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Don’t design a website to look better than your competitors

Don’t design a website to look better than your competitors

By Fred Thompson

Assuming it’s not embarrassing, it’s really neither here nor there whether or not you think your website looks better than your competitors. Who can really say it looks better anyway? Design is subjective, so what you think and what a prospect might think could be two completely different things.


Don’t get me wrong, sure it must look good, but the purpose of a well designed website is to achieve and maximize the effectiveness of your digital strategy (assuming you have one) and to position your firm to your target audience in order to generate new business leads. It’s as simple as that and if you have a different opinion then it’s probably not worth reading on.

Hopefully you’re still reading!

That’s what a website should be designed to do, not to just look better than your competitors. In fact if you are very strongly positioned then you should only have a handful of competitors anyway.

Colours, imagery, messaging and typography should all be chosen based on supporting and communicating your position, not what you or your designer thinks is the “in colour”, latest design trend or what your favourite colour or font might be.

Good design decisions are made strategically, not from personal choice. 

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I like white space too but you are not designing a corporate brochure or laying out an advert. It’s a different ball game. If I could have a dollar for every time I’ve heard… “that design is too busy’ or “that design isn’t clean enough”, I could have retired long ago.

It’s got nothing to do with either of these comments. Our thoughts on “too busy” can be found here.

If you are a professional service firm then your site must communicate a strong position immediately. If your site is so clean that a prospect can’t immediately make sense of exactly what you do, then its been designed badly no matter how nice you think it looks.

If it’s been designed well a prospect should be able to understand, what you do, who you do it for, your depth of expertise and want to dig deeper into your valuable content with ease.

The creativity comes when a designer can achieve this and whether or not that ends up looking “better” than a competitor’s is irrelevant.

Remember, if your website has been designed with an over emphasis on visual creativity then it’s not much different than a glorified yellow pages ad that’s subject to the whim of subjective decision making and Google searches that won’t consistently deliver new business leads.

In a nutshell a well designed website is a website that does what it was designed to do.

Here are 5 tips for a well designed website.

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