Building a website is perhaps the most important thing a business can do for its brand.

After all, 91% of online consumers use search engines to regularly find information yet only 64% of small businesses actually have a dedicated site for their business.  

Plus, 80% of companies that don’t achieve their revenue goals have fewer than 10,000 monthly visitors.

But with custom websites costing tens of thousands of dollars (or more!), brands can’t afford a misstep when it comes to choosing a web design agency, designing their interface, or marketing their site to their target audience.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, DesignRush sat down with Andrew Ruditser, lead technology coordinator at MAXBURST, Inc. – a top web design agency with over a decade of experience creating custom sites that routinely generate high organic traffic, leads, conversions, time on site and more.

Ruditser shared the 10 major web design lessons every brand should keep in mind as they set out to build a platform to grow their business – and each of his tips is proven to improve project efficacy and overall website performance.

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MAXBURST’s top 10 web design lessons are:

1. The Client Doesn’t “Own” The Agency

In our experience, the worst misconception that some companies have in mind when they begin a project is thinking that they own us.

Some clients are totally oblivious to the creative process of website design and development and they assume that because they entered into a contract with us, they basically own us.

We try to set expectations very early on during the sales process by explaining that we are a creative group of professionals and we thrive when we are not under a microscope and micromanaged to death.

When web design agencies are given the chance to flex their creative and analytical wings, that’s when the best websites are created and the best returns on investment are generated.

2. Above-The-Fold Homepage Elements Are A Top Priority

That is simple -- it is always your homepage – but specifically, the area that is above the fold.

In this area, you must capture your users' attention within a 3-second window or suffer from increase bounce-rates.

It is this area that we focus strongly on our clients' branding and messaging. We carefully craft the proper balance of design and messaging in order to increase the chances that the user will want to interact further by scrolling down or clicking into an inner-page of the website where we then typically see a higher rate of converting the user to an actual lead.

3. But Different Sitewide Metrics Will Demonstrate Success

I would have to say that overall site performance is the most important metric for increased traffic and conversions.

We strongly measure these 5 things when working with our clients to improve their results:

  1. Site uptime.
  2. Website speed optimization.
  3. Site navigation.
  4. Mobile performance.
  5. Content availability.

4. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Clear Call To Action

Strong call-to-action elements like a request a quote or learn more buttons are important in increasing overall conversions.

These elements need to be placed strategically within the overall design and properly fit the site's message in order to guide the user towards the call-to-action element.

You can see an example of our call-to-action technique which converts very well above.

5. SEO Is The No. 1 Long-Term Digital Marketing Strategy

Long-term marketing strategies for websites involve more time and investment but over time lead to a larger return-on-investment. Search engine optimization, SEO, is the most effective long-term strategy even more so than paid search methods.

When a website is optimized correctly, it will help increase the sites rankings and visibility in search engines which in turn will increase the amount of traffic to a website.

Current statistics show web users are anywhere from 10 times to 20 times more likely to click on an organic link than a paid one depending on the type of search query and the device used for the search itself.

As updates are constantly occurring, you must be pro-active. In order to maintain your site's rankings, you must continue your efforts as increased search engine rankings depend on continuous SEO.

You definitely want to pay attention to your metadata optimization, the creation of keyword-friendly content, schema markup, backlink building, and more.

Plus, not only does backlink building increase a website's authority but it also can drive referral traffic to your site.

Be sure to fulfill Google's E.A.T. requirements - Expertise, Authority and Trust - and include those trust signals in your overall on-page and off-page SEO strategies.

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6. But Search Engine Optimization Can Provide Short-Term Boosts, Too

Most people think of organic SEO as playing the long game; that it involves a lengthy waiting period for results to kick in. However, there are techniques to speed up the process and help garner an immediate website rankings boost.

Some of them can be fairly risky such as PBN links, expired domains and SAPE links. Think more along the lines of the less controversial and more Google-friendly tactics - primarily adding some sort of social component to the mix.

We always recommend a dash of social with any type of organic content marketing strategy. When launching a new blog post with the intent of ranking for specific keywords, we're able to jumpstart the process with paid social signals.

Your best bet is to run a low budget Facebook traffic ad campaign aimed at generating website clicks directly to your blog post. The social traffic serves as a means to demonstrate relevancy in eyes of Google while also creating a user-friendly content engagement pattern.

The resulting website visits and inevitable social shares will give an almost immediate rankings boost to your content. The key is to then follow up with traditional SEO methods to stabilize those rankings for the long term.

7. Social Media & Content Marketing Should Be Implemented In Web Strategies

We always recommend a dash of social with any type of organic content marketing strategy. When launching a new blog post with the intent of ranking for specific keywords, we're able to jumpstart the process with paid social signals.

Your best bet is to run a low budget Facebook traffic ad campaign aimed at generating website clicks directly to your blog post. The social traffic serves as a means to demonstrate relevancy in eyes of Google while also creating a user-friendly content engagement pattern.

The resulting website visits and inevitable social shares will give an almost immediate rankings boost to your content. The key is to then follow up with traditional SEO methods to stabilize those rankings for the long term.

8. When Seeking A Web Design Agency, Brands Should Look For Established Firms

Check to make sure that the agency has been in business longer than 5 years with stable financials and current clients.

MAXBURST receives many calls from distressed clients that have been burned by their previous web design company. It is almost always the exact same story we hear. “We hired this company to take on our project and they suddenly disappeared on us” or “our previous company quoted us one price but mid-way into the project they told us that misquoted us and demanded twice the price.”

This is obviously a major issue for companies that have allocated the proper funds for a project, but it can be avoided if you do your due diligence.

9. And Clients Should Also Determine Exactly Who Will Be Working On Their Website Design Project

Always ask your web design company who exactly will be working on the project.

Find out who the team is in detail. Who will be the project manager or point person and what are his or her exact credentials? Don’t be shy, request to speak to the main project manager that will be assigned to the project and ask questions, too.

A website design project is a big deal and will require a lot of time and resources to properly complete. You must feel comfortable with the agency and the team that will be handling the project from beginning to end and for years to come. 

10. Brands Must Learn Exactly What They Will Get Out Of A Project Before It Begins

As the client, you need to know exactly what you are getting into when engaging in such a project.

A website is arguably the most important part of a company’s brand/image. It is almost always the first thing a customer will want to see before considering doing any business with you.

You should know what your competitors are doing online and ultimately how you would like to be portrayed.

The rest will be on the shoulders of your digital agency, as they will be responsible to design, develop, strategize, and marketing you effectively.

Are you seeking to build a custom website that cultivates high traffic and strong conversions? Contact MAXBURST here to start your project!

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