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A lot of my clients when they think about designing a new website (or improving an old one) for their business or project start thinking about colors, layout, fonts etc.
But that is completely wrong. That happens way later.
Imagine you own a small shoe store at the mall. You are the owner, the manager and the sales person.
Your store has been doing well because you are an expert about shoes as well as your business. You know how to run everything.
Now let's say you want to hire a sales person so you can just focus on management and growing your business.
The first thing to do would be to train the new sales person so that they can sell effectively.
If you wanted, you could train your new employee to just say hello, get shoe sizes when people ask and ring in purchases. That would be enough to get by.
But wouldn't you want to equip your sales person with a lot more skills and knowledge?
- You would teach them to offer customers alternatives if shoes were sold out.
- You would teach them how to remind customers about new offers and discounts.
- You would teach them how to persuade and earn a sale.
- You would give them answers to many frequently asked questions like return policy and quality assurance.
- You would ask them to present themselves nicely, smile and be courteous.
- You would ask them to collect emails and customer info.
Do you see where I am headed with all of this?
Your website is meant to be a salesperson not a portfolio or an online business card. You want to plan, develop and design your website the same way you would train your employees.
Your ideal employee is a website. It has the most knowledge, the best access to product inventory, the ability to handle transactions flawlessly and looks like someone (thing) you'd want to spend your money with. Did I mention your website never takes days off or gets sick?
Now you can begin to understand how to effectively present information on your website. You'll want to spend less time fixing your salesperson's socks color (read: website colors) and more time teaching them high-powered sales copy to be used when chatting with customers (read: improve your sales copy on your website).
If you make it your goal to fully equip your website like it was going to be your employee of the month for years to come you will be well on your way to selling a lot of products online.
This is truly what web design is all about – customer experience. And it's your sales team and website that drives much of that experience for your customers so equip them well.