“We need really great website design. Our current site is not working to grow our business. I expect you to increase traffic to our site so our sales go up.”

Clients often start the initial meeting with their search engine marketing (SEM) company with this statement, or at least something similar.

Houston, we have a problem.

The client only knows that their site is not driving business. They want a new website or a redesign, but are clueless to what they want or actually need. They try to express their ideas, but something is lost in translation.

“That’s not what I want/had in mind/will work.”

Little do the clients know they understand more than what is told to their new SEM company. There’s valuable industry and customer awareness the client must clearly communicate to the web designer. The client holds the key to site design that will work for them, the visitor, and ultimately drive their business.

So just what is great website design?

Have you visited a website, but were gone in 10 seconds? You thought why waste your time trying to find what you wanted or the information you needed.

The truth is, there are as many definitions of “great website design” as there are clients. Sites should engage the visitor, enticing exploration. They should pique interest.

Outstanding sites keep you hanging around awhile, sometimes for hours, exploring what the company has to offer. You’ve probably noticed these sites contain the same elements.

That’s not to say that they are clones. Rather, the really good websites use identical design elements with an original twist, a bold attitude of the company they represent.

Great website design starts with visitor centricity

Sites that keep visitors ecstatically clicking away, generating the most leads (and sales), focus on the end user. The client might have a vision of what is logical and appealing to him or her, but the design end result does not have the same effect on the visitor.

The 3 common elements of great website designs are

  1. Visitor centricity
  2. Visualization
  3. Adherence SEO standards

If the audience is in the middle of things (visitor centricity), the site’s design flows freely into the other elements. Getting the site to easily move from the visitor to the way the site looks and feels, and ultimately to the words used on each page requires a deep understanding of the people that will be looking for the site.

Great website design is easily accomplished if you start with the visitor and go from there. You may not need a whole new website, just a few tweaks here and there to get customers and potential customers loving your site and buying your products.