how business works too. They have to work on the idea that design facilitates business, acts as a Ďdisplay cabinetí for a businessís products and services and has to portray those in a way that appeals to both human visitors and the search engines. The two concepts are not, in fact, separate entities but two halves of the same whole.
The role of SEO in design
A web design agency doesnít just design the layout of your page. They have to integrate SEO or search engine optimisation into the concept, as search these days isnít just about keywords. Web browsers now allow people to search on images as well as keywords, so the visual content of your website is almost as important as the content copy. Clean pages that are clearly road-mapped for easy navigation, engaging copy and a strong SEO element are all now part of the design process. A web design agency that can demonstrate a good understanding of these concepts is an agency that will produce successful web design and consequently, successful websites for their customers.
Whatís your part in this?
Designers need a starting point to bring an idea to life. So one of the first things any good web design agency will do is sit down with you and find out about your business. If they understand your business, they will be able to understand your ultimate goal and the kind of message you want to deliver. Once they have a firm grasp of your business focus, they will then be able to create a website that puts this message across in a way that entices and engages visitors. So you need to be prepared to take part in the creative process, rather than just leaving it to the designers. Itís a two-way partnership that is dependent on an exchange of ideas.
Good website design is a synergy of creativity and business acumen. Your web designs agency should be able to bring both to the table, and in turn you have to take the time to understand what the limitations of website designs are, what a site can and canít achieve and how this interaction works between business partners. Choose wisely and you have a business partner that invests time and effort into your concepts, bringing them to life.