Expert Web Design Tips to Help You Build a Website with Kevin Fouche

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Expert Web Design Tips to Help You Build a Brilliant Website with Kevin Fouche | Ep38

If you want to create a new website or revise your old one, this podcast episode is for you. Professional web designer Kevin Fouche joins us to talk about the keys to great website design and what you can do to get it right.

Your website is the online face of your business and will be the first point of contact for most of your potential clients. It’s a summary of who you are, what you do, and how you do it. And, if you want to keep leads on your site, you must invest in your website’s design, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a web designer.

To help with the challenging process of designing and building a website, we get chatting with Kevin Fouche, the Creative Director at website design agency PixelFish. 

Stay tuned to learn some of the tips, tricks, and traps behind a brilliant and authentic website.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • The keys to great website design
  • What people should consider when choosing a website platform
  • The thing people struggle with the most when it comes to creating a website
  • What to consider when hiring a web designer or doing it yourself

Want to learn how to write website copy that increases your sales, when you’re not a copywriter? Head to simplystandoutmarketing.com//websitesthatconvert to get first access.  

Listen on your favorite podcast platform

Guest: Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish 

Kevin Fouche was born in South Africa, and grew up on Sydney's Northern Beaches. After completing school he undertook a Graphic Design degree at Newcastle University and then moved on to working in a big advertising agency, whilst also pursuing his music career.
Kevin, and his brother Mark, played in a rock band called Stone Parade. They toured Australia, the US, and Canada, playing with the likes of Maroon 5, Jimmy Barnes, and INXS! All of their music commitments meant holding down a full-time job became increasingly hard, so Mark and Kevin in 2007 decided to start their own design agency so they could work around our music.
Over the years, as their music career was wrapping up, they began to ramp up their business efforts, and 2022 proudly marks 15 years running the business together.

Connect with Kevin

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If you love what you’ve heard, please share this podcast with your friends, family, and colleagues. Support the show by taking some time to leave a review at https://ReviewThisPodcast.com/SSOMPodcastW. Thanks!

And a big thank you to annabartlett0412 for their wonderful review:

“What a terrific round-up of tips and tools to help really small (but really enthusiastic!) business owners. And so easy to listen to! Thanks for putting in the work and sharing your experience, Nicci!”

Transcript

Nicci O'Mara

The Simply Standout Marketing Podcast is for you, the small business owner wanting to supercharge your marketing with simple actionable strategies and inspiration so you can smash your goals and grow your business. Now  it's your turn to discover what actions to take to make your business truly stand out and succeed. Let's get started.

Nicci O'Mara

Hello and welcome to the Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. I'm your host, Nicci O'mara, and today on the show, we're talking all things website design with the talented Kevin Fouche, who is the creative director at Sydney-based website design agency Pixelfish. Welcome, Kevin, to the show.

Kevin Fouche

Great. Thanks for having me along.

Nicci O'Mara

Our pleasure. Look, I meet you, Kevin, a couple of years ago when I was actually looking for a professional web designer to take all the website copy and images that I'd created for one of my clients and turn it into an amazing website, which they love, by the way. So you and your brother Mark did such an amazing job that we've continued working together ever since, which I love. Now, I've been in the writing copy for websites for I would say decades, really. So I've dealt with a lot of really good and a lot of really bad web designers. And I've also made plenty of mistakes myself. I've also spent a lot of time fixing others' costly mistakes, which I'm sure you have too Kevin. And that's why I think it's so important that anyone with a website has a better understanding of web design, which is why I wanted Kevin on the show with us today, so he could give us that background because, of course, I'm certainly not a web designer or a web developer, but Kevin is one of the best. Now, Kevin, you have an amazing story behind PixelFish that I actually had no idea about until we decided to do this interview.

Nicci O'Mara

So, yeah, it was quite funny. Phoebe, my assistant, and I were loving reading through your bio and then listening on Spotify to some of the things that you've been doing in your life. So can you tell us a little bit about PixelFish and how you actually founded PixelFish, I suppose.

