This is where really cool web design and web design for enquiries clash - they are different animals - and one will suffer to accommodate the other.
in Blogosphere by Paul
Web designers face a very unfortunate truth.. Websites that are awesome at generating enquiries can't also look awesome.
There has to be a quick contact form above the fold (the initial bottom of the screen) for a start, and forms take up space, and they're ugly, regardless of how much styling goes in to them. And that's just the start of it, so here are the rules for creating a website that is designed to convert enquiries..
An obvious one yes, but your phone number (which should NOT be a premium number by the way) should be always up there at the top right, and probably your email address too. A clickable email address sounds good on paper but I've only ever known it to generate robot spam so for me it's a customer choice rather than essential. And I know this is slightly outside the scope of this piece and it also sounds obvious but have somebody who is friendly and knows what they're doing answer the phone, sharpish, because it helps a LOT with the next bit..
Confidence building and enquiry generation are married for life. People love to see 5 stars and genuine testimonials, so the more five star reviews you can put above the fold the better. Links to Google/Facebook/Yell/Trustpilot ratings with some star graphics absolutely work wonders. They're going to kill your design but these are the hard workers when it comes to generating enquiries. They need to be prominent and very close to your quick enquiry form, speaking of which..
Another design killer but absolutely essential. Even if it's just name and phone number, these things actually work, so if it's enquiries you're looking for you need a prominent quick contact/call back form above the fold. And don't put the standard "submit" on the button, use something like "call me back" etc. When I first did this I was sceptical, not just because it was screwing up my beautiful design, but also because it was an open invitation for spam bots to have a birthday party on my customers website. My worries were unfounded, and right now I even have a form with 5 fields sending several genuine enquires every day to a sole trader tradesman.
It's all good and well putting these things in place, but if your website isn't all over the first page of the search results nobody is even going to see it let alone make an enquiry. SEO isn't the expensive black art some people think it is (or make it out to be!), there are some simple but vital rules to follow and some great extended services for building on those rules to increase domain authority and traffic. Check out our SEO services page for more information.
With all these things in place your web design is not going to look anywhere near as good as it could. Properly branded and themed it will look good of course, but if you were going for something that looks truly awesome with unique impact forget it, a website built for enquiries is not compatible with awesomeness!
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