An interview with Ade Lewis, Head of Web at Teapot Creative
Ade Lewis has plenty of fresh thinking around online marketing. Maybe it’s the clean countryside air of his home in Somerset, or maybe it’s his diverse work background. Either way, Ade has grown his design agency from a one-man band to a team of 14 in just two years.
So when he came into the Distilled office last week, I grabbed the chance to interview him for the blog.
Q) What’s your general philosophy towards web design?
That it should work hand-in-hand with SEO. It’s no good pouring all your energy into getting loads of traffic if your site isn’t up to scratch.
We get a lot of enquiries from people thinking that if you double the traffic, you double the sales. But it boils down to CRO – you can get all the traffic in the world but if it doesn’t convert, it doesn’t count for much.
Q) What’s the most important thing to remember when building a website?
Ask yourself why you want a website. It’s important to think carefully about this and to set yourself goals that you can justify. Ask yourself ‘what is my website going to achieve over the next 12 months?’
Too many websites start off directionless. That’s often the case with small businesses. People say ‘hey, we need a website’ but don’t know what they want from it. It’s about having the right mentality from the start.
Q) What do people often get wrong with their web design?
They make a website that doesn’t make sense. If you can look at your homepage for more than 2 or 3 seconds and not know what the company actually does – including its industry and aims – you’ve failed.
You’ve got to think about the real-life, practical functions of your website rather than just how it looks.
Q) Any recent success stories you’d like to share with us?
For one client recently we switched their website from fixed width to responsive design and this had a massive impact on their business. Historically their sales from mobile have been poor, but they’ve now seen a 75% increase.
Q) Why do businesses sometimes neglect mobile?
For a lot of small to medium sized businesses, it's that they aren’t aware of the importance of mobile and are often too busy to think about it. Whereas for bigger businesses, it’s the struggle to get changes made. This is particularly the case when the website is run by lots of different departments who each have a stake in it and want their say. But businesses can’t discount mobile, it’s huge.
Q) What’s your approach when working with clients?
Our approach is to educate. So even if a client isn’t coming to us for SEO or digital marketing, we still tell them as much as possible about how search engines work, how people find their website, etc. If the business owners understand these things, they’re going to be a hell of a lot more successful.
At the initial stages, before we sign up a new client, we make sure they understand that their success is down to them (not just Teapot). They need to be involved in the process and to get educated.
Q) Is there anything you find particularly challenging?
People often have unrealistic expectations. Sometimes we talk people out of building a website or we say ‘no’ to taking them on as a client. Teapot need to know that it’s going to work. We want our relationships with clients to span many years, so we need to make sure it’s the right fit.
Q) What’s on the horizon for Teapot Creative?
We’re just about to take on our 14th member of staff, and to move into a new, bigger office.
We've also just become the first UK partner of PrestaShop – an ecommerce software platform, hot on the heels of Magento. This is fantastic because the number of ecommerce sites that Teapot are building is going up.
But with all these changes, we also need to take the time to let things settle. Growing a brand can’t be rushed, it takes a while to get a clear idea of who you are as a company.