by Riley Cleary
If you’re considering having a website created for your business or maybe you’re not happy with your current one and want to redo it, read on. You can use these as a recipe to make sure your website looks professional and actually gives your clients what they want.
1. The world is not black and white, your website shouldn’t be either.
A common mistake I see with self made websites is that creators aren’t confident enough to use color, they think black and white is a clean, professional, and safe choice. While black and white have their place in web development, the problem is new visitors to the site won’t know what to look at much like looking at static on a TV, it’s overwhelmingly bland.
The solution to this, in a perfect world, is to get a branding portfolio made for you that shows you what colors to use and gives you all the right Icons and logos to make your website and Branding really pop. If you can’t get a branding portfolio then start by finding two or three colors that look decent together and sprinkling them into the website. As long as you avoid making large sections of text colored, and remember that color draws the eye, you’re in good shape to make a more attractive website.
2. Put your most sought after content in the easiest place to find
In web development we use a term called “above the fold” which refers to everything you see on a webpage before you start scrolling down. Things that are above the fold are typically very easy for visitors to find so It just makes sense to put your most important information here. If your business is a store and you know 20% of people come to your website just to check your hours then you better have your hours displayed prominently above the fold. If your selling something on your website and all the details couldn’t possibly fit above the fold then you should use what is called a “call to action” button or a “hook button”. A call to action button is typically right below a brief description of your product and the button takes you further into the site where the user can read more and make the purchase.
3. In order to listen to your clientele there needs be a way for them to talk to you
Customer feedback is extremely important, it makes customers feel heard, and it helps you make adjustments that overall can make you operate better. To start it’s important to just have a plain simple “Contact” page where a visitor can contact you about anything, maybe a product or maybe business inquiry. If you have a contact page like this, that’s excellent but we can take it a step further because more is better. If you have a product catalogue put a small “Product Questions” form in the aside section, this feedback will give you a log of sorts where customers had trouble understanding something which translates to an easy checklist of things you can improve on.
4. Don’t make assumptions about your user base
Your website may be called “SuperAwesomeCoffeeBlog.com" but you can’t assume your user knows your site is a blog about good coffee, maybe they didn’t read the domain name. In the above scenario you could and should put the site title in the nav bar and have the nav bar fixed to the top of the screen. Solutions aren’t always that simple though, most users will not read in complete detail, the average web user scans sections of text looking for keywords before they read it in earnest. So to design your website in a way that doesn’t make assumptions about your users you first need to identify how important the information is they should know. If the information is very important show it a lot or in one place that’s impossible to ignore such as the title in the nav bar example. When in doubt imagine your designing a website that your great grandmother would need to comfortably use.
5. Content is King and you need to keep getting more of it
Search engine optimization is a topic that a dozen blog posts would have trouble summing up, in a nutshell it’s the process of making sure your website is easy to find from a search engine. One big factor in making sure your website is found easily is constantly changing content, Blogs do this by adding a new blog post weekly, stores do this by changing and expanding inventory. As nice as It would be to create a website and never touch it again, that’s not how the system works, search engine algorithms want to present users with websites that are always evolving. To accomplish this you need to figure out how you can add or change content on a weekly or monthly basis. This can be hard if you don’t run a blog or sell product, but there’s always something that can be done. You can show and cycle through customer testimonials, show a recipe made with food from your store, show upcoming events within your business. You have to be creative but it’s a necessity to stay competitive and clients really enjoy seeing that dynamic content.