How do you find a designer or developer who builds the best aviation websites?  Of course, it’s very important to look at other work they’ve done!

In this episode, John and I discuss web sites we’ve built recently, and talk about some of the clients we built them for.We talk about some of the web site design best practices and marketing strategy impact the design and function of these sites.

aviation websites by ABCI

Paula Williams:

Welcome to this week’s episode. I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams:

You know who you are?

Paula Williams:

I am.

John Williams:

I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams:

And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is…

John Williams:

To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there in the aviation world sell your products and services.

Paula Williams:

Absolutely.

 

What should my web site do for me?

Paula Williams:

This week we’re talking about aviation websites that ABCI has built in the last six months or so. We’re going to be talking about all the latest fashions and fun things that people are doing. It’s always good to see what other people are doing in the industry and why, right?

John Williams:

Why it works better the way they’re doing it.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. All right. A long time ago, we did another podcast about aviation websites. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. We did another podcast about, what should my website do for me? Nowadays there is a pretty high expectation on websites. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that we expect them to do for us.

Paula Williams:

Of course, your website can do many, many things. It can sell stuff. It can do consultations, it can set things up, you can even put a calendar in there. You can put catalogs in there.

John Williams:

A chatbot.

 

What Should My Website do for me? The Basics

Paula Williams:

You can put ecommerce, chatbots, tons of things, and of course, all of those are options, but there are three really essential things. If we take that Swiss Army knife and minimize it down to three blades, the three blades that every website has, no matter how fancy you want to get, the three things that absolutely must do are number one, get found right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

For the right keywords, not just for your business name, but for what you actually do, and what people actually look for you when they need. Right? That’s thing number one. Thing number two is educate prospective buyers, because most of us have products or services that are not falling off a log simple, right?

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

Sometimes your customers are not going to know the difference between your product and another unless you educate them, right?

John Williams:

Yep. That’s a little old school. It’s interesting you picked an old timer three bladed knife.

Paula Williams:

Did you have one?

John Williams:

I still do.

Paula Williams:

You still do. That’s right, you do. Every time we go through an airport, you leave it on the dresser, and then you miss it the whole time we’re gone because…

John Williams:

Want to keep it.

Paula Williams:

You use that a lot. Right? Exactly. Then the third thing, the third blade on this old timer knife, is get prospects to contact you, and whether that’s with a form, or a phone number, or usually as many ways as possible, you want to give them to contact you because some people are going to prefer one method over another, and this is about the customer, it’s not about what your preferences are. Right?

John Williams:

Absolutely.

Paula Williams:

All right. Okay. With those three things in mind, we’re going to look at several of the aviation websites that we have created for our clients over the last few months, and talk about some of the things that we did and why, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

 

Aviation Websites - AvProps

Paula Williams:

Okay. AvProps, this is a really fun client. They have got a lot of history from World War I and World War II. It’s one of those family businesses that has been in the industry forever. Right?

John Williams:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

They’ve got Daisy, who is their spokesperson, cartoon spokesperson. You can read all about Daisy in their blog. She was a pinup in World War I, I think. Starting in World War I, and has kind of evolved since then, and it’s always interesting to see how people do that.

Paula Williams:

They’ve also got a lot of information about their capabilities, a lot of great testimonials and other things on this website. But the main thing that we did for AvProps was help them get found. When you look at their Google Analytics and other things, who is looking for which keywords and how are they finding them? If you look up aircraft propellers in Florida, especially Hartzell and some of the other brands that they sell, they’re going to come up really, really well and they didn’t before.

