The internet is an awesome place to display creativity, and that creativity can get your website noticed. If you are looking to promote your business, you should consider the appeal of your website to the masses; that is how you will be presented to the world, after all. While web design can be performed by virtually anyone who dedicates the time, enthralling, eye-catching web design takes a little more skill and finesse.
You have probably scanned the internet, looking for a product or service when you have come across a website that draws you in long enough to click through the pages and read the content. This is the goal of the web designer. What makes one website for tires different than another? The content and design.
When putting together a website for your business, it is important to know your goals. Will you have a patient portal for people to schedule medical or dental appointments on your website? Will you offer a shopping cart feature so people can place items in the cart as they go and then pay online? You will want to discuss your needs with your web designer, as well as your content, photos, and any other important features. Knowing what you need to be successful is the first step!
Note that your website should be user-friendly because, let’s face it, most people don’t have a long attention span and a difficult website will send them to your competition faster than a bad Yelp! review. People don’t like to read; they scan. Instant gratification is the norm in this day and age. Readers are looking for viable information and if they don’t find it quickly, they will be on to the next site. Engaging copy and striking visual content are a few elements to get people to stay and poke around your site, but there’s more to a successful website than that. The overall layout of the website will determine its success. For instance, imagine you have fantastic content, but it is listed in a column format, in French Script text. While you may think it gives your website unique flair, many people will not even bother to view the content because they are turned off by the presentation. Keep it simple; let the content and visual aspects speak for themselves!
You must also consider that many users will be viewing your website from their phones, so the presentation must be viable for smaller screens. Bright colors, bold lettering and a simple format are good in both small screen and large screen formats. While you don’t necessarily have to be tied to a particular web design template—it is your website, after all—they can come in handy when putting together your site. If you do not make your own website, you can work with the web designer to ensure you project your vision. He or she will give you tips and suggestions on building your website to your satisfaction.
A good website designer knows that content placement is key since most people scan content instead of reading it. The basic principle is that the important information be based on the reading patterns of most people—that is, left to right and up to down. That means your logo, key image, focused content and call to action (i.e., making a purchase) are arranged in either an F shape or a Z shape on the page based on the standard viewing patterns of readers. Knowing where people will look helps you place the content accordingly. Once you have engaged the reader, you can lead them where you want with other fonts, bold lettering, varied font size, spacing, and highlighting. You’ll want to keep the number of fonts you use to a minimum, so as not to overwhelm your guests. Plus, we have all been to websites where the home page is a shocking lime green or has a busy background and you immediately forget about the content because you are so consumed by the color/pattern choices; obviously a rookie move in website design! Like your font choices, limit your colors to one or two, and while you want them bold and eye-catching, you don’t want them to be blinding!
Photos or images are a great way to keep the viewer entertained, but don’t add pictures just to add pictures; make sure they are relevant to your website. Too many images can work against you, so make sure your content is well selected. Remember, too, that any image you may use might be subject to copyright laws, so you will have to purchase them for use on your website. You can also use original photographs or images and avoid the additional charge.
Make sure the website is easy to understand and maneuver through; people will not stay on a website if they cannot immediately determine what it offers! Let’s face it; people are lazy and they do not want to have to do any more work than is necessary to find what they are looking for. It should state simply your objective and be easy to use. Have you ever gone to a website that requires you to provide your email address just to view the website? Annoying, right? Why would you want to provide your information before you know what a site has to offer you? Granted, the website owner may get additional information from those willing to send the info, but there is no guarantee the person will ever use their services or buy their product. Let your reader determine what you have to offer and then give them the opportunity to join your community.
The goal of any successful business website is to make the reader want to stay and ultimately use your business or service. Your website should easily convey its intention, and the navigation will be clear, and the writing concise. If your website is too involved or cumbersome, your reader will quickly hit the back button and look for another website. Work with a web designer who can effectively reveal your business and leave the reader wanting more!