Learn the key web design usability principles that help you increase the sales effectiveness of your company’s website design.

In this post, I’ll cover the key aspects of creating or improving your company’s website with better web design.

The purpose of this post is not to teach you how to be a website designer or producer since this is not your job.

This post will cover the basic principles of presentation and marketing execution used in the web design and development process.

As a chief marketing officer (CMO), you should know enough about website development to drive a stake in the ground.

You may need to originate and execute a rough but plausible working initial design of your company’s website. One that presents your company and its products effectively and convincingly online, to meet your company’s sales and marketing goals.

In this post, I will demystify the web design and production process, by providing you with some guiding principles to give to your staff and outside vendors, such as a third party website design agency, to develop a website that shortens your company sales cycle and sells your company’s products.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile-friendly website.

A Website’s Three Most Important Functions

The three most important functions they website can provide to any business are:

  • Information
  • Communications
  • Transactions

Information for the website

Your company’s website is an important extension of the way your company distributes information on its products and services. A well-designed website helps your company shorten the sales cycle.

This is done by providing interesting prospects with the information they need on your company’s product or service, prior to their purchasing decision.

Like it or not, today’s smart, web-savvy business consumer is already using internet search engines like Google.

They are searching for information about your company and its products. Your prospects are already forming a judgment and making decisions on your company and its products based on the information they see on the internet.

89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine. Click To Tweet

From information sources other than your company’s website, such as independent news articles written on your company and its products.

This includes comments on internet discussion groups and social media platforms. And if they don’t find the information they’re looking for on your company’s website, they may well find it on your competitor site and buy it there.

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Give interested visitors and prospects all the information they require on your company’s products and services.

Start by adding a frequently asked question (FAQ) page, an online product catalog, product photos, diagrams, and graphics, e-Books, or PDF format printable brochures.

Click To Tweet

By enabling site visitors and prospects to select the information they want on your company’s products. Then your website will help to shorten your company sales cycle.

Giving interested prospect’s the information they want to see on your company and its products. And then turning them into a prospect who’s ready to buy with lead nurturing. This is typically accomplished through lead scoring and lead nurturing with a marketing automation platform like Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign.

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Marketing Communications

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Source: Pixabay

Your website is always on. Itís a two-way communications channel the website visitors, prospect, customers, in the broader circle of those interested in your company.

For example, business and trade media, investors, analysts, and other prospective business partners.

At a minimum, you can begin to unlock the tremendous communications potential by publishing a free email newsletter to send to interested prospects and customers. This will keep your company name in front of interested readers every time they receive communications from your company.

You can extend this communications power be on periodic email newsletters to a full-blown online discussion forum on your company’s website. Your customers and prospects can openly discuss your company’s products and their applications with your own company’s internal technical, marketing and support staff.

Additionally, with CRM fields completed for a user profile, you can begin to develop one to one personalized communication with your target audience.

The sense of openness that is fostered by these more or less free, unedited online exchanges creates a positive image of your company in the minds of all website visitors. This also shows your company’s respect for their views of its prospects and customers.

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TrackVia also saw the potential inbound marketing offered to attract visitors, convert leads, and close more deals.

Website transactions

Of course, many B2B websites can also serve as online ordering and transaction points. This is where customers can purchase your company’s product directly from your e-commerce website.

Well, this functionality represents the ideal. There are several key factors will influence whether or not a company can utilize its own website for online direct sales transactions of its products.

For example, a company is more likely to be successful in selling its products directly from its website if it sells a relatively low price product. Or a product that is a well-known commodity.

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Conversely, it is more difficult for a company to sell higher price products requiring extensive explanation and longer sales cycles, or products that are completely new and innovative in their brand category.

Also, selling products directly from your company’s website may pose an untenable risk if your company has already developed a well-established dealer or distributor sales network. In some cases, a direct website sales feature can coexist with established dealer networks.

