When a potential customer enters into a brick and mortar store you have staff available to answer questions and engage the client in dialogue. The longer they browse in the store the greater the potential for purchase. The same holds true for websites.
Design is a crucial element of any webpage. This is truly where the little things mean a lot. Hits are not enough, although driving traffic to your site is very important. Good webpage design turns a browser into a customer, a business prospect into a client, and a proposal into a sale.
Stick to the Basics: Always keep your pages simple and to the point. This does not mean boring. Incredible graphics and introductions, and poorly designed graphics can cause long load times. The 8-second rule works great. If a visitor to your site cannot load your page in this time they will move on. At the most, a page should never take more than 20 seconds to load. Using all connection speeds to check it will help determine the load process.
Have a Well-Designed Page Layout: Do not cram too much on a page. All the pages should be neat, organized, and easy to navigate. Like a regular paper document, there should be enough “white space” so that a browser can properly read the content and locate navigation buttons and menus. When a visitor searches for a specific topic to find you, and they arrive at your page to find that topic, they will leave if there are no means to navigate.
Incorporate a Theme: Settle on a visual theme and stick to it. Graphics, fonts, content, colors, and borders should all be within a theme that provides an identifier for your business. If your company’s logo incorporates a flag and the colors are red, white and blue, your webpage should not have graphics that use orange, green or black.
The 3 Clicks Rule: If you incorporate navigation buttons into your page design, a visitor should never be more than 3 clicks away from his/her goal. When designing a webpage, always keep the visitor’s needs a priority and your goals second. Although you would like to lead the visitor through several different pages while taking them to their navigation result, more than 3 clicks will cause frustration, and the visitor will go elsewhere. By keeping this priority structure in mind, you can incorporate your goals while providing for the needs of your visitor.
Take the Easy Road Home: Every webpage should have a button or link to take your visitor to the home page while visiting other pages throughout the entire site.
Content Publishing Know How: Remember that all content on your pages must fit within the popular Internet medium. Something on a paper document must be edited and formatted for publishing on the Web. Webpages must be condensed and to the point. Website visitors do not want to scroll endlessly to read a rambling editorial or sales presentation. Content that is useful, valuable, informative, educational, or just plain entertaining can attract and retain an audience better than anything else.
Go Professional: If you are designing a website for your business and can afford it, hire or contract professional writers, editors, and a page designer. Professional editors will ensure that your information is timely, correct, and appropriate for your audience. Professional writers will provide reader friendly content, industry contacts, and will keep your pages up to date on the latest trends with news. Professional webpage designers are worth every penny spent and more importantly worth the investment.
Your World-Wide Audience: If your business has global dealings, shouldn’t you have your content in several languages? This will allow all of your prospects to feel comfortable. Your audience may be disabled. This is why it is important to incorporate audio, visual, and video options so that a variety of people can access your content. People who are colorblind have a particularly rough time with webpages, and this condition is more prevalent than many realize.
Be Careful Not To Offend: Color is important in the success of any webpage. However, colors mean different things to different cultures. If your business deals with several different cultures, be sure to research the importance of colors and their meanings. This includes the colors of fonts, graphics, and borders.
Give the Page a Sting Affect: A webpage that has nothing of value for free. Example; content, resources, or expert opinion is nothing more than a sales flyer. Most of these types are discarded without a second glance. A good rule for layout and design is that 50 percent of your content should only offer free news, resources, or opinion in your business industry. This can give a stingy teaser affect causing your visitors to become clients.
The Domain Name Game: Spend the money to register your own domain name. To do otherwise is like answering the phone in your office by another business’s name. Identify your business by registering your own domain name. This may seem obvious, but having a Facebook page is secondary to owning your own domain name, and should only be viewed as another marketing tool.
Only One Choice of Purchasing: If your webpage offers products or services, always offer secure credit card ordering using more than one method to purchase. If visitors find only one way to purchase, there is a 50 percent chance of leaving without clicking further. Supplying this option makes visitors feel comfortable and most importantly secure when performing money transactions.
Old News, No Changes: It is amazing how many websites do not update their information regularly. Why should a customer return to your page to find no change or an update have been made? Smart designers provide content areas that visitors know will be updated regularly for news and information. Some designers place a rotating content code so when the page is re-loaded there will be new content displayed, keeping regular customers coming back.
Being Unavailable: Many webpages forget to include something as simple as contact information. Visitors should always be able to easily find the same information that would be on your business card for following up with you. Contact forms work the best along with contact name, mailing address, and phone numbers. This will also gain the visitors trust in your site.
Ignoring Marketing Opportunities: Not offering a free email newsletter with news and updates is a huge mistake. Putting a simple subscription form on your pages can build a database of prospective business clients and contacts. This allows you to build a relationship with your subscribers and include specials or latest product or service information.
Not Doing Research: Before you design your pages you should research your prospective clients. Know their needs, wants, and what would attract them to your page over and over again. If you have a page dedicated to automobiles, offer links to other sites, videos, and profiles of various automobile classics, editorial featuring the larger or more sophisticated models etc. Offer links to anyone you partner with, updates on the latest trends and news, magazines, content from relevant associations.
Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Presentation is the key. Nothing is more unprofessional than finding a page with these errors. Many online companies overwhelm with disorganized content, shoddy appearance, and unnecessary graphics. With the Internet, information as the merchandising catalyst is the whole point of your site, but content must be constructed in a strategic way that both welcomes and educates customers, while enticing them to read on.
Incorrect Information: This is why there are so many disclaimers found on the Web. It is highly recommended not to publish information on your site that is not positive. Doing so could result in creating a lack of trust from visitors or a lawsuit from a company or person that feels maligned.
Technical Difficulties: Make sure every link you design actually takes you where it says it will. Also ensure that all of your navigation links and buttons work correctly. Visitors can become lost and frustrated with a webpage that does not keep its promises.
Being Too Creative: There is a fine line between creativity and chaos. Personal webpage design can incorporate the fun to the funky colors, graphics, and special images. However, businesses must remember that perception is everything. Graphics should be appropriate and in moderation. Stick to no more than three colors; your best bet is those identified with your business.
By following these tips, your webpages will be informative, professional, and well- organized. Not only will you and your business have a web presence in the marketplace, you will be represented in a manner that will attract and retain your target audience.