Kevin Fouche

Yeah. It was interesting being invited to come on the podcast. I realised one of the questions was, do you have a bio? I was like, no, I don't have a bio. So I sat down and wrote one. Basically, my story is obviously today I run a business with my brother Mark, doing websites. We've pretty much been very close brothers our whole lives, right back to early on in life when I finished school and I was doing uni, and then I started playing music. I play guitar. My brother, he joined our band as the bass player, and we basically played with our band all around Australia, went overseas, as you do, do lots of touring. And during that process of as the music was getting more and more busy, over the years, both Mark and myself were both working in full time jobs doing design, and just got to the point after a few years that I was leaning very heavily on my boss all the time to get more and more time off work, and Mark was too. And yeah. So eventually it's got to the point we're like, what are we doing? Why don't we just start a little design business together so we can work on the road, we can do the touring, do the music, and then we can still get some money through the door that way.

Kevin Fouche

That's been great. And over the years, as the band and everyone got married, had kids, and things kind of died down on that front, the business has been the thing we've been able to keep going and ramp up over the years. So, yeah, the two of us, from playing on stage now to basically running our design business together, it's been fun.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. Well, it certainly sounds like it has. So how long has Pixel Fish been going for?  

Kevin Fouche

Yeah. So this year, 15 years in business for myself and Mark. We started back in 2007, basically as a little boutique graphic design business. We did logos and brochures and we did the occasional website. But websites really were in the infancy, so we kind of were just doing little Photoshop designs and slicing them up and sticking them up in Dreamweaver and clients would get a new website and they wouldn't really touch it for years until they'd come back. But probably over the last ten to eleven years, as CMS like WordPress have become more widely used and the need for businesses to not just launch a website once every five years, but to have a website that they need to update, our business has evolved to pretty much nowadays where we are purely focused now on just doing the websites for clients. And we've kind of moved away from doing all the old designing of brochures and business cards and things like that.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, well, everyone needs a website or pretty well everyone does these days. So much is electronic, which is fantastic and it's great. It was actually great to read your story in your bio about going from having a band playing for, what do you call it? Sort of not backup band.

Kevin Fouche

We were the opening band, we were doing a lot of when you did touring. For the smaller shows, you do your own headline acts, and then when you were lucky enough, you got to do touring with bigger bands where you get to go up and open the shows and warm up the crowd for the main acts, which were always a lot of fun.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. So nothing like going from that to website design. So you certainly know how to definitely stand out and get the crowd moving.

Kevin Fouche

Well, look, I think also when you're a struggling band, you have to do everything yourself. So Mark and I were designing the flyers and printing them out and handing them out to people and then designing our own websites and all that. So you just have to do those things. Being a musician to being a designer, I think they kind of flow into each other pretty well.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, definitely. Now let's get into some of the stuff to really help those people who are looking to either create a brand new website or to revise their current site. From your point of view, what are some of the keys to really great website design?

Kevin Fouche

I think the fundamentals behind every website, I always feel, is it needs to be authentic. So I always say to clients that your website really needs to be a digital online version of the way that you run your business in day to day life. So if you're a business that takes pride in the way you deal with clients, you might have signage in your vehicle, you might have uniforms. Yeah. You're carrying out everyday tasks for your clients in a professional manner. And if you don't have a website that lives up to that same level of expectations from not just your existing clients, but prospective ones, then you're really letting yourself down. A lot of businesses out there may decide they want to skimp costs on a website or things like that. They'll spend money on getting the latest souped up company car with all the extras on it, and then they'll neglect the website. And what they fail to realise, a lot of the time is, there's a lot of people who are being referred your way that will go to your website and may not actually even contact you because they see a letdown with what they're viewing online.

Kevin Fouche

And we come across this all the time where businesses - there's been plenty of clients that have walked through the door and I've met them. And once I've started to work on their website, I'm shocked about how big their business is and what they're actually doing because their existing site was so poor. So just make sure that your website, whatever type of business you run, that it reflects who you are in your stage of business. And that's really the good thing about websites, I really think, is that websites gone-of-the-days, where 15 years ago when we first designed sites where you'd build and you'd launch something, and it basically would stay up as a static website for five years until the business decided they wanted to do something different. Nowadays, businesses really should be keeping their website up to date. For a lot of businesses, it doesn't mean that you have to be in there every day adding new things, but just making sure that as your business grows and evolves and you're adding and removing services or you're getting new people come on board or leave that you make sure that your website reflects who you are in day to day life.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, look, I totally agree because I speak to so many different people with their clients or not. And so many of them don't see the benefits of actually having really professional, authentic website design from the words, the images, using something that looks like it's from a totally different image that looks like, you know, it's a stock image from a different country and doesn't represent theirs and the words and the design. And if you think about how many websites have we all been to, that we've gone, you know what, I actually thought that'd be really good but I'll go to this next one because they're telling me how to do business with them, what they stand for, why I should do business with them, and they look really professional and that I can trust them. A lot lose that trust factor just by looking at the design, so let alone anything else.

