Back in the heyday of web marketing, having a website set you apart from the competition. It positioned you as an innovator and with the times. It meant getting more business than everyone else because people could find you on the internet when no one else was online. The simple fact of having a website was a distinct marketing advantage for your business.
These days, however, everyone has a website. Businesses big and small. Even businesses that could hardly be called businesses have a website. Having a website is no longer a novelty, it seems like it's a requirement. Hiring a professional web developer can be costly. Using a platform like Wix or Squarespace can put you online for a comparatively small sum of money, but as many business owners can relate, having a website doesn't seem to do anything for your business.
A storefront doesn't feel like their website is getting people walking through their door, the realtor seldom gets leads filling out the contact form, the local artist never gets purchases on their E-commerce store. The reality is, having a website is no longer a competitive advantage. Worse yet, it seems to just add to the noise.
This directly translates to a common misconception about hiring a website designer/developer. Hiring a professional to build your website isn't about getting you online. If you want to get online, make a Wix website. You don't need to waste your money on a web professional. Hiring a web professional has and always will be about positioning your business at an advantage through the use of a website. The only thing that has changed is the tactics with which a web professional employs to help you gain that advantage.
At Objektiv Digital, we are relatively new to the web professional scene, and we wear that badge with pride. If you are hiring a web professional touting their 10 to 20 years of being in business, you are sure to be spending your money on someone who still thinks that simply being online is enough to gain you a competitive advantage. It's not.
Building a website to gain an advantage over others is the cohesive unification of software development, graphic design, user experience design, copywriting, search engine optimization, social media management, and a comprehensive understanding of digital advertising. A website has and always will be the core of your digital marketing efforts. As the internet has grown in age and complexity, so has the way you utilize your website as the core of your digital marketing efforts.
Much like the entrepreneur of the '90s bold enough to make an investment in new technical landscapes, so must the entrepreneur of the '20s make the investment in understanding and utilizing the forefront of the digital marketing of today. Much like the difficulty of finding someone who knows how to make a website, it is even more difficult to find a web professional who understands the full picture of digital marketing.
Below is a list of things to look for when viewing a web professional's portfolio. This is a shallow, basic list that doesn't come close to covering the necessities of a digital marketing stack. However, you'll be shocked to learn that most web professionals do not even meet the bare minimum of a website's requirements:
- A clear call-to-action button in a colour that stands out from the rest of the page?
- Is that call-to-action button visible on your screen BEFORE you start scrolling?
- Does the header and/or subheading clearly describe what the business is and what they do?
- When scanning the page, was there at least 3 to 5 paragraphs of text?
- Did those paragraphs of text have only 2 to 3 sentences?
- Did the headers suck you into reading the paragraphs?
- Did the images complement the text?
- Did the website speak to the company's image?
- Did the website talk about their customers, what their problem is, and position themselves as the guide to the solution?