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The biggest mistake designers make on their own website

When designing your freelance or agency website, the design is what sets you apart, right? Wrong! Design is one element that makes a good website. However, designers often overlook or ignore another critical element.

To attract the right projects and clients – you need to produce content that convinces people you’re a good fit and compels them to action.

Good design is there to set the right tone, capture attention and make exploring a site accessible and exciting. The UI design sets the right frame of mind and emotion for your content. As a result, it primes people to be in the right mindset; before and while consuming your content.

It’s hard getting your brand known, capturing attention and getting people to visit your site. So don’t waste all that effort by creating poor content.

Mistakes web designers make when writing their site content

Remember who is hiring you

The truth is, you’re not that important to a potential client. In short, their priority is their problem, and how it can be solved.

If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it should be to think like, and write for your ideal customer. Put yourself in their shoes. In other words, judge your content from their viewpoint. You’ll find it far easier to write convincing and compelling content.

Write from the reader’s point of view

Talking about yourself too much shows a lack of confidence or disinterest in the other party.

A lot of designers worry too much about how the world perceives them. Therefore, they overcompensate for those insecurities by talking about themselves, their team, their awards. To be clear, there is a place to talk about yourself — it’s your about page.

Rewrite your content from the reader’s point of view. For instance, replace content that contains “we, us, YOUR COMPANY NAME” with “you” and “your”. This will make content more appealing to readers and show that you understand their needs.

Stop creating false expectations

Matching client expectations to what you deliver is essential to a successful project. For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen sites with taglines like: “award-winning web design” and “grow your business online” or “generate more leads”?

I see many poorly designed sites offering “award-winning design”. Claiming design is what you do best and not showcasing it on your site leads to mistrust and apprehension.

Grow your business online, or get more leads/sales. These statements are suitable if you’re a full-service agency, with the marketing to get visitors to a site. If you work in UI and web development, then you do not have much of an influence on getting the traffic to the site (except for making it SEO friendly).

The problem with statements like the above is that they create false expectations. It may convince a client to award you the project. But it can lead to set you up to fail later.

Look at the services you provide and the outcome of what you do. Lead with that and avoid making promises on anything out of your control.

Don’t be a clone – have a unique personality

There are millions of web designers, only a Google away. The choice is vast. Consequently, people are looking for ways to differentiate and filter down to a smaller selection of designers.

Jason Fried, of Basecamp, said “When you write like everyone else, you’re saying, ‘Our products are like everyone else’s.’ Would you go to a dinner party and repeat what the person to the right of you is saying all night long? Would that be interesting to anybody? Why are so many businesses saying the same things at the biggest party on the planet—the marketplace?”

Be different and stand out to stick in peoples minds. Remember, a genuine personality helps people to gravitate towards your brand.

The design work you produce is for clients. As a result, their personality and goals influence the design direction. Portfolio images of client work show a design style and not a brand personality. Your website content is the place to showcase your personality and style.

Why should it matter? Explain the benefits

Content is there to help convince people why you’re suitable for them. So, showcase your achievements and services as a benefit to potential clients. In other words, why should it matter to them?

Features are acceptable, once you explain the benefits. Every time you write about what you do, ask “how is this beneficial to the client?”

From this: Good design that creates an emotional connection.
To this: Good design creates an emotional connection, allowing your message to be understood clearly.

From this: Bespoke designs.
To this: Bespoke designs created to enhance your brand image online and appeal directly to your audience.

Write website content with these guidelines in mind

  • What makes you unique?
  • Why should it matter to the client?
  • Don’t promise anything you cannot deliver
  • Match desired outcome to your services
  • Make your design enhance your content

Good design needs good content. Always remember the people reading your content. Write for their pain points and goals. They’ll view you as understanding, helpful and the obvious choice.

Have an existing website? Start by editing existing content to be more user focused.

Writing new content? Start by asking yourself what does your ideal customer need to know and why should they care.

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