Kevin Fouche

I do think it is hard for a lot of businesses. And obviously everyone's got different stages in business. They've all got different budgets and things that they're striving for. And look, istock images are a great example. We use a lot of stock images on different websites. And I suppose the key, if you're dealing with someone who's a good designer, they're going to try and find a collection of images mixed in with your actual, if you're lucky enough to have your own original photography as well to put in the website, that you put together a blend that I always come back to the authenticity part of it. It needs to basically reflect your business. Plenty of businesses we come across, there's spelling mistakes throughout, there's broken links. I even had one of our clients is a painting company. Their previous site had their names spelled incorrectly all the way through the whole website and things like that. So I think it always comes down to doing something right and correct.

In fact, I got a guy coming in this afternoon for a meeting. He called me on Friday afternoon. I went back through my emails while I was on the phone to him and we had, in fact, spoke four years ago in 2018 when he was looking at doing his website the first time. And he said to me on the phone, I went cheaper, I thought I'd cut corners. And then four years later, he's basically stuck in the same position. So he said, what do we do? I said, well, we can do the exact same thing we spoke about four years ago. So I think it's about getting something done correctly that reflects your business, not a dud, so to speak.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes. And it is so true. And people I think are shocked by how much that it does actually cost to do things properly so that they can get the results. I think there is so much free software, free platforms and all the rest of it. It's like the difference between doing your tax yourself as a business, I'm talking about doing your tax yourself and giving it to an accountant. There's going to be a difference in how much money you get back from that investment. But there are ways of doing a lot of stuff yourself, I believe, without a doubt. But yeah, doing it properly from setting those foundations. I always say to people, get the foundations right from the very start and then build up. You don't have to do everything all at once because there's no point in spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads or Google ads or whatever it is and then sending them to a website that doesn't convert.

Kevin Fouche

Yeah, exactly. I always say to clients, I say you don't need to jump straight in. If you're just a start-up business, you don't need to jump in with it. You're trying to compete with these other people with big 35, 40 page websites. Start with something small. But exactly what you said before is correct. If you're going to then start running Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn ads and things like that, you're going to be spending all this money on these paid adverts only for people to come back to a site that's disappointing, that doesn't connect with them and ultimately doesn't convert. Whether you perceive things like Facebook to be free, but people don't understand the amount of work and money that's gone into all these different platforms that they're jumping onto. So the great thing I think with your website, as opposed to you can have an Instagram account, you can have Facebook, you can have all these other platforms that you use which are terrific, and a lot of these other platforms that may be a free way of getting up and going. And obviously, they derive their money from advertising. But your website is the one online presence that you got that's truly independent. So if for whatever reason, you don't want to go down the whole social media realm, the website is the 100% independent aspect of your business line. You can put whatever you want on there. You've got total control of it.

Kevin Fouche

I think that's the one thing when people assume from the beginning that you can go down to GoDaddy or crazy domains and spend hardly any money and just build your own website yourself, it's going to look very generic and bland. It's going to load very slow. It's probably not going to perform for you. But if that's all you've got at the very beginning of your business just to get you going for the first few months, some people do that. I think probably the main thing I always say to clients is if you really value your business and you want other people to invest and spend money on you for your services, then you need to treat your own business the same way. So you need to invest in your website, invest in your content writing, invest in your branding, all those type of things.