Only if it is promoted as merely another customer service oriented sales channel. And it is introduced in a low-key way to minimize disruption to establish sales and distribution channels.

While transaction function may not be workable for every company’s website, it certainly represents the idea out for many business marketers.

Characteristics of First-rate Business Websites

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Source: Pixabay

Successful and marketing-oriented business websites share the following common characteristics:

  • Passing the 10-second test: Anyone who reaches your company’s website for the first time should within 10 seconds, be able to understand what products are company sells. What is the product, and, in the most basic way, understand what your company’s products can do for them. Simple presentation and clarity of explanation of your website are the keys to meeting this 10-second test. Anything that gets in the way of this purpose, such as over-produced website design, or irrelevant, gimmicky flash intro screens. It will only delay your interested prospect unnecessarily. They want to learn more about your company’s products and ultimately have an adverse impact on your websiteís power to sell your products. Additionally, it impacts the speed of your website as well.
  • Intuitive access: Visitors to your website should be able to reach any feature of importance on it, easily. They shouldnít have to work too hard to figure out how to get the information they’re looking for. The most important parts of your website. For example, itís the places you want website visitors and prospects to reach at all times. This should be the most prominently featured link on your website. These links must be displayed where the user expects to see them, it must not create confusion or difficulty for the user.
  • Top presentation quality: Like any other marketing deliverable, your company’s website is a reflection of your company’s image and character. Today’s media-savvy business web user will expect your website to meet a minimum level of presentation design quality. The key to good website design is to achieve a clean, functional, and usable website design. Donít fall into the common trap of having your company’s website appear over design.  This occurs when a website designers are too focused on your company’s brand image, and make decisions favoring design and style over content and usability.

Web Design and Development Ground Rules: Basic Design Template for Success

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Contrary to what web designers will tell you, the process of designing usable, functional and effective websites is neither mysterious nor complicated.

In the past decade that has passed since the initial, explosive growth of the internet. Today, web design has evolved into the more last standardized basic design format now being used for most business websites.

Where key links are displayed, top to bottom, with other key navigation links displayed from left to right at the top and bottom of each web page.

The sidebar layout, often found in blogs, has proven itself to be a useful and easy-to-navigate format for web users of every skill level. A vast number of web designs utilizing this design format have also condition web users to look for the right-hand or left-handed sidebar on every website they access.

While some might say this homogenization of web interfaces. Some web designers believe it has taken some of the innovation out of web design. The main benefit of the standard format is that it helps all web users anticipate key information and navigation links on a website.

It gives users an immediate, intuitive sense of where everything is on the website, so they can quickly find what they’re looking for.

Since there are many creative design possibilities available in the standard web design, you should look at your creative options. Use design layouts that boost the usability of your website.

Think of your web design like the user interface of the automobile. It evolved into the standard arrangement of the gas pedal, brake pedal, steering wheel, and speedometer, to make driving easier for everyone.

Basic Web Design, Layout and Production Techniques for CMOs

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Source: Canva

As a CMO, you aren’t expected to be a website designer or developer. However, you do play an important role in driving the process of developing and executing an effective, marketing-oriented website for your company.

Before you can drive this process, you must first decide what you want your company’s website to do for your company. And then place your thoughts, ideas, and objectives into a form that can then be understood by your web developers. Then translated into a functionally, successful website.  

As you start any website development project, you should prepare your own rough, initial outline and specification. These are the key functional elements you believe are important for your company’s web project.

Generally speaking, web designers and developers are either artists or techies. But for a lead generating website, you must have real-world sales experience and minimal background knowledge of your product sales benefits or your company’s marketing objectives.

Your initial outline specification starts every web project out on the right track. By keeping it firmly anchored in the reality of your company’s marketing requirements.

I’ll explain some basic techniques to help you prepare your initial website specs, including the three-step web design and production process. This will give you the basic background knowledge needed to work with a web developer to produce an effective website.

These techniques applied both to the development of an entirely new website for your company, and ongoing website redesign project as well.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile-friendly website.

