Have you been involved with the building of your website and engaged a web developer to realise your vision, but only later finding out some basic elements were missed out or not even discussed? Below I am going to discuss a few elements that cover off some practical and business focused tips. Hopefully these suggestions will help you think about some often overlooked steps in the initial design phase of your next website.
Note: The below was not written from technical perspective, rather from a strategic, practical point of view to help business owners think about what elements are important for their website. There are always technical factors to think about when designing, developing and managing a website that are beyond the scope of this blog.
Colours, Fonts etc.
When looking at colours for your website, of course it should fit in with your corporate branding, logo etc. However, you should also be mindful of how it will look to viewers. Choose background colours that are not distracting or make certain elements hard to read. Sometimes I see websites where the designer (or lack thereof) has chosen a range of different fonts or one that just does not do well on the web, making the site look like a primary school project. Unless you are or have a quality designer, stick to Arial, which for many is the default font.
Phone Number Clearly Displayed – Don’t be Shy.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find the phone number when you need it, only to discover that it is hidden in the footer in a light, slightly faded font, or tucked away in a not so easy to find ‘contact us’ page. If you have a phone number, and you don’t mind talking to potential clients, then don’t be shy about it! Have it clearly displayed on every page (many place it on the top right hand side of every page). You want to be able to have it visible so that whenever someone has a question or needs some final clarification about your service, you are only a phone call away. The risk if you don’t have it clearly displayed, could be a lost revenue. The equivalent in the Bricks and mortar world is not having staff on the floor when clients are browsing, they will most likely walk out if no one is there to help them when trying to make a decision.
Quick Enquiry Form
Similar to the above, the goal of most websites, is to remove any barriers to communication. Have a quick enquiry form clearly displayed, above the line if possible, that is in the part of the screen space that is immediately seen by the visitor once they land on your website, without having to scroll down. Try to keep this form as short as possible, long forms may scare potential clients away as they may not want to give over too much information at early stages. Name and phone number or email is bare minimum, but a message box allows them to give a little more information what they are enquiring about.
Clear, High Quality Imagery
If your business relies on visual appeal, the imagery you select cannot be underestimated. Whether we like it or not, we often judge a book by its cover, first impressions count and the list of cliché’s go on, but at the end of the day, most viewers can tell the difference between photos taken with an iPhone or professionally shot and making your offer all the more enticing.
Well Written And Purposeful Content
Although many people think no one reads what’s on your website, the reality is that many people still do, especially if they are doing a moderate level of research. Often it’s not what you say, but how you say it and this applies just as much online as it does anywhere else. It’s worth reading up on copywriting for the web and direct response (check out www.copyblogger.com), or search for a proven website content writer. A side benefit of well written content, is that it will most likely keep you in the Google good books and not transgress any Search Engine Optimisation parameters.
Call To Actions
Call to Actions are often features, benefits, or unique selling propositions that aim to stimulate a response from the viewer, e.g. Call 24/7 = call us anytime. Enquire online for a Free Quote, Book Now and Save 25% Instantly, Buy today and Get free shipping. Ask yourself, what does your target market value and use this insight to create targeted call to actions and use these simultaneously or rotate them as befits the business goal.
Similar to Call to Actions, Trust Icons are images or icons displayed on a page that help to engender trust in the visitor and communicate a sense of unique value of choosing your company:
Testimonials are not a must for all business types and will depend on the nature of your business and competitive environment. They can, however, help to enhance your credibility and trust in your specific industry, as potential clients can call these past clients to verify your service. This also helps in creating a human element to your service if they see established brands, companies, people that use your goods or services.
Responsive & Mobile Friendly
As people are browsing via a range of device sizes, from smart phones, up to laptops or wide span monitors, your site needs to be responsive to different screen dimensions, so that the design can meet your websites objectives even from the smart phone.
Don’t just build a website to keep up with the Jones’. Treat your website like any other meaningful part of your business. See it preforming a specific role for your business, whether it is simply a dynamic online version of your brochure or business card, or the only presence you have to reach your clients such as an e-commerce store. Ask yourself, if my website were an employee, what would their job description be, what their specific tasks and responsibility would be. Once you can answer those questions, then begin the planning and building of your site, because once you know what you want the site to do, it makes it so much easier to build with strategic and profitable purposes in mind. And now you can move to the fun part, designing your vision!
What’s your favourite web design tip?