Kevin Fouche

And over the years, we have probably work with 400 businesses in our time with different things with their websites. And pretty much every time we've had a client come in from the get-go, even as a start-up, if they're a business that invests in themselves, they've got plans, they've got budgets, they're ultimately nine times out of ten, the businesses that we turn around in 2 years and go, wow, these guys have grown now, they've got six people on their team. The businesses where we get a phone call twelve to 18 months later, saying hey I need to pull the website down business is going under. Often I've been able to identify at the very beginning steps of the process when we've actually sat down to develop a website, they just haven't had that mentality. And I think that if you have a long-term view of your business, your website is just one aspect and your website will grow with you. So, yeah, start small and keep growing.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, definitely. And one thing many years ago, I think when my kids were really little, I decided as a test because I've been working in marketing communications for 26 years and I sort of thought I always, you know, graphic design - I send that to a graphic designer. I send websites to people like website designers to do all the work. And I thought, you know what? I'm going to see what it takes to develop my own website, which I did in WordPress. And it looked fantastic. And the one thing that I realised, oh my God, it was so much work. So I'll never, ever do it again. I didn't ever want to become a website designer, but I wanted to understand the back end and how it worked and how much work it was. And when I realised how much work it was to even just do it myself, I went, okay, yeah, that's another reason why I like web designers actually doing all this stuff, because there's so much tech stuff involved as well even with all the free stuff. Now talking about platforms, what should people consider when they're actually choosing a platform for their website?

Kevin Fouche

Yeah, there's a range of different platforms out there. What you really want to be making sure that you're using what's known as the CMS platform, meaning that you can actually manage the content of your website moving forward. There are options out there. Like, you've got things like Shopify, you've got like a Wix website, a Weebly website, and they serve their purpose. A lot of clients, if they're wanting to do it themselves, will go down one of those paths. Probably one of the things you just need to remember with a lot of those systems is that their low cost entry point really is because you're then working on their particular platform. So if you build up your Wix website and go now, I want to take it myself and do something with it, you basically, it's stuck on that particular platform. We've been working with WordPress, which is an open source platform, for last ten years. Wordpress is not owned by any one particular corporate organisation out there who holds you to account with a licence. So essentially what that means is that there are hundreds of thousands of web developers around the world who can basically build you a great WordPress site.

Kevin Fouche

Now having said that, I could spin up a quick little five-page website in 2 hours and it's going to have not much on it, it may not look terrific. Or you can build a five-page website that might take 30 to 40 hours, it's totally custom design, it looks fantastic and it works perfectly well. Probably when you touch before and the amount of time that it takes, and one of the reasons we enjoy, I suppose doing websites, it's a nice blend of the technical aspect and design. But also more importantly I think and you probably come across this a lot with your content is you'll be sitting across the room from a client and they can explain all the things that they've got in their business, but they can't put it down in words and it's the same with the website. So there's a real skill and it goes beyond just visual design. It's more like design thinking where you're trying to extrapolate from a client what is their actual business about, what differentiates them from other people.

Kevin Fouche

Then how can we, in a visual aspect and using their content, create a website that really I'll go back to that authentic aspect I spoke about earlier. How do you make a website that uniquely looks like them? And as you know, whether it's getting someone to write you professional content or do social media strategy for your business, that you can't use a cookie-cutter method, get something for yourself that you'll be very proud of, that looks unique and that represents you uniquely. You can go down the other path if you got less budget and you're happiest to get a cookie cutter template and just spin up something and get it going for the time being. But if you really want to have something and if you're out there as a business owner who really wants to say, look, this is who I am, this is what I do, this is what sets me apart, what makes my business different to the others. And I really want other people to come towards me to pay me money for my services. If you don't take that same mindset into the website, I think you run into a bit of trouble. But WordPress has been fantastic. As you know, there are hundreds of thousands of different plugins and themes that you can use. So again, it's about having the experience to know, hey, which particular free themes and plugins can we use, which professional paid versions are the ones that we need?

Kevin Fouche

Because as you know, there will be a range of different plugins out there. Every plugin you put into your website will add some element of functionality, but it's going to slow the website down. Some will break another theme or a different plugin. So it gets very complicated trying to work out exactly what to put in and what not to put in for us. Over the years we used to work in a range of different platforms, but the last ten years, it's just focusing really just on WordPress. And there's so much going on just within WordPress to keep on top of for the work that we do. But it's great. I would highly suggest whether you want to try to do like a little free version of WordPress for a personal blog site to see how it goes together, or whether your business has got to the point where you actually want to have something that's more bespoke and is designed correctly. And you can get terrible websites built in WordPress and you can get terrific websites built in WordPress. Some of the biggest and best sites out there that you may come across may vary will be WordPress sites, and you may come across another site that's just load slowly and doesn't work and falls apart. And that also might be built in WordPress. It just purely depends on how that person has built it.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. And as you say, that's one lesson I learned with plugins and also working on lots of different platforms as well is things break that you didn't ever know unless you have that technical background, which I didn't. I remember updating my site one day and I can't remember it was some plugin reacted to something else and the whole site went down and all I had pressed was one button.

