Having a professional, presentable, easy-to-use website design is necessary to show your company to potential customers and present it in a way that best reflects who you really are.
When websites first showed up on the map, they were very basic and no one really thought about what visitors feel, how they would look through a site, or where site owners wanted visitors to end up. Remember all the animated GIF’s and blinking construction barriers when your site was under construction?
Back then everyone had slower processors on their computers, and only a 14.4 modem connection. Presently, bandwidth limitations have decreased and there is a ton of multimedia content on the web. Video that streams upon page load is now possible. Web page design has paved the way for smaller businesses to compete with the larger ones. You no longer have to “appear” like a mom & pop shop. With the development of better websites, customers constantly have positive responses to the designs.Clean Design
Your website should never have pointless extras, loud gimmicks, or elaborate items. Don’t try to fit everything you can think of on the site or put every product you have on one page. Thinking Flash? Think where it would be important and if it will be helpful, or “hurtful” to your visitors. If you are unaware of the saying that less is more, now is the time to know it. People who visit your website will not want to be bombarded with information or read through a bunch of clutter. Think about web sites that are extremely successful, and how there is a limited amount of information on them. Google’s homepage is just about all white space, and they are the top search engine. Google is so successful because of this; they realized what consumers wanted and applied that to their page.
Easy to Use
One way to keep your site looking clean is by having user-friendly navigation. Even great-looking web pages can have impractical site navigation systems. When people experience this, they will get frustrated easily and move on to another site. If you don’t want this to happen on your site, then have user-friendly navigation that is consistent. What this means is that all links on different pages should show up in the same spot and be in the same order on every single page in your site. If there are a lot of pages on your website, you can put something like a drop-down menu to help users.
Once your website is clean and easy to navigate, how do you make it look stunning? One thing that can really make a site look spectacular is high-quality photos. Don’t just pick any photo though, it must be related to your content. You also need to prevent your web pages from being cluttered by images.
Content and Calls to Action
Keep your content interesting and to the point. Remember that your website is a brochure for potential customers. Keep each page relevant and to the point. Also allow people to contact you. You would not believe how many times we come across websites that have no clear call to action, and no outlet for a potential customer to easily contact you. Remember that if your website was a 1page postcard you would have clear information and a way for a prospect to contact you. This is true of your website as well. Make each page that same 1 page postcard.
Keywords. You use Google or Yahoo every day and use simple “keywords and phrases” to find what your looking for. Think about the terms that are relative to your products, services and add them to your content on each page. This will help with basic search engine optimization and allow your website to be found easier when Google or Yahoo visits to index your site.
Interactive and Video
It is becoming more and more affordable and within reach to integrate interactive video to your website. One of the best little gadgets to come out in 2008 that I have told every customer to get is the FlipCam. This little camera allows you to shoot video, do simple editing with on-camera software and has a USB drive that plugs right in to your computer. Shoot, edit and upload to YouTube, MySpace or save to your desktop, or compress for an email. Such a great little tool to highlight your products, how they work, and services you offer.
What’s even better is that you can upload to YouTube, optimize with tags and descriptions and then pull the code to display the video in your website or blog. You get two separate places for people to watch your video and another piece of real estate to attract business.
See this nifty little tool in action on one of our customer’s website talking about basic consumer and commercial heating and cooling tips. See? It’s simple, and can apply to every business.
Utilizing these simple tips should help you out a ton when considering your new website design.