The web is not strictly about design, its about marketing. It is about information and not entertainment. It's about results not awards. It's about communicating with those whose needs you must satisfy in order to succeed.
10 Signs of a good website
A Web site that looks great but is vague and unclear about what it is trying to convey to the visitor is not very effective. Before one graphic is created on a Web site, you need to define who your target audience is and define what their needs are. A Web site is a coupling of the goals of the business and the needs of the visitors. The focus of the site becomes the satisfaction of both the goals and the needs.
A Compelling First Page
Actually every page has to be compelling because visitors may enter by any page. But certainly the page that a visitor first lands on must quickly satisfy the reason that the visitor came here. If they are looking for information about video production for example don't give them the history of movies from the 1890's forward. Get straight to the point.
Ease of Navigation
Web sites require careful link architecture and on every page, Web site visitors have to know what their options are and they need this information very quickly. If your visitors can't locate easily the information they desire, they will quickly move on - even if the information is really there! Navigation should be easy to see. Thats why Let's Do It! websites employ easily located text based menu items. Icons and graphics can add visual interest, but they may also add confusion.
A Call to Action
You want to achieve something right? Make sure you give the visitor the opportunity to 'take this further' by emailing you, phoning you, subscribing to your newsletter, buying something, downloading a report etc. This should be on every page. As you design the page ask yourself whats next? and then answer that. Especially important is an email harvesting device (usually a newsletter subscription) because such will give you the opportunity to actively market to these people rather than waiting for them to hit your site again.
Web sites which offer impressive graphics naturally attract and retain Web "surfers," especially since there are many poorly designed Web sites on the Internet. You need good graphics which will portray your company's "image" as effectively as possible. But don't sacrifice utility for design.
Since the cost of creating a good Web site can be quite reasonable, when compared with other forms of advertising, there is no reason not to provide plenty of useful information about the products and services you provide. Studies show that people choose information 76% of the time they access a Web site. Satisfy this desire for information and your website will work better for you.
Some people seem to be afraid to make contact easy. Always have a contact us page and give them as many means to contact you as possible. Phone number, postal address, mobile and even the email address. (Note: you may want to encrypt the email address so automatic spamming spiders don't get hold of your email address)
Up to Date
If you are hoping that Web visitors will come back again and again, you should update the information on your Web site frequently. A "What's New" page or a "tip of the month" section provides a reason for Web visitors to bookmark your site and return. The more they visit, the more they will receive your message. The Let's Do It web site makes updating very simple for you.
A good Web site is more than just an electronic version of your company catalog or brochure, visitors are interested in ways of becoming involved with the material you provide. An on-line order form, an interactive discussion about a related issue, or some other way to interact with your material is essential.
Quick to Load
Most Web surfers access the Internet through a modem, which receives data at a limited rate. Web sites which contain large graphics and special effects often consume large amounts of data and take a long time to load onto a Web user's computer. In order to have a visually appealing Web site which also loads quickly, you should use techniques to minimize and optimize the size of your Web files without sacrificing their quality.
And here are 4 common mistakes to avoid
Getting Your Nephew To Do It
Most nephews don't know a lot about marketing. A website is not just a website - it is one of the most powerful images of your business. Would you entrust that heavy responsibility to someone who knows how to put a website together but knows nothing about marketing.
Any dunce can construct a static website these days, software makes it very easy. But if you have a specific purpose in mind and want to actually achieve something, go to a professional.
You wouldn't let your nephew design and build your retail store or restaurant or spa or office if he's not already an architect/designer/builder? Would you actually let your nephew create the first impression of your business that your web site makes on all those people who check you out on line before they contact you?
Find someone who knows about web design on a professional level and checkout their work. Unless you're a professional Web designer and programmer, don't waste your time and money trying to create this yourself. Maintain yes, but don't create.
Your website should be consistent in design throughout all pages. You should not have a picture of palm trees as the background for one page and pictures of Egyptian pyramids on the next. Your website should flow seamlessly like a software program, not like a composite of 20 different sites piled on top of one another.
Your font style and size should be the same on every page. To achieve this we at Let's Do It! use a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) to control the font sizes, colours etc.
Beware of using “free webmaster tools” for your guest book, forum, or other site components. Such services often steal your hits, rob your traffic, and lower your Page rank in the search engines. They do this because your visitors must leave your site to sign your guest book, etc. When your pages are indexed by the search engines, they will not be listed with your domain. Not to mention the fact that they’re usually ugly.
With a Let's Do It! site and it's easy to use Content Management Systems, you are covered for most componentry you would want. And any components added to the site are fitted to the style of the site. This helps to keep your visitors on your site.
Not everyone uses the same web browser. Just because your site looks good on your computer does not mean it looks good on others. Download Firefox, Netscape and a few other browsers. See how your site looks on them. Then set your monitor to a different resolution and try again. Make sure that you are not losing possible clients because your website looks strange in their browser.
If you are going to put forth the effort to own a website, you might as well make it look professional. Avoiding these common mistakes in web design is a good start.
Just in case you wanted more things to avoid, have a look at this list
- Poor load time
- Poor overall appearance
- No contact information
- Poor content
- Poor navigation
- Broken links and graphics
- Large slow loading graphics
- Too many graphics
- Pages scrolling to oblivion
- Multiple use of animated graphics
- Animated bullets
- Too many graphic and/or line dividers
- Busy, distracting backgrounds
- Multiple banners and buttons
- Poor use of frames
- Large fonts
- Pop up messages
- Poor use of tables
- Poor organization
- Different backgrounds on each page
- Over powering music set to autoplay
- Too much advertising
- Large Welcome banners
- Multiple colored text
- Text difficult to read
- No Meta tags
- Multiple use of different fonts
- Under construction signs
- Scrolling text in the status bar
- Large scrolling text across the page
- Poor use of mouse over effects
If you would like to avoid the steep learning curve and get a great site up soon contact us on +61 7 5571 5335.