"Unveiling 5 Web Designer Pitfalls: A Fresh Perspective on Industry Issues"
By Scott Humphries, Owner/CEO - The Right Path Marketing
In February 2021, I made a bold career move. I left my corporate sales job at a financial training firm to take a more entrepreneurial route of trying to grow a startup digital marketing firm. As part of my journey, I dedicated myself to studying the processes used by web design businesses to create websites for their clients. This deep dive into the industry gave me valuable insights.
During my studies, I noticed a recurring pattern. Many businesses I spoke with expressed regret and dissatisfaction with their past experiences working with web design firms.
Recognizing the recurring pattern of dissatisfaction among businesses working with web design firms, it became clear to me that specific pitfalls within web development needed to be understood and overcome. This article will delve into five common pitfalls in web development. By vetting web developers who know how to avoid these pitfalls, your business will be more likely to get a website that increases your profitability.
Let's explore these five pitfalls:
(1) The "We Can Make It Do This" Approach:
Some web developers lead with their capabilities rather than taking the time to listen to their client's vision. Additionally, some developers prioritize their own preferences and tools over understanding the client's needs. This internal focus often leads to a website having features it doesn't need to accomplish the client's goals. I advise businesses to avoid hiring web developers who boast of their capabilities early in the conversation. Ensure your web developer listens actively to you when discussing your business's goals and vision. Website developers must gather your information to evaluate the project before selecting the necessary tools and technologies.
(2) Failure to Focus on Message:
When building a website, it's crucial to make the website clearly conveys the intended message to visitors. Website marketing firms that truly understand the client's brand, unique selling points, and target audience, and develop the website's message before diving into the design process, are more likely to create a website that effectively communicates the intended message and converts visitors into customers. Conversely, developers who prioritize design over messaging often end up delivering websites that fail to provide a satisfactory return on investment.
Unfortunately, too many web developers fall into the latter category, relying too much on pre-designed templates, practicing form over function. These templates are often created for specific industries and don't allow for a unique and personalized brand experience for the client.
Another issue is that some website designers rely on their clients to provide content for the website instead of writing the website copy or bringing in a professional copywriter. While this approach can work if the client already has well-crafted content designed to engage visitors, most businesses need help writing about themselves while keeping their message clear. In such cases, bringing in an external or internal specialist in branding and copywriting is important to develop the content. Furthermore, creating a brand guide that serves as the foundation for the website's messaging is essential before any writing takes place.
(3) Lack of branded photos and headshots: Web Design and Brand Photography
Let’s face it, stock photos often look unprofessional and undermine a website's credibility. A web developer who suggests professional brand photos, headshots, or product photos demonstrates a commitment to a well-branded website. Reputable web developers typically have access to brand photographers and understand the importance of incorporating these visuals into the project.
The Right Path Marketing is pleased to be one of the website marketing firms that work with Prospect Street Studio, and I worked with Carrington personally to complete my own headshots and brand photography.
Branded photos and professional headshots are essential to create a website that truly sells the business and establishes a connection with visitors. They instill trust, enhance credibility, and create a personal connection with potential customers. Moreover, these visuals contribute to the origin story and brand narrative, resulting in better engagement.
(4) Stopping at Mobile Responsiveness:
Most website design firms now emphasize the need for a mobile responsive website, and these firms deliver on creating websites that fit the mobile screen size well. But unfortunately, many fail to go the extra step of optimizing the website for mobile performance.
Google, which accounts for over 90% of the world's search traffic at the time of this writing, uses Page Experience as part of its criteria for ranking firms in search results, and mobile performance is a factor in their Page Experience rating. Check your website's Mobile Performance score at https://pagespeed.web.dev/, where you'll see both mobile and desktop scores. A score of about 80 or higher for mobile performance is essential. It will often differentiate you from your competitors, thus improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which leads us to our next pitfall.
(5) The No Emphasis on SEO Development:
Although not every company requires a comprehensive SEO strategy, every website should be developed with SEO considerations, irrespective of the industry and target market. Failing to implement the necessary codes and tags in website creation is considered lazy and can lead to loss of business. Developers should incorporate SEO practices into the development process to prevent this detrimental outcome.
One crucial aspect of SEO is setting the correct schema code. Schema markup helps search engines understand the content and context of a webpage, allowing them to display relevant information in search results. By implementing schema markup appropriately, developers can enhance the website's visibility and increase the chances of attracting targeted organic traffic.
Another essential aspect of SEO is optimizing titles and meta tags. These elements are displayed in search engine result pages (SERPs) and significantly determine whether users click on the website's link. It is often a missed opportunity when companies appear on SERPs with generic titles like "<Their Company Name> - Home." Instead, developers should focus on creating compelling title tags and meta descriptions that entice searchers to click and explore the webpage further.
Keyword research and usage are integral to effective SEO. Developers should conduct thorough research to identify relevant keywords and incorporate them strategically throughout the website's content. Developers will enhance your search engine rankings by aligning the website's messaging with high-value keywords.
In conclusion, as I ventured into web design and digital marketing, I gained valuable insights by recognizing common mistakes that my agency, The Right Path Marketing, strives to avoid.
If you're a business owner or entrepreneur aiming to transform your website into a powerful sales asset that attracts and converts customers, The Right Path Marketing is here to help. We offer a comprehensive free consultation for website and SEO services that go beyond the standard website "audit" provided by most web development firms. Whether you're considering starting a website project or seeking ways to drive more business through your existing website, I would be delighted to talk with you.
Scott Humphries is the Owner and CEO of The Right Path Marketing, a Milford, Massachusetts, website development, search engine optimization (SEO), and online paid ad services company that focuses on understanding each client’s ideal customer profile (ICP), branding, and messaging at the beginning of each project.