Web design is the branch of graphic design that deals with the planning, elaboration, modification and maintenance of the Internet sites. The study of this fundamental element of business design leads us to two important groups: features and functions. Integrated by three points, both these groups will reveal us the most important thing to bear in mind when creating the design of our Internet site aimed at the company's advertising and sales.
Virtual office: The corporate building used to be the point of reference that the public had to relate to the company, but nowadays things have changed. Before industrialization and globalization, companies worked in a reduced zone to which they gave economic life. Therefore, they became the neural center of the region's economic life. The whole community identified the company by the building where it worked. However, nowadays communities have been dissolved and companies have infinitely expanded. This has created a disconnection between the public and the company due to two related reasons. On the one hand, companies have expanded and it is impossible to clearly understand where every company begins and ends. On the other hand, due to the previous thing, there is a lack of physical and stable entity to which to relate; i.e., the building with which people related to has disappeared as a point of reference. Thus, the website comes in to fill that gap. The website of a company is the place to which people go to know it, to buy, to ask for something or to relate to it in many other ways.
Presence in the market: Nowadays everybody uses the Internet. In more strict terms, we could say that all target groups have a high percentage of people who daily surf the Web. Thus, being well positioned on the Internet should be reflected in the physical and material market, which provides profits and clients. What does it mean to be well-positioned on the Web? There are two basic points: design and position in search engines. The design of the site must make your company look stable, powerful, efficient, but, at the same time, it has to be functional and not merely something esthetic. With that we want to state that design has to be thought so as to make a visual impact while offering easy navigability and answering users' questions. The position in search engines is very important. Ninety per cent of new visitors to a site come from search engines. Therefore, it is essential that your site appears among the first ones as a response to a concrete search, related to your activity. In order to achieve a great position, you need a SEO search engine optimizer which will carry out a long and productive task.
Interactivity: This is the feature that distinguishes a website from the other corporate designs. Every design sends a message from the company to the public. Nonetheless, the website does not only do that, but also allows, by itself, for the public to communicate directly with the company. The company will be able to receive the inquiries, questions, comments, doubts, etc. that the public may ask from the contact section on the website. Thus, the company will be able to answer individually to concrete problems creating a close relationship with the client. This benefits the company in two ways. The first one consists of the fact that by having information about the likes and wishes of the consumers, the possible marketing campaign that you conduct will have a great quantity and quality of truly interesting data. The second one is that the close relationship with the public will be beneficial for you when consumers have to choose among your products and those of the competitors.
There is also a second interactivity. We can call the former one «user-company» interactivity and, the following one, «user-site» interactivity, since there is no other human intervention than that of the user. The website design offers all the information about the company, its promotions, etc. However, a leaflet, for example, only provides specific information which, besides, has to be given to the client. On the website, it is there so that the user sees it when he wants to. He has all the information at his disposal so that he manages and prioritizes it in order to surf the site as he likes. Thus, the consumer feels at ease since the advertising is not imposed on him, but it is presented as a response to the questions he has asked.
Having seen the main features of a website, we will continue with the following group. In this features trio, we will see the importance of having an Internet site and what benefits it brings in the advertising-commercial aspect. You will see that the names of the functions have been taken from Marketing. This is due to the fact that an analysis is made from such a perspective that it is inevitable to avoid the certainty that an Internet site is an excellent marketing tool.
Advertising: Internet advertising and traditional advertising are clearly different. Traditional advertising that we see on graphic, radio or TV media focuses mainly on the advertisement other than the advertised product i.e., other than the product being sold. Whereas Internet advertising does the opposite. In traditional advertising, we have two types of ads: those which exaggerate the product's features and those which move through argument. The former ones are very common among cleaning products. In these ads, the real information of the product, its active components, etc. is secondary and they directly focus on the cleaning itself. It is usual to see somebody cleaning their house with this product showing how it incredibly cleans everything. The way the product's feature is presented is extraordinary and very overrated. The customer receiving this ad does not «believe» what he is seeing, but he is interested in the product and is impressed by the ad. The goal of these ads is not to deceive the public but to introduce them the product in an extraordinary way. The latter, the ads which move through argument, leave the product aside even more. These ads tell a moving story of the most important values of the target group. Through this story, the recipient is moved and confers a positive character to the product which is presented at the end of the ad. These ads sometimes do not show or mention the product until the end separately from the story; they want to stir up positive emotions though the argument and then transfer them to the product. Therefore, you can see how the ad comes before the product which you are trying to sell.
However, it happens just the opposite on the Internet: ads are only little and not so attractive links with a minimal description of the site they advertise and with the function to lead us there. Thus, the importance lies on what is advertised the website other than on the ad link. Therefore, you need to achieve a web design that is attractive, captivating and eloquent the element, and not the ad, will be the one in charge of convincing the consumer to acquire the products or services that the company offers through its website.
Promotion: Promotion consists of adding something extra to the product to make it more attractive for the consumer. A website is a great promotion tool; you only need some creativity. Let's see some examples of how to use your company's site to launch a promotion.
You can add labels to the promoted products. On this label you can print the theme of the promotion, your website address and the product code. When entering the site, the buyer can enter the code that is on the label and, therefore, have access to a section on your site from which tickets to the theatre, movies or restaurants can be printed. With this promotion, not only do you sell the products you want but also you manage that the people who bought your products only because they were offered as a promotion get to know your company through the Internet page.
You can offer promoted products which only are published on your Web page. Thus, you can reach several people through the Web due to the opposite effect. That is to say, the site scope is huge but, for some reason, people always believe that they are the only ones surfing that page, that the site is unknown. This generates an interesting effect advertising reaches many people who, in turn, believe they are one of the few who have reached such information and decide to acquire the products offered to make use of their «good luck» and their ability to find quality products at good prices.
You can offer on your site discount coupons ready to be printed. These coupons will be valid in those shops where the promotion is on and only for the products you wish to promote. Therefore, you achieve an original and interesting way to promote. But that is not all. If you want to take further advantage, you can put as a requirement for people to enter their name, e-mail address and the agreement to receive newsletters of the company to have access to those coupons. Thus, you manage to promote and establish a fluent contact with clients, making them much more stable clients of the company.