You could argue that no single aspect of Internet marketing is more important than quality web design. The reality, though, is that most businesses don’t give it the attention it deserves.
It’s not that the average business website looks bad. But, there’s nothing beneath the surface that adds value.
These five features will help your site become more interactive, eye-catching, and navigable so that it may stand out among the rest in your consumer's eye.
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Good vs. Great Websites
Designing and developing a good website is extremely easy today. There are thousands of templates, themes, layouts, website builders, and self-help guides circulating around the internet. If you want a simple website that looks professional and allows your business to stake its claim in cyberspace, you’ll have no problem making this happen. In fact, it may only take one or two business days to design, develop, and launch a site. That’s how streamlined the process has become.
The issue is that today’s internet user is savvy and spoiled. They’re savvy in the sense that they visit hundreds of websites every week and understand the difference between a cheap, hastily thrown together site and a quality, highly-customized site. They’re spoiled in the sense that they’ve seen some really impressive features from leading industry websites and have grown accustomed to being wowed by the different sites they access on a regular basis.
This creates a conundrum. No longer is it acceptable to have a “good” website. While this may be enough to solidify your internet presence, it isn’t going to have any effect when it comes to engaging users and converting them into customers. What you really need is a great website.
But what’s the difference, you may ask? A great website is characterized by what’s beneath the surface, while a good website is only aesthetically pleasing. A great website is both aesthetically pleasing and useful. It has features that provide value to the end user and offer interaction beyond simple reading.
By investing in a great website, you can enhance your brand image, convert users into customers, and directly monetize your internet efforts in the form of more sales, higher conversions, and stronger brand equity. While it will require an investment of time and money on the front end, developing a great website will surely deliver a strong return on the back end.
5 Features That Add Depth and Value to a Site
Great web design is characterized by creativity and innovation. With that being said, you can still learn a lot by studying and mimicking what other brands are doing well. Here are a handful of features that you should consider integrating into your website to transform things from good to great.
1. Cost Calculators
If you’re looking to provide your users with tangible value, don’t overlook the effectiveness of investing in a cost calculator. These interactive features allow customers to price out your services according to their needs and demands. This eliminates unnecessary emails and phone calls and increases the likelihood of a potential customer reaching out to you.
One great example of an effective cost calculator in action is the fuel cost calculator on the Bayswater Car Rental website. It allows customers to select the car they’re interested in renting, adjust the fuel cost, and set their route. The calculator then comes back with an estimate for the total cost of fuel on the trip and gives the user the option to reserve a vehicle. It’s pretty easy to see how this feature adds direct value to the site.
2. Unique Contact Forms
A contact form should be more than just a contact form. If you really want users to reach out, you need to give them a reason to believe. Instead of simply having a page that rattles off different ways of getting in touch with your customer service department, try investing in some features that add value. These include unique designs, information about frequently asked questions, and the ability to contact you straight from the page.
While in German, this contact us page is a good example of doing something unique. Not only does it offer the standard contact form on the left hand side of the page, but it also provides an interactive aerial view of the company’s physical location so that customers can easily locate it. It’s small features like this that set a website’s contact form apart from the competition.
Related Article: How to Identify and Correct Problems in Your Web Design
3. Interactive Polls
People love to voice their opinions and be a part of something bigger. That’s why social networking platforms are so successful. When it comes to web design, it’s a good idea to include interactive features, such as polls.
The good news is that polls continually provide value and can be regularly refreshed. There are a number of simple polling tools you can use, including Polldaddy and Wedgies, which make designing polls on the fly simple and quick. By leveraging polls on a product page or home page, you can engage users and simultaneously gain customer feedback on pressing issues.
4. Behind the Scenes Videos
It’s no surprise that video’s influence is increasing in terms of internet marketing and web design. And as the internet becomes a much more visual place, it’s imperative that your business finds ways to naturally incorporate this content medium into its strategy.
One of the best options is to publish “behind the scenes” videos that give customers a look into what actually happens inside your company. The subject matter of these videos could be anything from a look at how you make a particular product to a day in the life of the CEO. If you want some inspiration for ideas and styles, check out these five behind the scenes videos compiled by ClearRiver Marketing Services.
5. Reveal-Based Features
There’s something exciting about catching a glimpse of something you can’t have. It’s invigorating and mysterious. In terms of marketing and customer engagement, these are desirable characteristics. One way businesses instill excitement in website users is by incorporating reveal-based features into landing pages.
Examples of reveal-based marketing include games that require users to perform an action before being able to see a deal, promotions that ask users to solve a problem before securing an answer, or pages that ask users to watch a video before being able to access the content they came to see. You can learn more about reveal based marketing by checking out this information from Scratch-It, one of the leading names in reveal marketing.
Make Your “Good” Website “Great”
So, what do you think? Are you ready to transform your good website into a great website? While this process will require an investment of time, money, and patience, it’s not as challenging as you may think. As you’ve discovered in this article, the inclusion of two or three different features can add direct value to your website and significantly impact how your customers and users view your brand.
Remember, there’s a big difference between a good website and a great website. The former meets the status quo and slides by as merely “acceptable,” whereas the latter adds tangible value to your brand and wows users with valuable in-depth features. It doesn’t take much to move from good to great, so don’t miss out on your chance to elevate your brand in 2016 and beyond.