Kevin Fouche

Yeah. Websites are very different. Like, I go back to our previous types of jobs we do. For example, if a client came to us wanting us to design a poster for their business to be advertising a product, you'd spend all the time in InDesign designing the brochure or the poster. You would then create a PDF, hand that to the client. They could then take that to the printer, print off 100 copies. It could sit on their computer for three years. When they run out of their brochures, they could go back to the printer, hand them over the same PDF file, and everything works. They could print everything again. And websites are quite different to that, especially with WordPress. Once you've launched a WordPress site, you need to make sure that someone is taking control of the hosting. The maintenance is a big aspect. So WordPress has about four updates a year. The average site we bill may have between twelve and 20 different plugins. Every single one of those plugins gets updated four times a year. The theme that you use also is four times a year you might update to the latest version of Plugin X and then all of a sudden it's broken the other one.

Kevin Fouche

And it's just the whole balancing act of making sure clients websites are managed well, that they're updated so that they're protected from spam and hacking, but also that you're making sure that things are backed up and the like. But as I said, having the mentality of understanding that a website is very different to like a PDF for printing business cards. And that's probably one of the things people don't understand. Every time you visit Facebook, it works. There was that one last year where Facebook went down for a few hours and the whole world nearly melted. But people don't understand that they have tens of thousands of people there constantly updating and maintaining and managing that system. And your website, even though it's much smaller, it's no different. You do need to have some form of maintenance plan to keep it going. Just like a car, you buy a car, you drive it out the dealership. It needs to be serviced, needs to have oil and petrol and new tires put on. It doesn't just keep running until it grinds to a halt. So there is that aspect of websites that someone does need to have control of.

Kevin Fouche

We do provide that for our clients. There are some clients that want to do that in house, if they've got the right number of people in house that may have that expertise. And there are other clients, people out there who are just oblivious to the fact that they'll just launch their site. And it may last a year, it may last two years, it may get hacked. And your website coming down, believe it or not, is probably not the worst thing that will happen to you. The worst that is, if it does get hacked, and then a lot of the spam bots then would send out malicious emails from your domain name out to people and then you get put on what's called a blacklist, which means that your own business can't send any emails out to anyone. And that's probably the worst thing that can happen. Your website can get pulled down temporarily. But if you get added to a blacklist multiple times, then we've had clients come to us, they've been hacked previously, and when they come to us, we've had to basically buy a whole brand new domain name and build a new site on a brand new domain name, which has zero domain authority. So there are things to be aware of. And that's why I suppose you need someone to help you look after that ongoing.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. And also I know a friend's business, the website got hacked and got held to ransom. That happens more and more. And it's not, especially when you're first starting out, it's often not something that you ever think about that there is people's names and addresses, there is so much. Your email, your credibility, everything goes in there and you just don't think about it.

Kevin Fouche

It's like when you're going into buying a property, you don't know all the ins and outs of everything that could or may not happen until you go through the whole process and you've experienced every possible twist and turn. But yeah, I think probably one of the other biggest issues we find also as clients, they might start the business and the business owner, he'll then register the domain somewhere, then he'll have the hosting somewhere else and his email is somewhere else. And before you know it, he's got ten different domains he's registered and then the website has gone down and no one can work out where the domain is and where the hosting is. And it can take a whole week to detangle where everything is sitting.

Kevin Fouche

Things go wrong, clients can also have self-inflicted damage as well. We had a client, the whole website went down. We spent half a day trying to work out what happened to it and we ended up realising that she basically just without realising she was creating redirects on her website and she set a redirect from the homepage to nowhere. So for the whole day when people were visiting the website, it was going to nowhere. Obviously, we were checking everything from a technical aspect and everything was working fine. So there is human error as well, besides malicious and technical things that you just need to make sure. I suppose when you do have a website that you've got at least someone that you can turn to that can give you assistance. We've had to restore website backups from the night before or two nights before if people have been jumping on trying to do things and next thing they've broken it in half. So you can break a website, you can delete your key files.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, you can, definitely. But yeah, I've got to say, having that one person there or having someone as a backup person that you can call on to go, hey, I broke it, can you fix it for me? Now you've been through a few things with regards to some of the traps with websites, what do you find people struggle with the most when it comes to creating a new website or even just revising their current one.