Paula Williams:

That’s thing number one and thing number two is this site looks very modern, and if you looked at their old site, and we could pull that up if we wanted to on the way back machine, but it had teeny tiny pictures, right? Like a lot of old websites did. It had an intro page that was Flash, which a lot of browsers don’t even support anymore because of security reasons. It was mostly words and it had kind of this cloudy background, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

That was clever a few years ago. Styles change for a reason. Back in those days you had to have a really minimal website, because you wanted it to load quickly if somebody was using a Netscape browser and a dial up connection. Things are very different now. People have broadband, and there’s also really, really good image compression technology. You wouldn’t believe how much this image is compressed and you can see the woodgrain, it’s a beautiful, beautiful image and it is super compressed over the high resolution image that we started with.

John Williams:

Oh, yeah.

Paula Williams:

Right. Your website is a reflection of your company, and if your website hasn’t changed in five or more years, chances are you’re not reflecting what your customers want to see, and you’re not showing yourself as modern as your company maybe really is. Right?

John Williams:

In fact, we’ve had clients that have told us that they got telephone calls to ask them if they’re still in business, because their website hadn’t been updated.

Paula Williams:

It looks so… Yeah. What is the word? So Netscape, to use a really old word, and even five years ago, styles were very different than they are now. Once again, we’re using a lot of big images that are very compressed, so they don’t look big or they don’t load in a way that that is big.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

And don’t perform that way. Another thing I like about this one is that it communicates one idea. When you go to a lot of people’s homepage, it’s kind of a mess. It looks like a pawn shop with aisles everywhere, lots of stuff on their menu, things like that. This is one of the things that we go through in our 31 point checklist, and one of the items on that, and this is Dr. Jacob Nielsen’s eye tracking, so very scientific, based on research of how people actually use websites. You should have five or fewer items in your menu in most cases, at least top level items in your menu. You want to look simple, you want to look easy to use, you don’t want to make people tired to look at, right?

John Williams:

Right.

 

Aviation Websites - Seabright Company

Paula Williams:

Okay. Here’s another one. Aviation sales consulting by Seabright Company. High touch, high tech sales solutions, and that is really what you want in the aviation industry. The big thing about this one is that everything kind of leads you to this free consultation that is there… You want people to contact you. It’s super easy to find out how, and this is how they want to be contacted. Free consultations is how they get their business.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

This is the one thing, if we boil everything down to one idea, this is the one thing you want people to do from this website. You can look at their services, you can read about them, you can do all kinds of things, but the thing they want you to do, schedule a free consultation. OK.

 

 Aviation Websites - LD Aviation

Paula Williams:

L/D Aviation Services. Another one of our favorites, right?

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Lindsay Dyer and Lori Knoper, they have the coolest business. It is basically custom dispatch for companies that maybe don’t have an entire department to do dispatch. Right?

John Williams:

But they still need it done.

Paula Williams:

They still need it done. In a lot of cases their chief pilot or somebody is burdened with this. Getting the rental cars, and making arrangements, and finding lowest fuel price, and all of those things. Nowadays, pilots are in huge demand, and they don’t necessarily want to be spending all their free time, or all their rest time, or whatever, making these kinds of arrangements. If you can offload some of that to a dispatcher, that is always a wonderful thing for your pilots, and also it’s a lot less expensive than having your pilots do it, and paying them for that time. Okay.

Paula Williams:

L/D aviation services, it is not an easy thing to explain. There’s a lot of information on their website. There’s some cartoons that describe what they do. Once again, the Contact Us Now, is incredibly prominent, Free Consultation and so on. Lots of stuff there that’s helpful for that business.

 

Aviation Websites - Sapphire Aviation Solutions

Paula Williams:

Sapphire Aviation Solutions, this is Hal Stephens.

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

Really friendly guy, and almost all of his business is done word of mouth, and the main thing that he wanted was, “Get people to contact me. I can sell them from that point, we don’t need a lot on our website, we just need something super simple,” and so he’s got a gallery of his projects, Contact Us, Let’s Get Started, and so on. There’s actually quite a bit of information behind the scenes on this that he can refer people to in his sales process.

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

But the homepage is incredibly simple. Yeah, simple and elegant, really the way to go. You can always add more pages. You can always add a blog. You can always add a lot of things behind the covers, but you want the cover to look nice. Okay?