1. Your Two Best Web Design Tools: Pencil on Paper

Start your web outlining process by shutting off your computer and taking out your pencil and notepad. Quality website development should always begin as a low-tech task, which is the process of deciding:

  • What content do you have?
  • Where should you be placed on your website?
  • What is most important for your audience to see first?

Translated into harder-hitting, marketing-oriented objectives, your own website specification should help your company’s web developers answer these questions:

  • What are we selling?
  • How should this information be organized on our website?
  • What is the most important thing we want our prospects to do when they visit our website?

The end result of the exercises outlined in this post will help you to address these three important website marketing objectives in your outline and specification. This initial outline serves as your web developer starting point in the execution of your company’s website.

If you are working with a website developer, it is also likely they will expand and enhance your initial vision on the website documented.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile-friendly website.

2. Creating a Rough Draft of a Web Design and Layout

To begin the process of creating your own website layout in rough draft form starts out by jotting down some notes to answer these three questions:

  • What does our company do, what products do we sell, and what’s the best thing about these products? Write this down, in 30 words or less. This is quite similar to the elevator sales copywriting exercise I’ve covered in an earlier post.
  • What are the six most important things I want my target audience to know about my company and its products? List of most important, general facts about your company, and the most important benefits of your company’s product or service, as in the following examples:
    • Your company’s product line
    • Product technical specs
    • An online demo of your company’s product in action
    • Product use cases and how-to tips
    • Customer reviews and testimonials
    • Company news
    • Management team profiles
    • Downloadable, free software, or free giveaway
    • Free email newsletter

What Are the Three Most Important Things I Want Prospects to Do When They Access Our Company’s Website?

Create your own list of six items, then rank them in order from 1 to 6 where 6 is the least important.

3. What Are the Three Most Important Things I Want Prospects to Do When They Access Our Company’s Website?

Think of this as your call-to-action to interested potential buyers who visit your companyís website. †Select from the ideas below, or jot down any other Ďdoí steps that apply to your company in its market:

  • Order now
  • Visit our online store
  • Request an estimate
  • Request a catalog
  • Contact us
  • Sign up for a demo
  • Find a location near you
  • Get a free sample

Write down your own list of these sales action steps, and simple two to four-word sentences, similar to the ones above. It’s like no more than three of the most important of these, and rank them 1, 2, and 3 order. Thatís from most important to least important, left to right on a sheet of paper.

The result of 1, 2, and 3 above forms the basis of your rough layout specification for your company’s primary website design.

Wrap-Up

As a CMO, you aren’t expected to be a website designer or developer. But you do play an important role in driving the process of developing and executing a marketing-oriented business website for your company.

If you need help with website design check out this Vermont web design agency out.

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General FAQ’s

What is web design?

Web design†is the process of creating websites. It encompasses several different aspects, including†webpage†layout, content production, SEO, and graphic†design. While the terms†web design†and†web development†are used interchangeably,†web design†is technically a subset of the broader category of†web development.


What is website design?

Website design†is the process of creating websites. It includes several different aspects, including†webpage†layout, SEO, content production, and graphic†design. While the terms†website design†and†website development†are often used interchangeably,†website design†is technically a subset of the broader category of†website development.


What are the benefits of web design?

Responsive web design benefits website designers, web developers, businesses, and, most importantly, users in the following ways:
1. More Web Traffic.
2. Faster Mobile Speeds.
3. Better SEO.
4. Faster Loading Webpages.
5. Lower Bounce Rates.
6. Higher Conversion Rates.
7. Better Analytics Reporting.


What is the cost of website design?

The average†cost†for†designing†a†website†ranges from $5,000 to over $100,000. Several factors impact the†price of web design, including the†website’s†style, size, and functionality features.

– Responsive Design: $5,000 to $25,000
– Ecommerce Functionality: $7,000 to $25,000
– Site Copywriting: $100 to $300 per page

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