Local v International Web Design

Following the popularity of our white paper, Web Design – How to Design Your Website, we thought we’d turn our focus to local web design. What better way to do this than compare a Tunbridge Wells company with that of an international site in the same field? Whether you’re big or small, global or Tunbridge Wells-based, the design of your website is critical to how your clients perceive you, how often your leads convert and, indeed, how many leads you get in the first place. Here’s how a local company started ranking number one on Google through effective web design.


London Nail Company website screenshot 2015
London Nail Company website screenshot 2015


A Web Design Recap

Mobile: The London Nail Co.’s new site is mobile responsive
Mobile: The London Nail Co.’s new site is mobile responsive


As a quick reminder before launching into our case studies, let’s recap what’s important in modern website design.

Not only does the site need to reflect the interests of the company’s audience, it also needs to abide by Google’s omnipresent authority – the algorithm! Sites need to be intuitive, user-friendly, and encouraging of low bounce-rates. Since April 2015 it’s also become critical that sites are mobile responsive, and page load speeds are needing to drop more and more.

So, with that covered, how does this translate to specific rules for local companies?


Local Web Design

When designing a website for a local business, the responsible parties need to keep all of the above in mind, but have a few rules they need to cover alongside it all. Local audiences are different than users browsing an international organisation’s website.

Firstly, they need it to feel personal. Not a ‘we all know each other because you live next to me’ personal, but rather in a ‘we’re not a corporation’ style. Secondly, it needs to appeal to a tighter demographic.

Big brands have the luxury of wider target audiences – local businesses rarely do. Trade services and the like are obviously exempt, but even cafes have a restricted sight: family-friendly? Sustainability focus? Art café? This all needs to be kept in mind.

So, web design rules apply, but with a sprinkling of local personality and guidance in the mix.


Our Two Case Sites: London Nail Company / Maybelline

For our examples, we’re going to use a company that we here at Hoxton worked with on a full re-branding project, and the international cosmetics giant Maybelline.

Being the local business it is, London Nail Co. (LNC) needed to emphasise their place in the community, their respect amongst clients, and their approachability.

Maybelline, meanwhile, can focus on their dominance of the industry, their known brand, and their wide appeal around the world. From a web design perspective, Maybelline have nothing to prove because their brand can survive their site.

Therefore, LNC has a far harder job, which is something a lot of local businesses find when commencing their online journey.


LNC about us web page
LNC about us web page



In the screen above, we can see LNC plainly demonstrating their part in the community – a photo of their storefront, on a page that lists their employees with a personal bio.

Maybelline (below) on the other hand leads their ‘about’ page with a model-photograph, and a first line reading ‘Maybelline New York is the number one global cosmetics brand and is available in over 129 countries worldwide.

This is an aspect of web design that is easily forgotten. Content needs to stay in the mind of the designer as it impacts, and is impacted by, the look and feel of the whole webpage, which in effect plays a part in search engine optimisation efforts.



Maybelline website
Maybelline website


Another difference between the two sites is that of the blog. Maybelline has an established, deep blog with loads of content aimed at encouraging fan engagement. This is a marketing tactic for bigger companies in today’s 24/7 world known as building a brand community, which can help enforce (should we say encourage?) customer loyalty.

The Tunbridge Wells site, on the other hand, is at the beginning of their online journey, and a blog is not a priority at the moment. In the near future this may hold more importance as they take the next step in the digital world, but establishing that initial connection online is more important.


The Process

To round off our look at web design from a local viewpoint, we’ll give you an overview of how Hoxton is approaching our work with LNC. This is an ongoing relationship in which we are heavily invested, and are enjoying seeing the benefits come to fruition.

When they approached us, LNC didn’t have a website and only sparingly utilised their Facebook account. Their primary aims therefore were to build a website that would rank well for the area and deliver more leads.

This project was more than just a web build, however: it involved rebranding, audience targeting, making sure that we knew what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to achieve it. All of this was critical as this is obligatory knowledge for a local web design, as well as considering the owners wanted to establish LNC as the most recognisable beauty brand in the area.

To start with, a change in brand colours was necessary to brighten the logo and give it a more dynamic, fresh and modern feel – here was born the green ‘Co.’ in the name – a simple but effective change.

The launch of the new domain address ‘.company’ online also presented a great opportunity to incorporate the name into the domain, and so we will soon be updating the site to LondonNail.Company

The next aspect was to ensure a merging of the brand philosophy of moving with the times with an online strategy that demonstrated reliability from a local source.

The gallery online, therefore, incorporates Instagram photos from the account set up for the employees to upload a constant stream of demonstrative images for followers to see and share. The site includes rotating reviews from happy customers to present a human face with satisfied results.

This integration of a dynamic look and feel with personalised, local touches like the storefront imagery and employee access to social accounts is what is resulting in this web design ranking number one in Google for ‘nails Tunbridge Wells’.

The takeaway: combine obvious web design aspects with local audience targeting (and matching local SEO work), and you’ll see the same success LNC is heading towards in the online world.