Friday, September 2, 2011

6 Keys to Having a Great Website

Your website is easily the most important aspect if your creative business presence online. Nowadays, everyone is expected to have one, and if you don’t you’re probably missing out.

A lot of people think that just having a website is enough. This is one of the worst assumptions you can make! In fact, if you have a really poor website, this can reflect even worse on your company than not having one at all.

Here are 6 keys to having a great website:

  1. Simple design. Yes, it would be great if we could all hire a designer to create a beautiful layout with the perfect color scheme and elegant graphics. However, regardless of whether you’re shelling out the big bucks or just making do with a template, you want to keep the layout and design simple. Choose neutral and soft colors and stay away from anything too garish, this will just be an eyesore and make them want to leave.

  1. Simple layout. Don’t overcrowd the page with too many elements, otherwise your visitors will be confused and not know what to click on. Use drop-down menus if you have a lot of content. Put things in categories that it makes sense for them to be in. Guide them gently towards where you want them to go by lighting up that path for them and giving them a few simple choices. Make it easy for them to decide where to go next.

  1. Stick to the standards. Put things where people expect to find them. Don’t hide your contact page under “About Me” because you think it makes sense to put it there; it may make sense to you but when someone wants to contact you, the first place they are going to look is the top right corner of your menu bar. If it’s not there, they may be determined enough to search your website to find it, but more often than not they will just get frustrated and click off. Potential best client of your life just went to another site.

  1. Keep the design uniform across all of your pages. Don’t have the design jump around so that it’s one way on this page and different on another. Just when they thought they were getting the hang of navigating your site, you confused (and probably frustrated) them. Make sure your main menu is on every single page and looks the same so that they can navigate easily.

  1. Know your goal. Before you even get started, ask yourself: what do you want people to do when they visit your page? Do you want them to contact you? Do you want them to buy from you? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? It may be all of these things, but know what the #1 thing is. When you know what your goal is, you can subtly direct them towards that throughout all of your site. If you want them to contact you, it may be as simple as having your contact info at the top of every page. If you want them to buy from you, use a standard shopping cart and make it easy for them to see what you have and make purchases. If it is to sign up for your newsletter, you probably want to have a sign-up on most of your pages and an individual page as well that lists all of the features and benefits of signing up.

  1. Tell your story, page by page. You’ve probably heard the term “branding.” What’s your brand? What’s your story? Know the story that you are telling and weave it throughout your website in little pieces. Give them all the background on your “About” page; share testimonials and nuggets of information throughout your other pages, know who you are and what you are sharing with the world. Your website should reflect that.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Informative and well written. Thank you for sharing.