Back when the web was young, businesses built their websites without much care for best practices. Web design was typically just artistic statement constrained only by technological limitations. Navigation and element placement was simply best guess. Now, 2 decades later, the bar has been raised. Best practices have emerged. Data-driven user experience (UX) has relegated simple website design to the ash heap of history.
Here are 3 reasons why:
Reinforcing your brand requires a solid UX.
You've heard it before: Your brand is not your logo, it's the promise of an experience. The uniqueness of your brand is more than color and font choices. It's how your value proposition differentiates you from your competitors and how that creates a special bond between you and your customers. A website that is created simply as the platform for your designer's artistic expression may match the visual identity of your company, but unless it is architected by a specialist who understands the experience your brand promises to deliver, your website will be eroding, not reinforcing, your brand.
That's why marketers with an awareness of the importance of experiences as part of a brand create custom online experiences rather than using templates or themes for their website structure. Smart marketers know that templates can only provide what the "average" visitor wants to see. Your brand is unique. So is your customer. That relationship can only be reinforced with a user experience just as unique.
Being found in search engines requires a solid UX.
Gone are the days when meta data alone got your site on page one of a Google search. Search engine optimization (SEO) has become exponentially more complex. While Google's algorithms are constantly being extensively studied, the exact combination of factors necessary to achieve a high position is still unknown. Content and keywords matter. Code matters. Mobile-friendly matters. But as Google analyzes hundreds of factors to determine which sites deserve page one placement their objective is becoming increasingly clear:
Google now strives to direct a searcher to a site they'll "like."
Considering things like usability and likeability, time spent on site, return visitors, and whether content from a website is being shared, Google is now using artificial intelligence to predict which sites will produce a UX that provides the most user satisfaction for any given keyword search. The connection between artificial intelligence and UX is so important to Google that when the person who had led their search indicatives for 15 years stepped down, he was replaced by their Head of Artificial Intelligence.
While tasteful, artistic design contributes to a site's likability, sites that rank the highest are the ones that combine multiple factors to reward their visitors with an intuitive, predictive, and comfortable user experience.
Meeting your site's success goals requires a solid UX
To justify the expense of a digital and website marketing, CFOs require CMOs to show a return on their investment. Calculating that return requires analysis of your traffic with proof that the user interface is effectively converting visitors into customers. Unless your site has been built to facilitate the same sales and marketing experience that your best salespeople do, that proof will be hard to provide.
Great sales people guide customers on the journey through the marketing funnel. They understand their needs, anticipate their questions, overcome their objections, earn their trust, build their confidence, and close the sale. Your website's UX needs to do the same.
Here at Trivera, we use a discovery process that works with our client's team to identify and understand their target audiences. We ascertain the thought processes of their desired target user at every step from awareness, consideration and intent, to conversion and loyalty. We then turn to the data, first looking at their current site to see where the UX is falling short, then using outside predictive research to create a model for an optimal UX. Trivera's approach builds a site with a UX that faithfully replicates the human experience, creates success, and provides ROI.
Web design isn't just about making your website "pretty," it's about reinforcing your brand, getting found in the search engines, and producing a level of success that justifies the investment. Understanding and executing a solid UX is the key to all three.
About Tom Snyder
Tom Snyder, founder, president and CEO of Trivera, a 22 year old strategic digital marketing firm, with offices in suburban Milwaukee. Tom has been blogging since 1998, sharing the insight gained from helping businesses and organizations reinforce their brands by taking full advantage of digital and Web technology as powerful tactics in their marketing and communications strategy.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
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