John Williams:

Exactly.

 

Aviation Websites - Delta Engineering

Paula Williams:

Okay. All right. Delta Engineering. Now, this is a complicated company. This is the company that you go to if you need an STC, or something like that. You can’t just add a lav to your plane. You can’t even add a seat to your airplane without getting an STC, which is basically the approval from the FAA to make a modification to your aircraft.

John Williams:

They do all the engineering, and all the necessary paperwork and requests from the FAA.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, the materials testing, all of that stuff that goes into making sure that that is a legal modification to make, and getting that approved by the FAA, and they got all the connections to talk to the right people at the right time, and fill out the right forms, and all that stuff to make those things happen.

John Williams:

They’d done this long enough that they may have an STC for you already

Paula Williams:

Exactly. Or one that they can modify slightly so you’re not starting from scratch, so they can save you a lot of time and money in that process. Really cool company. Once again, a pretty standard layout here, Home, Services, Our Work, with some great examples, and things like that, and Contact, and Get a Quote Today. Once again, this is one of the… Actually all of the ones that we’ve shown you up to this point have had very specific keywords, which is great, because when someone is looking for a mod to their private jet, they want to add a seat, they want to add a lav, they want to add a coffee bar, or they want to add an espresso machine, whatever it is. Or they want to take out some of that stuff. A lot of people are taking out their entertainment systems now, which is cool.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

We were talking to someone about this just the other-

John Williams:

Yeah. They’re taking out the entertainment system because they’re old and stodgy, and they’re just handing everybody a laptop and using wireless.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. So you can actually have-

John Williams:

Because they’ve got broadband on the aircraft now.

Paula Williams:

Yes. Six iPads that are automatically updated and maybe have a big screen that does airplay, and get rid of all of that entertainment system that is so heavy, and silly, and outdated, and you have to pay for.

John Williams:

Well, it wasn’t silly in its day, but now it’s coming…

Paula Williams:

Right.

John Williams:

It’s been out done.

Paula Williams:

Yeah. You got these big consoles with the fake Walnut grain, and all that stuff. People don’t do that anymore or they don’t need that anymore. In a lot of cases, they don’t even have the service that they originally got with those entertainment systems. That’s the oldest looking thing on the plane, and when you’ve got a charter plane, or something like that, you want it to look modern and cool. All right.

Paula Williams:

Anyway, the point that I was trying to make before I diverged into entertainment systems was if you are looking for STC for entertainment system for your aircraft, that’s a very specific phrase, and someone who is looking for that, there’s only a few companies in the world that do that. You want to make sure that you’re finding the right folks, and if you have a very specific product or service, you’ve got an advantage, because it’s a lot easier to score really well, and for people to find you if you do your website correctly. We just need to build some materials about that topic into your website, and they don’t have to be on the homepage.

John Williams:

Right.

 

Aviation Websites -SSC

Paula Williams:

Right. Okay. Now these next few are what we call a video slider. These are in motion as we’re looking at them.

John Williams:

Just not to have the in motion here.

Paula Williams:

Well, they will be by the time that people see this. If you’re just listening to this, you’re going to have to imagine, some of the websites that you’ve seen where they’ve got some motion going on in the background. There’s no sound, it’s unobtrusive, it doesn’t bother anybody. It’s not going to cause them a problem with reading the menu or anything else. The purpose of this is to really attract attention, and to communicate that one thing that you want people to know.

John Williams:

The high res pictures are all compressed, so it doesn’t even affect performance.

