Experience is the greatest teacher. That’s true in just about any human endeavor, even the world of web design where things are constantly changing, shifting, and evolving.

To us, this isn’t just a nice sentiment or a generalization. After years of client work, we are better now than we’ve ever been. The big wins and hard knocks we’ve picked up on the path to becoming recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing firms by Fortune magazine have taught us some lessons we couldn’t have picked up otherwise.

Those little bits of wisdom are priceless to the Maxburst team, of course, but they have a lot of value to you as a business owner or marketer, too. So today we want to share 10 of the most important lessons we’ve picked up in more than a decade as a leading New York Web design and online marketing firm…

#1 Everything Starts With Industry Knowledge

One thing new clients tend to notice about us is that we ask a lot of questions. That’s not by accident. We figured out a long time ago that everything in the world of web design and online marketing – from the layout you put on your home page to the keywords you choose to target on Google – needs to flow from an understanding of what your business is and who your customers are. If you don’t have the right information or fail to share with your creative team, you’re never going to reach your full sales and marketing potential.

#2 Great Web Design Has Two Parts

A lot of clients think great web design is one that looks good on a screen. However, making the most of aesthetics is only half the challenge. To come up with truly great web design you need the right look and a highly-usable layout that feels intuitive for visitors. Otherwise, you just have a piece of art that isn’t going to help you sell your products or services.

#3 You Can’t Lead by Copying Your Competitors

It isn’t unusual for a client to come to us wanting to essentially duplicate something a competitor has done. We always try to dissuade them from that instinct. While it’s not a bad idea to use a competitor’s website or marketing campaign as an inspiration or starting point, you can’t really stand out in a crowded digital world by doing the same thing as everyone else. If you want to be a leader, you have to set the tone rather than following it.

#4 You Really Can go Too Far Outside the Box

This might seem like it contradicts the last point, but the idea is to keep everything in balance. While you certainly want your website to stand out, you don’t want to come across as strange. Every once in a while we see a layout or navigation structure that so unusual it turns buyers off. If people have a hard time using or understanding your website, you can’t be surprised when it fails to help you reach your sales and marketing goals.

#5 Content Can Make or Break Your Web Layout

Humans are very visual creatures. We tend to notice colors, shapes, and faces before anything else – both on the web and in real life. That leaves a lot of clients to focus tightly on the design aspects of a web presence. That’s understandable, but shortsighted. The content on your website (in terms of text and high-quality images) can make or break everything. It will help you to set the emotional tone, attract search engine visits, and ultimately convince visitors to become customers.

#6 Good Programming Makes a Big Difference

If the power of content is routinely overlooked, then the importance of things like programming and web hosting can often be ignored altogether. In addition to great messaging, a website needs clean programming that allows it to load quickly, display flawlessly on small screens, and run the apps you need to meet your sales and marketing goals. If it comes up short on any of these counts, then it really doesn’t matter how great your layout is.

#7 Great Websites Still Need Marketing

There was a time, many years ago, when you could simply build a great website and watch customers flock to it. Or, you could gain quite a bit of traffic by doing a very small amount of search engine optimization. Unfortunately, that era is gone. No matter how strong your website is, you’re going to have to promote it – through Google, paid ads, email, and social media platforms – if you want to make your website profitable. Don’t assume you can just sit back and wait for online buyers to show up on their own.

#8 Websites Require Care and Maintenance

It’s easy to forget, after you’ve invested a significant amount of time and money into a new web presence, that your work isn’t done. Not only should you be thinking ahead to marketing and content additions, but also to future updates and revisions based on web analytics. A well-maintained website can last many years. Ignore yours, however, and you could find yourself getting quotes to replace it a lot sooner than you might imagine.

#9 Your Website Should Have Many Jobs

You probably want your website to generate new revenue and it should definitely help you do that by processing orders or attracting inbound leads. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your website is just a tool for sales and marketing, though. You can also use it for customer service, scheduling, training, employee management, public relations, data automation, and so much more. The possibilities are virtually endless.

#10 Web Design Trends Change, But Principles Don’t

We have seen a lot of trends and best practices come and go over the last decade. That can give business owners the sense that web design is always changing. There is certainly an element of adaptation to our industry, but the core principles that drive our business (and yours) are constant. If you build a website that matches your company’s strengths and your customers’ need, you’re probably going to find success. The rest comes down to details and tactics.

Could You Use an Experienced Web Design and Online Marketing Partner?

As we mentioned, experience is the best teacher. And sadly for our younger selves and newer competitors, there just isn’t any substitute for learning by doing.

So, if you want a proven and experienced web design and lead generation team on your side, why not turn to the experts in the field? Contact Maxburst and visit them in their Long Island or New York City offices for a consultation and a detailed website review. You might be amazed at what you can learn about your business – and the future of your bottom line – during an hour-long visit!