If you want to increase your bookings, reservations, and ultimately your profits, you have to hire and work with the best designer for your website. Hiring an amateur will only prove to be more expensive than hiring a professional and an experienced one. But finding the best out there might be tedious and challenging. Sometimes, it might even cost you your brand.
So how can I really find and screen the best designers out there?
You don’t need to be a techie during the interview process, nor spend too much time working on the finer details of the designer’s capabilities and experiences. What you actually need is to understand the basics of web design and how these basics relate to your own business brand.
I list a few important and interesting considerations below that you need to understand, integrate, and conceptualise in order to come up with the most attractive website to represent your brand online. You can simply screen your website designer according to these criteria:
- What’s exactly your objective in bringing your brand to the online world?
- How do you exactly want your website to look?
When it comes to design, some business owners tend to go beyond what is needed and necessary, eventually ignoring the fundamental requirement of building the most suitable website for their brand. A good website designer however, will prioritise your objectives and builds your website according to a hierarchy of what needs to be implemented and what aren’t. Your website designer understands that your website must portray the personality of your service industry (hotel, restaurant, etc.) without looking like an exaggerated and elaborate art project. You must consider your website as a ticket booth instead of carnival rides; otherwise you’ll be compromising the functionality and user interface. Thinking in such a way will allow you to formulate your main objectives without compromising each aspect of your website.
Always remember that your main online objective is to treat your website as a conversion platform that can increase your reservations, bookings, and ultimately gain more profits.
Quality Design Means More Profits
Design is not always about art. In today’s growing multitudes of websites that represent various businesses and industries, quality design means more profits. According to one of the biggest search engines, Google, 96% of travelers started their planning via online search. This only means that you can tap these 96% and build your client database from this figure. The only way to convert these travelers to become your clients is to build quality designs for your website and the first step is to impress them. The good news is that you can certainly control your website for them to have the good first impression that last about your website.
Quality design covers several factors and these factors are discussed below.
Homepage – First Impressions That Last
Your website designer understands that the first page that your soon-to-be guests or clients see on your website is your homepage. For this very reason, you must create the first impression that lasts on your homepage. With a single blink of an eye, your client will either leave or stay on your website. Your clients will judge your brand - your business - based on how your homepage design caters to their needs. Your website’s homepage must consider the following:
- Photography – Flash or static images must be prominently positioned on your homepage. Your best shots of the best facilities and venues of your premises must be presented in a dramatic theme that touches your guests’ emotions – in a way that captivates your guests and seduces them to make a reservation or booking. You can also include photos and images of happy and satisfied clients.
- Compelling Contents – Incorporate compelling text contents on the homepage. Hire a professional copywriter or do it yourself if you want the best combination of marketing and writing skills. Include testimonials of your past clients along with their best photos. Describe the advantages of your venue among the competition. Include all the special and exclusive experiences that they can get during their stay, which can include the unique services you offer, nearby attractions, and transportation convenience among other things.
- Easy and Accessible Sitemap – The major pages (Contact Us Page, Blog, Reservation/Booking Page, etc.) of your website must be clearly and easily accessible on the homepage. One of the most important pages that you must provide on a button on your homepage is the booking or reservation page. Your guests should not be spending too much time on how to book and make a reservation on your hotel. This function must be incorporated conspicuously on the homepage.
- Contact Us Link - There will be guests who have other concerns and issues that they want to clarify first before deciding to make a reservation. Make sure that your Contact Us page is also prominent on the homepage to cater to this particular aspect.
Dramatic Theme – Setting the Mood
So you have integrated several of your best photography on your homepage. The rest of the pages of your website must also include pretty images of the rooms, your hotel’s grounds or gardens, services – you must show-off the best images of your place to portray the personality of your brand. Along with these pretty images, you can also include a soothing music to perfect the dramatic theme of your website. This nice combination of images and sound sets the mood of your guests and will certainly lead them to make a reservation/booking.
Do not limit the attractions of your website by using images alone.
Language Support – Expanding Your Reach Internationally
Since you are in the hospitality industry/business, chances are that you will be catering to international guests. Your website must integrate a language support to as many languages as possible. This will also expand the reach of your client database to include other nationalities other than those speaking the majority of the English language.
Always remember that the information you provided on your website using the English language must exactly be the same information translated to other major languages to increase the possibility of a guest making a reservation.
Responsive Design – Improving Your Website’s User Experience
When you really want a quality design, your website designer will cover a lot of aspects for your website. One very important aspect is the fact that your guests will be using various browsers (IE, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, etc.) and devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.). If your website is designed to a specific and fix resolution, then there will certainly be problems sooner or later. In order to avoid any issues on your website, your designer can implement a responsive design that is capable of accommodating any type of browser and almost any kind of devices. A responsive design helps your guest to have a consistent good experience on your website.
SEO Friendly – Adhere to Search Engines’ Rules
A quality design for your website also includes and implements proper on-page SEO (search engine optimization). Even if your website designer implemented all the above factors but failed to integrate a proper on-page SEO, your site will be useless. The purpose of SEO is for your website to have an online presence – for your target audience to notice you when they search online. In most cases however, SEO is done by another person and a good website designer cooperates to the SEO person to bring about a quality design that matches the SEO requirements for the entire website.
On the other hand, a bad web designer can implement “black hat SEO” tactics that can help your website to rank faster on search engines. The only downside is that your website might be penalized by search engines. Because of these unaccepted black hat SEO tactics, you might loss all your investment and your brand might not even be shown on the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).
There are certainly many factors to include in your website such as:
- Detailed Description of All Services
- Reservations and Booking Facility/System
- Locations And The Use of Local Listings
- Website Technology (HTML5 or CMS platform)
- Testing and Redesign
However, the factors that are briefly discussed above are essentially what you need to know to start looking for the best web designer out there. If you are still hesitant and want to know more details in order to perfect the presentation of your brand to the online world, you can always consult Robert Corse-Scott from RCS WEBSITES.
Always remember that hiring a professional is always affordable than hiring an inexperienced, or a cheaper, or an amateur web designer. Don’t settle for the less, choose the best by hiring the best web designer who understands your needs and requirements.
At RCS Websites, your website is our business. We don’t consider your website finished and successful until you are satisfied with the profits that you are earning from your website.