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It’s tempting to thing that both these two statements can be true and that could be so. But in many cases so-called award winning designed websites are ineffective at winning business. Why?

Most of these awards are judged by designers and, as such, these people tend to focus on looks and innovation. When your business has a website the key to its success at getting business is its focus on customers.

What do your customers want to see? In most cases that amounts to understanding whether your business offers what they want – is it a good fit? And they want to get that information as fast as possible.

A nice, professional-looking website is important but it’s not everything, and most of your customers will not be impressed by an esoteric design that may win applause from design professionals but won’t deliver what those customers want to see.

What does a customer want to see, as quickly as possible, when he lands on your site? I believe that there are four important pieces of information.  I call them the three Ws.

  • What does your company do? In other words, does it offer the products or services that the customer is looking for?
  • Where does it do it? Do you operate locally, nationally, or globally? Providing this information will tell the customer whether or not your company is a fit for him.
  • Who does it do it to? What’s your target market? For example, If your company only sells to distributors and the customer is in retail then your company is not a suitable fit.
  • Why should the customer use your company? If the customer has given yeses to the first three questions, he now needs to see some evidence that your company is capable of delivering what it says it can deliver – testimonials or examples for example.

You don’t necessary have to get these points across with reams of text. That would turn people off. But, by the same token, you won’t get them across just with clever graphics and certainly not with navigation that requires customers to hunt for it.

A well designed website will make best use of professional looks and clear navigation that steers customers through the key parts of the site to action pages that entice them to make contact with you.

A website that’s all flash and no cash may win design awards but when it comes to real customers, design awards won’t help your business.

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