Quite a few of us have resolved to hit the ground running, business-wise, this New Year. One of the best ways you can start the year off right is to get a fresh new look for your equestrian website, or new promotional material overall!
Are you working to improve your brand image, or appeal to a broader equestrian market? Are you launching a new product or service, and need to get the word out in a big way? Maybe you’ve decided to finally start the revolutionary new business you’ve been dreaming of, and want to do it right?
Equestrian ID is ready to help you achieve these goals, and many more! We’re easy to hire, and even easier to work with. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to discuss your needs, goals and budget, and see what we can do for you and your business.
But… I already have a website.
Of course you do. It’s 2018. Everyone has a website – and that’s sort of the problem. In 1992, all it took to be on the cutting edge of information technology was to ‘have a website’. It didn’t have to be amazing – just look at what Amazon looked like in 1995, and they’ve done ok.
But that was 20 years ago. Today, you need a lot more to generate any digital sales, and that’s where the action is. Around 2/3 of purchasing decisions start with the results of a web search today, even if some of the money actually changes hands in a brick-and-mortar store at the end. This means that if your website isn’t stunning, you’re leaving six out of ten sales on the table. No one can afford to do that, especially these days. You need to have a visually compelling, user-friendly and SEO-oriented website, populated with rich and engaging content.
Ok… but how exactly do I do that?
Even if I could answer that simply and accurately for every business, I’d be a fool to do it for free. The fact is, each business is different. Each does something unique for their own set of customers, and each needs something different from their website to really thrive. Here are a few examples of big factors in online engagement, and ways the Equestrian ID has been able to make them work for our clients.
1. Responsiveness, all the way
Not only are we online more than ever, we use more separate devices to get there than ever. Many of your clients have a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, and might use any of them to search for what they need depending or where they are, or which device is closer to hand. That means that your web presence has to be just as strong and easy to access for someone on a Galaxy running Android as it is for someone else scrolling through results on their iPad.
You have to appear on the first page of Google, to be sure, but what if they’re searching on Facebook? How is your social media presence these days, anyway? A good equestrian website is the centre that links your social, online and physical presences, and gets your core message out across all important channels.
One of Equestrian ID’s successes in this regard was in developing a fully responsive website for Wittering Academy.
We completely redesigned their website, starting with the careful selection of colours, design elements and imagery that visitors could connect to. The main goal of the website was not sales, but to inform members or visitors of new events and to really get across the light hearted and fun element of Wittering Academy… not to mention getting them a whole new audience and some new members along the way!
Take a look at the result below.
2. New, vibrant and engaging web design
The online face of your business is more and more becoming the first way potential clients or members will see you. This means that it is no longer an afterthought, but the core of your branding! Is your current website up to the job of providing the first, and perhaps only, impression your business, club or association will make on potential customers or members?
Take The Fitzwilliam Hunt as an example. Before contacting us, their website was struggling to make sense to their members.
When Equestrian ID was called in, we quickly identified the problem areas of their website, and sat down with them to determine how we could give them a site that would give them the complete user experience they needed, and make sure that visitors found both the potential information they were looking for and also told the story of the hunt and it’s benefits to our countryside.
Take a look below at an engaging and responsive site that now conveys their website powerfully to visitors on desktops, tablets and smartphones equally well.
If you worry that your website design may not be as effective as it once was, or says all the wrong things about your brand and your equestrian company, Equestrian ID can help you too! Give us a call, and let us inject new life and enthusiasm into it! Don’t know where to start? No problem. We’re full of fresh new ideas, and we love a challenge.
3. Clear purpose leads to clear results
Before committing to a redesign, you and your web designer absolutely must have a clear idea about what you need the website to actually do!
A great deal of visitors to your site will only look for a few seconds before moving on. If you haven’t managed to clearly spell out what you’re about in that time, they’ll move on without ever getting any part of your message. That certainly won’t do you any good!
Direction and objective are both vitally important, and you need to be able to explain both to your designer in order to get what you want from the design process.
Good web design begins and ends with close collaboration between designer and client. The full process includes, at a minimum:
- Discovering and defining your goals
- Develop a plan to measure the success of the new design
- Testing that plan
- Assessing the new site’s actual performance
- Analysing the results
- Conducting a review, and making any necessary amendments
For an example of what this process can achieve, look at Northern Equestrian Services.
We initially designed Northern Equestrian Services website as a portfolio to showcase Verena’s capabilities as a rider and a coach.
We have really enjoyed working with Verena to to create a new look for her ever expanding equestrian business and to develop a new responsive website that incorporated a all she needed it to. Take a look:
4. Your equestrian business has grown and evolved, and your website needs to grow with it.
Your website should be an integral part of your equestrian business. If it does not change as you do it will stop driving you forward, and start holding you back. This was at the forefront of our thinking when Hope Pastures came first in our “Win a Website” competition and we began working with them.
Hope Pastures rescue, rehabilitate and re-home horses, ponies and donkeys in need and give people the chance to meet these animals and learn about them and how to look after them. Donations to Hope Pastures ensure that they prevent suffering and to improve and save lives. Our aim was to make the site as easy to follow and use as possible. The all important Donate Now is visible and simple, with one click a donation can be made online. Images although some heartbreaking were also warm and showed the true essence of the brilliant work carried out by Hope Pastures. Ways of helping the charity were also important and clearly visible. All in all, Hope Pastures have received may compliments about their new website and we are happy to have been able to assist them in someway.
5. One last note – Performance and Speed
Not only does your equestrian website need to have a good look and a highly functional design, you also have to ensure that it doesn’t take forever to load, especially on low-bandwidth mobile platforms!. A great many visitors will cancel a page if it hangs, and more will start off cross with you if your page loads in fits and starts, elements moving across the screen as they come in.
A fast load time is one of the most crucial factors to ensure early in the design process. Make sure you don’t end up with an all-singing, all-dancing monster that looks amazing on a broadband desktop, but takes five minutes (if it loads at all) on a tablet over a coffee shop’s throttled Wi-Fi.
Of course, the real key to getting a top quality website is working with a skilled design team… contact us today.