As ImYourBiz is preparing to move down the valley to the blistering heat of Phoenix, I thought about how people operate differently in the desert.
Informal is the new formal here in Arizona. Anyone who wears a suit is either hard as nails or in trouble! I am going to meetings with new clients in the fanciest shorts I own, yet I am still baking.
My mother in law was telling me that when she moves from an air conditioned office to her car outside, she gets the shivers, and then is overwhelmed with an ‘oven like’ heat. So she gets up at 5am every morning so she can get most of her work done before the mid-day sun.
I personally find myself gulping down about 12 bottles of water per day. That is more than 3 times the recommended limit in England. But of course, in England it is so wet that my body probably absorbs water.
So this got me thinking. If people have to adjust then surely businesses have to adjust as well.
If you didn’t know, Phoenix isn’t like your typical city. It is just one huge urban sprawl, which I guess is due to the heat. You can’t live on top of each other here like they do in New York or London. That also puts it in a unique position where small businesses can easily thrive.
To get close to the hustle and bustle in other big cities you would need to pay a lot of molaah (money) for office space, but Phoenix offers you tons of options. You can be in the midst of all the action almost anywhere. There is no need for a dollar sapping downtown space.
So what are the 9 things to look for in a Phoenix web design company?
Are web design businesses subject to the same changes as all the other businesses? Well, the answer is yes!
#1 – Look for something informal
You have to realize that anyone who works in the internet ‘industry’ does not wear a suit and a tie. Look at Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, or any Google employee. Phoenix is probably just as informal as Silicon Valley, but much hotter, so even your office workers can be seen walking around without a suit.
Your website needs to be an unintimidating space where people feel like there is a definite human touch. A very ‘corporate’ looking website with tons of sophisticated language is the same as sitting in a room full of suits – intimidating or even worse, boring!
Imagine this. You have a problem with your roof. So you call the local roofing company and they turn up with 5 people in suits measuring everything in your home. Then they spit out some crazy lingo, that you don’t understand, and give you a quote.
That never happens, because it doesn’t work.
So why would you want that to happen on your website?
That’s why, especially for a Phoenix web design company, they need to be informal – just like their websites.
#2 – Small business focused
Even if you are a big business, you should think about how people in Phoenix identify you. The chances are that they don’t want to deal with ‘big business’, because that means forms, policies, standard operating procedures etc.
People everywhere like things simple, but I have found that in the whole of Arizona people want a little more than that. They want to have a chat and find out about you. If you are just a faceless company it won’t work. So make sure the web design company you pick is approachable, like a small business should be. Even if it you are a big company.
#3 – Your customers are not the same
People are different in every city, and as I have said before, people in Phoenix are even less typical. To my surprise they don’t complain about the heat that much and they are very upbeat and positive. Very different from Kent, England.
The web design company you pick has to understand the people and more importantly, your customers. I.e. your typical Phoenix based client will be driving around a lot, spend a ton on air conditioning, probably play golf, and be an early riser.
By understanding what people in Phoenix are like, you can design the structure of your website around that. Since they rise early and drive all day, you might want to add a ‘Free evening delivery schedule’ to your website.
Things EVERY web design company should offer
The 3 points I made above are specific to what you should expect from Phoenix web designers, but the next 6 should be provided by any web design company. If they don’t, then find someone else.
#4 – Sliders & images
Sliders are images that slide on and off your screen. Typically, when you land on a website you will see a big image. That image should prompt the user to take an action. Have a look at the ImYourBiz homepage below.
Here is another example of another great slider on Easy Living Homes.
An incredible looking slider on your website will also create instant credibility. The internet is a selfish place and people have a hard time trusting anyone. So first impressions count more than they usually do, and an impressive slider or homepage image can help you achieve that.
#5 – Website structure & ‘call to actions’
About a month ago I wrote an article asking a simple question: Where did all the good Arizona web design companies go?
The number one reason why I asked that question, was because I came across so many web design companies that had a terrible structure. Even in Phoenix.
I can’t stress how essential it is that every single page on your website should have a purpose and lead the visitor to take an action. Each action should lead to another action until they get to the point that they contact you or make a purchase.
If you don’t have the correct structure and call to actions, then your website will not produce the value that it is supposed to produce aka: lots of money left on the table.
So what is the correct structure?
It really depends on your typical customers, but basically it needs to follow a path on your website which will show the visitor enough proof that you are the Don Corleone of your industry.
1) Tell them you are amazing
2) Show them proof that you are amazing
3) Then give them a call to action that they can’t refuse (Pun intended)
4) Pop open a bottle of champagne (optional, but recommended)
#6 – Content & Blogging
I know you don’t want to hear this, but tons of content is vital to your online business presence. Google requires it! And ignoring what Google wants is not a good way to generate value from your website.
The best way to add content to your website is through a blog. Luckily for you, this has tons of advantages that go just beyond Google.
- It positions you as an expert
- It shows the visitor and your customers proof that you know what you are talking about.
- It encourages people to return to your website for the latest articles.
- You are able to build a solid email list
Whatever Phoenix web design company you decide to go with, make sure they have a blog. If they don’t then the alarm bells should start ringing. Do they really know what it takes to get value from a website?
Monster.com have a great article on this: Is Blogging Worth it for Small Businesses?
#7 – Google Maps
It may seem obvious that you need to have a Google map on your site, because what if people want to visit your office? However, it goes much deeper than that.
The map on your ‘Contact Us’ page will convey credibility to people who are deciding whether to send you an email or give you a call.
Great. You need a Google map and that’s it right? Nope! Since it helps you to create credibility, it needs to look presentable. An impressive map goes a long way to creating the sense that you are an established businesses.
#8 – Responsive for mobiles and tablets
Everyone hates landing on a website using their iPad and finding that it is impossible to see. A Smartphone is even worse.
Studies continue to show mobile browsing growing at a much quicker pace than desktop browsing. It is reckoned that by 2015, mobile will become the preferred method to search for services online.
Bottom line – you have to make sure that your website is mobile optimized on all devices. On our portfolio we always show what our client’s website look like on a whole host of devices, because that is how their visitors will be seeing them.
#9 – Hosting & backups
This is often an overlooked subject when you decide what to look for in web design companies, because it is boring and seems negligible.
However, websites get hacked all the time by ‘BotNet attacks’. Hackers hijack millions of computers and use them to destroy your website. If it can happen to Google and the BBC, then it can happen to you.
Wouldn’t it be terrible if you spent all of that time and money on your website for it to disappear? That is why you should always find out what hosting is used and how often it is backed up.
For example, ImYourBiz uses WebHostingBuzz and we backup all of our clients’ websites daily on the Amazon S3 cloud server. So if anything was to happen, you can feel secure that we have a backup ready and waiting.