ablockEffective inbound marketing starts with a┬ástrong website design. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. But there’s a common mistake that most designers (and business owners) make when it comes to website design that should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t approach website design like it’s print design.

Seems reasonable in theory, but in practice I run across this problem more than I should. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. I think it happens because people are creatures of habit and get accostomed to doing things a certain way. Since print has been around longer, those are the established design habits that people fall back on. The creative ‘muscle memory’ if you will.

There are lots of examples of this, but the two that have a significant impact on inbound marketing are:

The website as an electronic brochure

The internet, and by extension the web, were designed to be interactive. Putting up a glorified brochure is not going to engage your audience and it’s not going to entice someone to contact you. I have yet to speak to an owner with a ‘brochure site’ that says it’s generating leads for the company.

Let’s get it perfect, then launch

Once something has been printed, the information is locked in. There’s no going back unless you want to eat the cost and print more copies. This makes designers extremely cautious about pulling the trigger and getting the project out the door.

The web isn’t like that, it’s more fluid. You can instantly adjust almost anything about a website. Need to change your pricing? Done. Want to change the headline copy? Double done. It’s this ability to change quickly that makes it so powerful from a marketing standpoint.

A/B testing your page elements is an incredible way to increase your site’s efficiency and to make it resonate with your users. But to take advatage of this, you have to break the habit of “it’s not 100% perfect”. In my experience, you only need to get to about 80% before taking the page live.