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In a competitive digital market, defining and guiding the visitor journey from the outset is a now a key part the of website design and development process.
Since the inception of the world wide web back in the 80s, website design has grown increasingly more sophisticated – the result of having passed through several decades of rapid digital development, and an almost unfeasible explosion of new technologies, devices, apps, and widgets, not to mention cloud-driven software and data management, social media and digital marketing.
The internet has grown up
Amongst all this noise, millions of websites have arisen and dropped away, all testament to the ever-changing fashions in web design, and an ever more demanding and critical audience. Remember for instance Flash animation, mega menus, endless drill-downs and life before tablets and mobile responsiveness? All of these trends were just small steps on a journey that has seen website design repeatedly refined and redefined to become the smart, sharp, honed, tracked and analysed to produce the high-performing websites of today.
What’s going on at the top?
In fact today, most significant business websites (think Nike, BBC, BP etc…) have been devised from a highly sophisticated strategy with specific aims, functions and endpoints by a team of marketing and design specialists based on sales and data analysis and audience testing. It is a precision operation and one that commands high budgets and demands equally high returns, be that in direct sales, or as a flag-bearer or showcase for the company brand.
Bringing high-end thinking to SMBs
So how can smaller and medium businesses leverage this approach and improve their presence in the digital market? The answer is to employ the same thinking as the leaders. For starters, a website strategy should take into consideration:
Where does the visitor journey come in, what does it do and why do I need it?
Designing a website isn’t just about creating a nice-looking billboard, it isn’t about explaining your entire business online, it is about helping visitors understand your business/service and leading them as quickly and concisely as possible to specific action points.
Here’s what the process encapsulates:
Ultimately if you can take a step back mentally from your own business, you can try to stand in your potential customers’ shoes. From this vantage point you can hope to see how a first-time visitor might perceive your website, and from there consider how best to guide them through your business/service.
Customers need to be able to quickly assimilate what you are about and feel confident about what you do. This, in turn, should give rise to taking positive action towards your business and making contact.
Or alternatively invite someone from outside of your business to offer that vantage point.