Kevin Fouche

I'd say content is the biggest hurdle on every project we work with. Often business, even if it's an experienced business owner, they can't get what's in their head even out of their mouth. So I think someone like yourself with the pros that we've worked on, where you get to understand the business owner really well and you can kind of extrapolate all the content and start to break down in a concise way. This is their business. These are the services that they provide. These are the clients they deal with. I often say to clients that you just need to, there's that great saying from American Snipers, aim small, miss small. So if you know exactly if you're going to be very precise about who you're targeting and exactly what you do, at least if that doesn't resonate exactly with the exact person you had in mind, it will resonate with someone closely around that mark. I think the biggest pain point is always content. Sounds silly, but it's not the design. It's always content.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, well, that's actually one of the things that I've found. I write content, but I found with so many people that they don't want to pay a professional copywriter to write it. And that's actually one of the reasons why I have come up with an online program which I'm launching in late March. So it'll be probably just after this episode is published. And it's to actually step people through because there is a process that I go through and it takes me days to write a website because there's brand messaging, there's all these things. But as there is in design, there's a whole framework that we work with from the content side of things to make sure that it actually converts the way that users want to do things. And I just sort of figured, well, not everyone can afford to hire a professional copywriter, and some people just don't want to. And that's okay. So that's why I just went, you know what I'm actually going to come up with, I'm going to put everything from my head into a program. I'll be excited to actually get that out, which will make your job easier, too.

Kevin Fouche

I think it's a terrific idea because I think, as I said, every business is at a different stage. Some people might be poor with their time when they're running a very busy, successful business, other business when they're first starting to have more time in their hands. The hard part is always, how do you get that content out of them? So if you worked at the magical ingredients, that would be a fantastic tool for people to use make our jobs a lot easier, for sure.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, definitely. At the end of the day, you want them making more money and for their website to be more successful and to grow their business. So that's really all I want at the end of the day. And if that helps them, then that's great. When people are looking for a web designer, what should they look for in a web designer so that they find the right person rather than I've had a lot of clients come to me with, oh my God, had this web designer look at what they did and I look at it from my perspective and go, wow, that's why you've had no organic traffic because there's no keywords, your services or your products page is just gobbledygook for the title. And there's so many things. So what should they be looking for? If they're looking for a good web designer.

Kevin Fouche

The first thing I'd say, just speak to them. Get some references of other websites that they've done, even if you need a personal reference to call. And actually, if they're not engaging with you and actually ask you lots of questions to understand your business, that's what I do. Every time I speak to someone, the main things about understanding their business, if someone doesn't ask any questions to understand your business and bombard you with a lot of different questions, which may put you off initially. But what a good web design is really doing is they're just trying to understand you and your business so they can build a better idea in their head in terms of what could possibly be done for you. But that'd be the best thing I'd suggest and look at Google reviews as they go and go into their website, look at other sites that they've built and perhaps even speak to some other clients that they've dealt with to get a good understanding.

Nicci O'Mara

Yep, I think that's all very good. And I think also understanding where their staff or the people who are going to be creating your website. One trap I have fallen into and wasn't a good one was thinking I was dealing with someone this particular was an Australian business. And what I didn't realise was that the people doing the developing of a website were actually based in, I can't remember India or somewhere like that, which is fine. But the problem is they actually went missing. The person was nearly, nearly done and there's nothing we could do. So we ended up with three quarters finished website and it was an absolute nightmare. I'm not saying that will always occur, but to me, I now always ask the question who will be developing?