Paula Williams:

Right, and in this case, the video doesn’t affect performance. If this is a slideshow of different destinations that SSC flies to, SSC’s main… They do a lot of different things. They do charter and management, maintenance, and so on, but the main thing that they do is that charter business, is where they make most of their revenue. We really wanted to emphasize some of the locations that you can get to really easily from Greenville, South Carolina. So it becomes about the destination, not about the airplane, because for most of their charter customers, they don’t really care so much about the airplane. They just want to get where they want to get, so we made this video about the destinations they can fly to, and once again the menu’s off to the left, so that’s not interfered with in any way. This is super high compression, so this is not going to slow down the load of this site, because there is a slideshow going on in the background.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Form follows function. Most important thing, people have to be able to use your website. It doesn’t matter how cool it looks if people can’t use it.

Aviation Websites - Tech Center Guam

 

Paula Williams:

Okay. Guam, Tech Center Guam. This is really cool. They have a training Academy, an FBO, all kinds of things in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It is the most convenient tech stop in the Pacific so if you’re flying from Asia to the West Coast of the United States, it’s a really great place to do customs, and get fuel, and all of those things that is out of the way of some of the bigger airports that are stateside, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

I guess it is stateside. It is a U.S. Territory.

John Williams:

It is a territory. Yeah.

Paula Williams:

Right. All of these menus work and we darkened this video to the point where it makes it really legible and really high contrast while you still got a lot of interesting stuff going on in the background, because they have a drone port, and they have a technology hub, and they have got super fast internet speed, which is really unusual on an Island in the middle of the Pacific. Right?

John Williams:

10 gig.

 

Aviation Websites - Guam Aviation Academy

Paula Williams:

Yeah. Super cool. Okay, so looking at that one and seeing how that one has a certain brand, and a certain look and feel, and everything else. This is the same company but a slightly different service, so this is for a different customer set for the same company, and this is the Aviation Academy. Here we’re going into some detail about their dispatch course, their electronics and aviation’s tech courses, resources for dispatchers, and so on.

Paula Williams:

This is not for the super high tech gamer crowd, right? This is for the Asian young folks who are looking for a super lucrative career, prestigious aviation careers. We’ve got a busy airport going on in the background. Once again, it’s kind of subdued so that you can definitely super legible, really easy to read, easy to use and so on.

John Williams:

It’s quite impressive too.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, it’s a really neat company and a neat website too, I think.

John Williams:

Of course, you do.

 

Aviation Websites - GC Aircraft

Paula Williams:

Of course, I do. All right,

Great Circle Aircraft. I wanted to show you these two images. These are the same site at different times. This was last year when ADSB was a big deal, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

So we had a counter going on. Here are things that need to be done before the deadline. Here is a decision tree of things that you can do about ADSB. That was super relevant at the time.

Aviation Websites - GC Aircraft2

It is not anymore, so we adapted their website to be, once again, the super simple, Get a Consultation. If something is going on in your business and we’re managing it for you, we can adapt pretty easily using the themes that we do. We use WordPress and we use some pretty flexible themes, so that we’re able to adapt to seasonal things, natural disasters, crazy stuff that goes on in the world. News events, whatever you need, we can make sure that we adapt for that, even on your homepage, because that is, once again, kind of your emissary to the world. Right?

John Williams:

Absolutely.

Paula Williams:

It’s like putting a sign on your front door saying we are doing something a little bit differently, because of what’s going on in the world, and that is very, very possible with modern website technology.

John Williams:

Yep.

 

Aviation Websites - ABCI

Paula Williams:

Okay. ABCI.  Of course, this is us, and this is the one that we experiment with because it’s our own website. Anything that we do to any of our clients’ websites… Well, almost an. thing we have done on our own website first, so that we’re able to test it out, work out the bugs, make sure it doesn’t slow anything down. At this time, that you see the screenshot, we were testing a chat scenario, a live chat scenario. At this point it was not up to our standards, so we got rid of it, if you go to our website now you’re not going to see that. You’re going to see some testimonials on the other corner. That’s what we’re testing right now, is our reputation management product to make sure that we’re optimizing that for all of our clients.

Paula Williams:

Our website is kind of our marketing lab to make sure that anything that we suggest to our customers is something that we have tested and made sure is going to work.

