Design of the Times
Now that you’ve done your due diligence and decided on a marketing agency that meets your specific needs, it’s time to design, or redesign, your shop’s website.
During an extreme website makeover, one of the most important aspects to consider is the design. Just like when you remodel your home because it needs expansion, renovation or an aesthetic enhancement, website redesigns are necessary for the same types of reasons – technological advancements, product/service growth or outdated looks and style.
Many shop owners believe that website design is a one-time proposition. The truth is, there are many factors that affect your shop’s needs – like adding services or locations that might require changes in design strategy. Even when your website design contains all the features for marketing success, changes are still inevitable. Internet standards change so rapidly that a lack of awareness and an inability to adapt can make your shop look out of touch and amateurish.
For instance, building websites with a responsive design has become a “must” over the past few years. A quality website designer will be the perfect mix of artist and marketing strategist. Though it’s important for you to be impressed with original and attractive designs, the Web designer will also know what works for the user and customer experience.
Remember that your website, and its design, is fluid, and it’s supposed to make the customer comfortable and appreciate the ease of communication and navigation. Some design techniques are tried-and-true, while others are innovative. Trust your website designers and your marketing agency to know the difference.
A case in point
Sparks Computerized Car Care in Muncie, Ind., is an example of a shop whose website went through a necessary and beneficial extreme website makeover. During its July 2015 redesign, the shop made its site mobile-friendly by adopting those responsive website design standards I’ve mentioned. The site content reshuffles and resizes to look great on any device.
Customers are looking for auto repair shops on a variety of devices, and they won’t stand for inconvenience and difficulty. Besides an increase in mobile-friendly searches, Sparks Computerized Car Care experienced a 22-position leap in Google ranking after adding “alignment” to the shop’s website home page.
If content is king, then convenience should be considered queen. Nothing will turn off potential customers faster than a complicated, confusing or cluttered website. Your design should make it simple for visitors to read, understand and take action. The calls to action (CTA) need to be located in a prominent position near the top of the design on both mobile devices and desktops. This is probably the single most important placement because the CTA can complete the purpose of the website – to call or schedule an appointment – all by itself.
If customers are forced to work to find what they need, they’ll get annoyed and look for that X-button to close the website instead. Your website design makeover should make everything easier.
The transition from Web page to the phone or scheduling system should never be a difficult process. The all-important CTAs should always stand out from the rest of the page, making them easy to find. Be sure to prevent them from blending into and hiding among the rest of the Web page’s text and images.
Your agency’s Web designer will know the most effective ways to highlight your CTAs, including colorful, bold and intriguing fonts. Make sure your website design uses information that encourages conversion. For instance, stay away from mentions of price or other auto shops’ options.
For many people, your website will be their first impression of your shop. This is an excellent opportunity to impress them before they meet you or judge your services. When consumers visit sites with amateurish or out-of-focus photographs, they can only assume the auto services will be amateurish and “out-of-focus” too. Using a professional photographer is usually the best move. However, you can take professional-looking photographs yourself by remembering these easy-to-follow steps.
• Make sure everyone who appears on your site is clean and professional looking. That goes for your shop, too. You can find some good examples of quality shop photos on Sparks Computerized Car Care’s “About Us” page. Photos of team members inside a clean shop show how presentable, professional and personable it is. Clean lines and simplistic designs prevent its site from looking cluttered. Personalized, custom shop photos show that your website and your shop are sophisticated and professional.
• Your website design should always make it clear what you do. Sounds simple, but many shops fail at making their purpose clear. Visitors should know immediately if they’re in the right place. This means communicating the types of services you provide and also adding contact info.
• When potential customers visit your site, your expertise and specialty services should be highlighted front and center. Keep it as easy as possible to navigate to the particular services, but a good designer can strategically place your phone number or address in a way that makes picking up the phone or hopping in the car seem just as easy.
Trust Your Website Designer
You probably have a clear vision and expectation for your website’s performance. But your Web designer will be instrumental in showing you how to accomplish this.
When you chose your marketing agency, you chose them for their expertise. There may be designs that you think look great but don’t yield the best results for your particular needs. Shop owners will sometimes let personal preferences get in the way of solid design strategy.
Be sure to include all the certifications and associations that make you an expert in your field. These are the details that should be positioned prominently because their appearance alone can sell a potential customer. Your website designer will make the best use of the details that add to your credibility.