I have to admit this to myself: times have changed. I remember, not that long ago, when office lunches would consist of greasy burger pits (may favorite of which will always be Louie M’s Burger Lust). The grease, thick cheese and single slice of tomato (so we could call it healthy) rested perfectly against fresh, crispy fries. The special fun, on Fridays, was to wash down the burger with a thick milkshake. Before everyone goes running to work off the pounds gained while reading this article, think about it for a moment. Grease IS flavor. It’s what makes the burger/steak/bacon-flavored green beans taste delicious. Obviously, however, grease is not the healthy part of a balanced meal, but flavor is still important. Flavor alone is a multibillion dollar industry. Think of all the flavor substitutes (Splenda, Stevia, Mio, etc…) that exist so that we can have a healthy meal but still enjoy some flavor.
The point of this article is to maintain the point that web design and creativity is still just as important as function and search engine optimization (SEO), however, those are technical words and I do enjoy talking about food. And while I am glad that Adam Richman is getting healthy, I have to admit that I am an old school foodie at heart and LOVED watching him take down some delicious food challenges – ones that I would have signed up for myself without a thought. I still get excited at a giant bone-in rib eye (or Delmonico cut for the foodies) cooked perfectly at medium-rare and just dripping off the bone. Maybe I shouldn’t be typing this at lunchtime…
Balancing Web Design Creativity with Function and Traffic
The trouble for a guy like me is that it’s not quite so popular to be a big foodie like that anymore (not to mention my family wants me to stay around for a while). The trend is moving more and more to health consciousness. While I agree fully with a healthy lifestyle (I am an avid cycler), I do not believe in sustaining my body with kale and tofu; I believe in balanced living. I believe in taste and health. I have no intention in stopping my Saturday morning tradition of making pancakes with fresh maple syrup, nor will I switch over to diet syrup. What I will continue to do is balance my life with a healthy dose of fun and responsibility. That’s my point. Without any fun or flavor, our lives becoming strangely reminiscent of Jack Torrance’s in The Shining. A life without responsibly simply won’t last very long.
Ok, enough about food – now it’s time to get to business (see, off from the fun now and onto the responsibility). As I mentioned above, my hypothesis for this article is that web design and creativity (the fun side of the industry) and still just as important as functionality and search engine optimization. In fact, I would go so far to say as you really can’t have one without the other or success without both. While trends will always be a constant pendulum swing, the basics of marketing never change. Please have to be able to find you, and they have to be attracted to you once they find you. Either way, if one of those is missing, no sale is going to happen. In a recent web design article, design is referred to as SEO’s little brother; pushing the idea that while, yes, design is at least mildly important, big brother SEO is the one truly in charge.
Web Design by the Numbers
I have been certified as a Guerrilla Marketing (GM) Trainer since 2011. My instructor, Mitch Myerson, has been doing this for many, many years and worked directly with Jay Levinson, the original creator of this marketing technique. The training and style of Guerilla Marketing (at the most basic level) focuses on using heavy strategy and planning to work with small budgets, yet accomplish large results. This was originally created to help smaller companies compete with the big ones that could dominate regular media. Therefore, in GM, doing things such as analyzing data, focusing on smaller directed campaigns and letting data make decisions are the strategic way to go. This is much in line with Billy Beane’s Moneyball (for baseball fans) or an article I wrote on analyzing data a few years ago. Take this example from my old instructor himself. His older website was not pretty to look at in any way. It was busy, cluttered and looked as if it was done in the 90s. However, it was incredibly successful due to its search engine prowess. He gained online lead after online lead and it helped him turn this coaching package into a wonderful, fully online business. Times have changed, however, and Mitch realized that no matter how many people he brought to the site, no one would sign up it is weren’t at least readable and clear. So he continued to obey the data and launched the new site last year. While there is not a significant design change, the ability to grasp the website and think clearly is much stronger in the new site.
Web Design | Part of Your Balanced Business
Simply put, if you want to compete with McDonald’s you have your work cut out for you, correct? One of the first things you will learn is that you have to be able to beat their ability to gain easy foot traffic. There are no “hard-to-reach” McDonald’s. That means you need prime location. So let’s say you get the one up on them and land the PERFECT real estate and get 100% more traffic than your competition. Does that mean you’ll sell more? Not necessarily. You just spent all your money on location and ended up having to build the restaurant out of plywood. Even if you got your food license out of pity, you would never sell anything – you don’t look established, credible or trustworthy. It takes more than traffic to have a winning, successful business. That traffic has to be convinced and attracted. And if they can’t bear to look at your site, then you can safely assume your marketing message won’t get across.
A balanced approach is the key to long-term, sustainable growth. Jumping too quickly on new trends will push away those who have begun to trust in your brand. Stay too long on old tactics and you become irrelevant. Combine a good mixture of research, strategy, advice and toughness and you can create a balanced business that will not only sustain you for the long haul, but provide you and your customers a whole lot of tasteful, healthy flavor.