Hey friend! I’m Maggie, the founder of Hoffman Creative Co., a Branding + Showit web design studio based in the PNW. I’ve been able to work with lots of creative entrepreneurs in building out show-stopping websites and brands. I’m so excited to chat with you about websites on Tristyn’s blog!
I’m so passionate about good quality design because I know the importance of consistency, and the work it takes to fix poor branding.
What Is Branding?
Now before I get too far, I want to talk about branding. What is it?
Branding is more than just a logo. It’s an atmosphere, experience, and a feeling. I know, that sounds kinda silly, but think about this.
When you go into stores like Starbucks, Amazon, Walmart, or Sephora, you know what you’re going to get. There are no surprises. You know it will likely be set up the same way, smell the same, the employees will (generally) all act the same way.
That my friend is a brand. These companies have worked hard to build something that lasts their five-dollar coffee. It’s an experience. Something that you will remember. And ultimately the thing that keeps you going back—even if they mess up your name on the order.
Branding isn’t just about the logo and colors. It’s about how you want your ideal customer to feel after they’ve interacted with you.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s move to your website and the importance of having one, and a good design on it.
Importance of Websites
Since the pandemic there has been an uptake in new businesses starting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau “In 2020, there was an explosion in new business applications, reaching nearly 4.5 million by year’s end—a 24.3 percent increase from 2019 and 51.0 percent higher than the 2010-19 average” (Economic Innovation Group).
This is important because, with the rise of new businesses, and the lockdown, businesses needed to rely on the internet to sell their products.
Now living in 2022, it’s almost unheard of for businesses to not have a website. If I’m looking for a place to eat, get my nails done, or go shop, I’m checking for a website. And get skeptical if a business doesn’t have one.
Websites are similar to your storefront if you have a brick-and-mortar building. You can put up information, and ways to connect with your customers and share your products.
You’d be shocked to enter a store and see nothing about what they sell, how much it costs, or have a person to speak with, right?? So think about your website, it’s the same principle.
Websites need to be more than just a sign that says “Hi, we’re open!” You need to include valuable information for your ideal client so they can know who you are.
Without a website, especially this year, you are missing out on building trust with your clients and marketing your business.
Importance of Mobile Websites
Let’s also touch on here the importance of making sure your website is functional on mobile devices.
If you were to look at your website traffic, you’d likely see that more than half of your visitors are viewing your site on their mobile devices. Check out these two resources from Perficient and Statista with some data to back it up—but you can also check out your analytics, too.
If you don’t have a site that is easy to navigate, loads quickly and is optimized for mobile sites, you’ll lose customers.
Think about how you interact with your mobile device and other businesses’ websites, too. I know I hop off a site if it isn’t loading fast enough, or is hard to use. Chances are, I’m not alone.
So, I need a website, does it matter what it looks like?
The short answer here is YES. Similar to what I shared above, you want a site that is easy to navigate and includes all the information your ideal client needs.
When I design websites with my clients, we work hard to put their ideal clients at the forefront of the design.
What would they be looking for? What information would be helpful to them to make a purchase, or contact you? A lot of this plays into copywriting as well, which Tristyn can help you with!
But it also plays into the design strategy.
Having a visually appealing website is one thing, but if the design is popping, and the text is lacking, you will have people pop off your site almost as fast as they entered it.
The design of your website needs to be a tool that shares your brand and speaks clearly to whom you’re trying to reach.
How do I get a good website design?
There are lots of web hosting companies—think Squarespace, WordPress, and BlueHost. I work on a hosting site called Showit 5. They are a fully-customizable web hosting company that is drag and drop without HTML coding.
Showit, along with many other web hosting sites, offers templates you can purchase or use to design your website.
When I sign on with a new web design client, I typically ask them what led them to the redesign? Most say that they DIY’d their site and chose something they liked. It lacked the strategy and focus of its ideal client’s needs.
Working on a template, or with a designer to customize your website is completely a preference—there is no one right way to do it.
But I encourage all business owners to think about their ideal client when they are looking at templates and building their site.
Without that focus, I believe websites tend to fail and ideal customers bounce off the site because they are not able to connect with the brand and website design.
Working with a website designer, positions business owners to think strategically and keep an eye on the long game to ensure they are serving their clients and building a brand that can support their vision.
So yes, Website design really does matter, especially in this digital age. Finding a web host that meets your needs, and can build a professional-looking website will help set you apart from your competition.
But, what do I put on my website?
I hope that I’ve been able to share the importance of having a website that functions well on both desktop and mobile. And the importance of strategically building a site (along with stellar copy) that speaks to your ideal client.
But now you may be wondering, what do I include in it?
Great question! I share lots of tips on what to include on your website on my blog—I even made a DIY website checklist, which you can check out—but I wanted to share four things here too.
- Contact Information: share ways to contact you, your business hours, and response time.
This is SUPER helpful for us service providers and is a common courtesy to share so your ideal client knows when you will get back to them
- Your Offerings and the Cost
I know this can be a controversial topic, but I think including the cost, or starting cost of your services shows gives you a more valuable connection with your clients. If you walked into a store that had no prices listed, would you stick around (or track a sales team member down) to find the cost? Or would you leave?
- Who you are
This is HUGE! Especially in the service industry, if you are a one-woman show or a team, let your ideal client know! We purchase from those we know, like, and trust. If you don’t share who you are, would someone what to buy from you?
- Past work + Testimonials
This builds off the previous point. One of the best ways to build trust with a client is to have reviews. Share those positive words EVERYWHERE on your site, it builds credibility and also allows future clients to put themselves in that “I want to experience that too!” mindset.
Do I hire a Website Designer?
Friend, that answer is completely up to you. If you are new to the business and your budget is tight, then the answer might be no, not yet. Build a DIY site—be sure to get my DIY checklist—or buy a strategic template to help you get started.
But if you are in a season where you have the ability to invest in your business, then I say yes! Trust an expert designer and get your dream site built.
If you don’t have a website for your business, I hope this post shares the importance of having a site, the key role design has in it and also gives you confidence as you work on your website and business.
I also want to express the importance of copywriting and design. The two go hand in hand with strategic designs and truly help your brand come to life on a screen. I know that both Tristyn and I would love to help you up-level your business and make sure your ideal clients feel seen when they are on your website. Pop into my inbox to chat about your design!
I’m cheering you on friend, you can do this! Come say hi on the ‘gram, I’m @mrs.maggiehoffman.