by Victor J. McCoy
Your web site should provide a visually appealing resume of your business that defines your brand. When people search the web for your products or services what should they perceive, as opposed to what are they perceiving? How does your website present your company as opposed to your competitors? What is the first impression that you would like for them to perceive or receive?
Here are some of our basic design tips for your website:
1. The design begins with the target audience in mind. Here is where knowing your customer/client is very important. Whatever your type of business keep the navigation simple and easily visible. Each page of your website should focus on what the client will need to know while deciding if they will do business with you, having never met you –in some cases. But, you will find that most of the traffic and decisions to purchase from you will come from those you’ve met. This depends on the type of business you operate.
2. Correctly develop the content that you will need to have on your website. Stay away from making it sound like a sales pitch or making it too personal – only about you. Once again, this depends on the type of business you are operating. For example, if you are an entertainer you will want as much information about yourself, credits, and coming events as necessary. If you are selling a service you may want to list some of your credits but focus on the benefits of the product/service and the reason why doing business is a great thing as opposed to your competitors. Your content should answer these basic questions - who are you, what do you do, how to contact you.
3. The color scheme of your website should mimic your brand colors, if they have already been established. You can study the psychology of colors to get an idea of what may work best for your business if you have not determined this. This information can be found online. Avoid over doing the design. Keep it Simple. Don't mix and match colors. Use a design wheel to organize your color scheme. Your webs designer should have one.
4. Picture selection is very important. Will you use stock photography or pictures from what you have acquired? They must have the quality for optimal online viewing. Your web designer can help in the selection.
5. The contact information button should be easily recognizable and conveniently located throughout your website. Make sure you response is immediate. You may want to provide a map to your location(s) from various directions. It helps people to visualize your location.
6. If your site is large with lots of content, add a search function. Some search engines like Google will give you a free web search and the code you can just plug in to your site.
7. Avoid overloading your pages. Web pages that a visitor must scroll down more than 2 times should be broken up into separate sections. Visitors jut won't read that much.
8. All pages should contain Meta keywords and descriptions, and descriptive page titles. Meta tags are contained in the HTML code. Go to Wikipedia for examples and how to's.
9. Avoid using Flash intro pages. I know some believe different, but in my opinion Flash intros are a distraction and a detractor from your web site. Most readers want information not flash entertainment.
10. Don't let your site get stale. Keep adding to it in an organized way. Introduce new articles, press releases, pictures, new training, etc. A web site needs to be continually updated. Do not let a month go by without updating it or making some type of change. And, please do not go years without a face-lift to your website – major or minor.