Kevin Fouche

we haven't heard the story for a little while, but it used to be almost a lot of times I get people call me up and the web designers now backpacking across Europe and now they've disappeared. And I think, look, when we run our business, I think it does give people heart when they know how long you've been in business. They know we got a physical office that they can come and visit. They can see list of clients that we work with. We're even happy for them to talk to other clients. I think the more open that a web developer can be with you. And also they should explain their process. So every web design has got their own process. We've got our own for different types of projects. I think the more you can find out, just so you know, who you're dealing with, whether it's not just the middle man who's just taking your money and then just briefing it overseas and then just disappearing as soon as that's done, obviously, everyone's got different dreams for their site and what they want to deal with. But I think at least that way you're going to find someone who works closely with the way you want things to be done.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. And also they've got to be in my mind, you actually have to get that person, like not every designer or marketing person or whatever is for everyone. You're going to have your people. You've got to find someone who gets you and that you want to work with and that you really like and that you trust. So there's plenty of designers out there. It's just finding the one that you like their designs. It's like finding a photographer. You look at their photos and go, no, that's a bit out there for me or I absolutely love it. So looking at other people's websites is, I think, also a really good one.

Kevin Fouche

Yeah, exactly. I think we've had a few people when we presented websites to them, there was the one comment last week I think Mark sent me - I just knew that you guys got us straight away, you've smashed out the park, you've hit the nail on the head, like it looks exactly like what we talked about, you guys understand it. I think you're right. It's like when people trust the hairdresser they've been going to for years, someone who, you know, will do a good job. And sometimes you got to dive in the deep end. You don't know how it's going to turn out. And I always say to people, if you want a good idea of what the project is going to end up, you can look at some other ones we've done and then just trust us that the process will lead that way. Yeah, it does take a leap of faith, really, doesn't it?

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, it does. And look, it's one of those things where I've also found with things like Google reviews and all the rest of it, I'm always a bit wary of reviews on Facebook groups or on Google because I know how easily they can be manipulated or paid for. So, yes, always in my mind talking to your web designer and having a look at their work. And even if you can talk to one of their clients, I think that's absolute gold.

Kevin Fouche

Yeah. Now we've had a few people ask us to put a personal reference for them, and yeah, that shouldn't be. I mean, it's usually only on bigger projects where there's more at stake.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, definitely. So, Kevin, what advice can you give someone wanting to build a website, but they don't know where to start.

Kevin Fouche

It's a good question, actually. I'd probably say at the very beginning, probably looking at your own business, finding out where does your business sit in terms of if it's a startup business, are you a young business that has had a few years under your belt and you're looking to grow? Or if you're an established business, once you've determined which particular, I suppose phase suits your business, then looking at a lot of your competitors and seeing what are they actually doing, the people who are succeeding in your particular specialty, what are they doing with their websites? Are they running? For example, if you're a business that has the ability to sell products online, are they doing that? There's a really great website called builtwith.com. You can grab any website of any competitor you've seen. You can whack it in there and hit analyse and it'll even tell you which website platform that website uses. So that's a great little free tool you can use that often people will call me and they're wanting a new website and they don't even know what website platform their sites on. And that's a good little tool that can actually show you any site you're looking at. Which platform is this particular website built on? So that would probably be a good one to look at.

Kevin Fouche

I'd probably say in terms of your options, with a website, I suppose you've got one of three different types of options. If you're a small business, you can either do it yourself, you can go to somewhere like Freelancer.com or Upwork, and you can create a whole brief if you're prepared to spend time liaising with freelance developers to build your site. Some of the common feedback I've had from people is that those projects can seem quite cost effective at the beginning. Often they can lead to a lot of frustration in communication and delays and it can still be twelve to 18 months and the website is not complete. Or your other option is also just looking around some of the great other businesses that are succeeding in your area and just finding out, hey, who's the best web designer that a lot of other businesses use? Who are they happy with and finding someone that way. If you're a bigger agency that has their own advertising agency that they use, then obviously, I suppose more bespoke branding sites are done through that way.

Kevin Fouche

But I'd say pretty much with all the websites that we do in our business, we're either dealing with either someone like yourself who's been brought in on a project, who is overseeing the content and the strategy and the marketing, or dealing directly with a small business owner. But yeah, there's lots of ways to work out as far as which particular bucket you fit in. But I think probably looking at who's doing really well. I always say to people, don't look at businesses that are where you want to be right now. Look at the businesses of where you want to be in the future and seeing what their sites look like. If you've just got a little five-page site, but they've actually got a 20-page site and they're using actual original photography on their site and you're just using stock imagery and things like that, try and strive to get the very best solution, knowing that once you get that website up and running, as you know, that content is there forever. So you spend time and effort investing in getting a good website with really great content, including if you're going to get regional photography and once that's up there online, that's going to serve you really well for the next three to four years while you keep doing other things with your business.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, I think that's all really good advice. And I also think there's a lot of great looking websites out there, but I think it's important to ask if you see someone, one of your friends or colleagues or whatever has a really great website to actually ask them how is it going in terms of producing leads and sales for them, rather than because you can have a beautiful looking website, but if it doesn't have the right messaging or it's not user friendly. So people go on there, you've got the 3 seconds to capture their attention, but people leave. Yeah, you really need to find out, well, is it actually working for them and what is working for them and what's not? Because there will always, I don't care how good a website is, there will always be something that you can improve on that you can fix. I know with mine, I can sit there every day and go, I really want to fix this or that. Yeah. I think finding out is it actually converting, is it doing really well as well as the ones that you love to look at that you can aspire to.