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay. We’re not bleeding edge.

John Williams:

Well, our website is almost, but none of our clients are.

Paula Williams:

Right. There’s a lot of website development companies that will push the boundaries of technology, that is not us. We like to use things that are tested and we think your website should offer you absolutely no surprises of a good or bad nature, and of course it is technology, and of course things happen, but we do our best to make sure that everything is tested, backed up, and everything else. So security and stability, we prize far above innovation. Right?

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

 

Aviation Websites - Due for MRO?

Okay. All right. Is your website due for an MRO? What we recommend is every three years, maybe four years, but certainly four years. Right?

John Williams:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Or, if it isn’t doing those three main jobs as well as it used to, and those three main jobs of course, are getting found for specific keywords. If you haven’t done any optimization in three or four years, you really need to do some more because Google changes almost daily.

John Williams:

And for sure, weekly.

Paula Williams:

Yeah. The different algorithms that they use, and the different technologies, and different priorities that they have for websites. They’re emphasizing mobile a lot more now than they did before. They’re emphasizing website load speed. Lots of things that didn’t matter three or four years ago, really matter a lot now.

John Williams:

Yeah, we got folks that work with us that know this stuff inside and out.

 

Aviation Websites - what should my web site do for me?

Paula Williams:

Absolutely. Number one, getting found for specific keywords. If that’s not doing that to your standards now, then we need to rethink that.

Paula Williams:

Is it educating prospective buyers in the way that they expect? Are you offering video when you used to have text there? A lot of people are moving to more modern technologies in ways of communicating their message. If there are concepts and things that would be better communicated by video than text, then maybe it’s time to update your website, and upgrade those materials.

Paula Williams:

Number three, are they getting your prospects to contact you? Do you have an easy way for them to do that? Are your forms all working? Do you have an appointment calendar, if that’s the way that you do business? Other things that make it super easy for your customers to do business with you. Right?

John Williams:

Yep.

 

Paula Williams:

Okay. Through the end of March, we have three promo videos with your website refresh. If you book a website refresh with ABCI through the end of March, we will include three promo videos, and those are short videos that we create, either using animation, or slides, or your raw footage, or some combination of those things. There’s a lot we can do with that. If you want, we can do onsite videography at an additional charge, but included with a website refresh is three promo videos that we can create using either your raw footage, stock photography, or slides, or animations.

John Williams:

Wait a minute, you said book. Does that mean they could book now, and get it next month?

Paula Williams:

Yeah, as long as they book it before, meaning you push the button, you pay your money, you sign an agreement before March 31st, and then we can start on your website in April, get started on your website in May, and you still get the three free videos. We can schedule that when we talk.

John Williams:

Okay.

Paula Williams:

Okay. All right. You do have to finish it before the end of the year. We really like to finish websites in four to six weeks. Sometimes it takes longer and we understand that because you’ve got a long approval process, you got a lot of people to bring on board, and to get to agree and so on. But four to six weeks is usually the amount of time that it takes to build a new website.

John Williams:

Yeah. When we do it, we use a URL that is so disgusting that nobody’s going to be able to figure it out, so it’s private. Basic.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. In fact-

John Williams:

So you can review it without anybody else seeing it.

Paula Williams:

Right. We have an upcoming podcast, that’s going to talk about our website refresh process and how that works. We’ll go into that in nauseating detail. Right?

John Williams:

I’m looking forward to this.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.

John Williams:

We’ll see you next time.

 

 

Other articles about Aviation Web Design:

ABCI Responsive Web Design Process

Aviation Website Not Attracting Customers

How to Get Attention on the Web

Best Aviation Websites for Marketing

Aviation Website Design – What Works?

Three Aviation Website Design Mistakes that Cost You Sales

Question of the Week – What Do You Think of the Free or Cheap Website Builders like Weebly, Wix for Aviation Websites?

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