Anyone can design a website. Of course, that’s like saying that anyone can play the piano. Virtually anybody can sit down and bang on keys, but that doesn’t mean that they can actually make music. It takes study and practice and a good understanding of the process to get to play really well.
The same is true of designing a website. It is one thing to put information out on the web. It is quite a different matter to design a functional website that can meet specific goals and objectives. In order to design a website that works, designers also need to have a firm grasp of online marketing. In fact, the reverse is also true. To be an effective online marketer, you need to have a good knowledge of site design, including the opportunities and limitations of medium.
Function Dictates Form
One of the key pieces of information that is necessary before design can even begin is the purpose of the site. A site that is designed to entertain will need a different layout than one that is supposed to inform. If the goal is to build brand awareness, there will be a different layout and set of features than if the purpose is to close a sale. Allowing visitors to make online purchases is a whole different ball game. Obviously, knowing the primary purpose comes before any design elements.
In reality, many business websites will be a combination of the above. They might need to build brand awareness and provide information about products and services. They might need pages that make sales pitches or that as for more information for future contact. You may want a place for existing customers to come back to make additional purchases. Each of these activities employs a different aspect of online marketing.
Understanding those aspects is vital for the success of the design. For example, if the designer focuses too much on entertainment on a sales pitch page, the call to action message might be lost. Or, if a firm call to action precedes customer trust, you can undermine the effectiveness of your pages that are designed to build confidence in your business. Understanding the sales channel and the way differing marketing techniques are used at each point along the way is essential to ensure that the design doesn’t overwhelm the purpose of the site.
On the other side, an online marketer needs to understand web design in order to successfully communicate the appropriate message. For example, what tools or techniques are best for building brand awareness? Would video or customer testimonials work best? Once these marketing decisions have been made, successfully integrating them into the site design is the next logical step. But, without a good understanding of what is possible, as well as what doesn’t work well from a design standpoint, marketing desires might not fully function with the design.
It becomes readily apparent that the two functions complement each other. Neither marketing nor design exists in a vacuum. They need to support and enhance one another. When the two disciplines work harmoniously, the sum is greater than its parts. For this reason, each should be well aware of the other discipline, in order that they can feed off of each other.
Why is it Important?
The Internet grows each day, and it gets harder to stand out from the crowd. In order to really shine, you need a top notch website that is designed to fully accomplish its marketing objectives. As more and more competitors scream for the audience’s attention, you need to have the quality to rise above the noise. By combining the disciplines of online marketing and web design into a cohesive unit, you are well on the way to success.Why Every Web Designer Should Be a Marketer First - And Vice Versa!,