Kevin Fouche

I think it's a great point. I don't know if you've ever been, it's happened to me many times, you've been to like a business networking function and you meet someone, you talk to them for ten minutes and they walk away and someone says, what is that guy doing? I'm like, I have no idea. The same with websites where often you'll have someone come in and they can talk all these things and you look at their website and even someone who's experienced, I'm struggling to work out this person, an accountant, what are they doing? I think the main thing really, in terms of conversions, finding out what conversion means for your clients, whether it's leads, whether it is profile as an example, if you can't go to a website and see what the person does, what services they provide, who they provide those services for, what are some great examples of their services, and then how to get in contact with them. If a website doesn't take you through those four steps of the process, essentially it really is just a piece of art that's sitting there online. And for someone who studied graphic design at Uni, one of the main things you learn as a graphic designer that it's art with the purpose and it's the same with websites.

Kevin Fouche

It's not just there to look pretty. And yes, fair enough. Part of making our client sites stand out from their competitors is the visual appeal of it. But unless the website is going to take someone through that journey, importantly, get them to get in touch with the business. I'll say that if that's what the business owner wants, because we've had some clients in the past that basically want a website just to stop all the tire kickers from contacting them. And they set the bar very high with their level of with what they offer. And then you have other clients who come in and they purely just want lead after lead after lead. So I think the main thing is from a website is to review what was the purpose of your website and is it doing that exact thing for you? And if it's not as even with your own website? Same with us, where we're constantly going back and how do we tweak and change this? For example, we haven't had so many website inquiries for the last 90 days. Why is that the case? And sometimes that takes you down the path and someone will realise actually the email on the contact form is going to someone in the business who's left and people haven't received the email, things like that, which, as a web designer, you got no idea about the internal workings of a client, but they can be simple little things.

Kevin Fouche

Or someone hasn't added a new service which is really crucial to their business, but they haven't added it to their website or they've changed their phone number and they haven't updated that on the website. So there's always things that you can add and changing your site to improve those things.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, look, I think that is fantastic. I think all of this advice and information should really help people who are looking to create a new website or to revise their current one. Now, where can people find you online?

Kevin Fouche

It's pretty simple. We've got our website Pixelfish.com.au. I'm also on LinkedIn as well. I think the thing with our business really is that clients know and we give out our emails and our phone numbers. We're always more than happy to chat people like yourself as well. If you've got a client that you're speaking to, that's having issues and concerns. As you know, I'm always more than happy to give some time and some advice and then down the track for us, if it ends up being a really good fit for a new project, well, that's fantastic. If not at least we've parted some advice on to clients but mainly I suppose we got our website we do a bit of social media and LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram but yeah, I suppose like if it wasn't our website as the main flagship, what would we be really doing.

Nicci O'Mara

I suppose yes, very true. And look we will put your details into the show notes as well so people can find that. But look thank you Kevin so much for taking the time to spend with me and for giving us all your knowledge and it's wonderful and no doubt we will be working on a project very, very soon. I'll be in touch later this week actually.

Kevin Fouche

For everyone out there because we've worked on projects with Nicci in the past year. It's fantastic and I can't highly recommend you enough and also your podcast has been great. I've been getting some little bitesized tips over the years. So very good.

Nicci O'Mara

Oh, that's lovely. Thank you so much for that, Kevin. Thank you and we'll be in touch soon.

Nicci O'Mara

Thanks for listening to the Simply Standout marketing podcast. Head over to Simplystandoutmarketing.com for the show notes downloads and even more great stuff to help you grow your business with marketing made simple.

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