Interview with: Jonathan Reed on why your website needs some Sunny Thinking
Interview with …
This month we’ve caught up with Jonathan Reed, MD of award winning creative marketing agency, Sunny Thinking. The team who designed the Label Apeel website, which launched earlier this year.
Jonathan explains what businesses in the print and packaging industry should consider when redesigning their website.
What was the brief that Label Apeel came to you with?
Stuart and Amy were clear with their vision for the website – it had to be different; it had to scream Label Apeel personality and be easy to update themselves. They wanted to make the website an inviting and informative place where people linger, become inspired and learn. They did not want a brochure style website, instead they wanted it to become a reference point for customers, suppliers and competitors.
Why does the Label Apeel website work?
The design is visually strong and it reinforces the unique tone of voice of Label Apeel. The navigation is simple to use. It’s fully responsive, so works equally well on tablets, mobiles and desktops – crucial when you consider how people now access websites in multiple ways and the importance Google now places on this for search rankings too. Importantly, it has a brilliant content management system (CMS) that allows the team at Label Apeel to update specific areas too. Ultimately, we have created a dynamic and exciting site that is rich with interesting content and that will continue to evolve.
Label Apeel gave a great deal of consideration to the content, so the site map was a crucial thing to nail before we started on the build. The content of the site is about more than just the self-promotion of Label Apeel. It’s aimed to be a source of information on industry issues and offer access into the minds of professionals who can help Label Apeel’s audience.
What top tips can you give to service businesses in the packing and print industry, when planning a new website?
Branding. Make sure your site fits in with your overall brand and marketing strategy. Label Apeel is a great example of a business built with a strong brand image and their website and email marketing activity needs to integrate with that.
Strong images. A mantra to abide by when it comes to your website is “images are everything!” There’s nothing worse than a client spending thousands on a site, only for you to hand it over and then see three months later they’ve whacked some awful, shoddy image of a product, service or a selfie on the site; out of focus and just badly taken. Sunny Thinking and Label Apeel did a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to make sure the product images for case studies and Label of the Month, etc., were the strongest they could be and the style of imagery was consistent with the rest of the site.
Be in control of your site – Let’s get this clear here, I’m not suggesting that everyone suddenly becomes a DIY web designer and developer! Leave the branding, design and build to the experts. What I’m saying is when you’re planning the content – think about the areas you’d like to be able to update yourselves if that’s important to you and something you have the ability/resource to do. Make sure you know what parts you’ll have access to and that you’re happy and confident about using the content management system the site is built with. Different systems suit different sites so don’t just be sold in to something like WordPress just because you’ve heard of it. Likewise, don’t be sold down the river by an agency who recommends their own ‘bespoke’ system. Choose a CMS that is open source/non-proprietary so that if you were to ever, god forbid, fall out with your existing partner, another agency could take over the reigns. We heard a horrific story recently of a client who spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new site only for their agency to go out of business and with it, their whole site. Ouch! Also, have an agency that is transparent and works with you to understand issues such as hosting so that you ultimately ‘hold the keys’ to your site. It’s your site. Take ownership and work with an agency that knows their role is to support you and guide you, not to take over completely!
If you don’t understand something about the site, ask! Whether it’s about the build, functionality, or you’re just flabbergasted by SEO. Then ask the agency or designer you’re working with. Don’t be intimidated by jargon or acronyms or the trendy designers with their geeky glasses. At Sunny Thinking we have an open policy, if you don’t understand, then we encourage clients to ask, even if it is a really simple question.
Don’t just ask for something like your competitors: If you’re looking for inspiration, then by all means take a look to your competitors to see what they’re doing. Take the elements you like and dislike about sites and then build on them with your own businesses personality and offering. Copying a design style, information architecture, web copy, or service claims, is not copying a guaranteed formula for success. A lot of the websites for service businesses are still literally just glorified CVs. They list the business offering and then shout loudly about the pieces of kit they use to deliver the service. Very few showcase how they can solve a potential clients problem. People have commented on how welcoming the site is and how it reflects the professionalism and personality of Label Apeel. The website marries with the businesses in the real world, which is key.
Use your analytics and learn about SEO: The analytics for your website are your friend so, use them. Too many businesses don’t really know what they’re doing with them. Analytics are eyes on your website to allow you to see where visitors are going, where they’re not going. What’s of interest and what’s not! When it comes to the world of SEO, up skill yourself! There’s endless blogs and videos that you can watch to help you get the basics, don’t just leave it all to your web designer or design agency.