Taste. Taste is subjective - what one person holds up as a wonderful example of art, another may call trash. We all have different opinions when it comes down to style but websites are a mixture of style and substance. There are easily identifiable ways to measure how good a website is and if it’s holding up it’s side of the bargain. How? Read on dear readers. Read on..
Small Business owners and Entrepreneurs are busy people. They don’t have the time to carefully consider everything they do - after all, they’re priority is to turn a profit and not draw out wireframes, commercial goals, sales funnels and the like. Websites need to be well planned to be effective and a large part of this is to set a purpose for the website. Now, we’ve seen plenty of websites for small businesses which fail to have a clear objective and this is usually because someone hasn’t had the opportunity to sit down and think of -
What they expect to get out of the website?
What website content should they include?
What distinct message do they want website visitors to go away with?
How will the site be built and maintained and importantly, updated?
Without identifying the purpose of the website, it will inevitably become a bit of a rambling mess in the end. Without specifically knowing what you want to achieve, it will lack direction, the content will likely be scattered/unfocussed and the chances of making a big positive impact on your visitors will diminish quicker than a glass of water in the sunshine.
We’re not talking self-actualisation here - we’re talking Content. If your website has a distinct Purpose then you’ve made a great start and your website hopefully has a well defined structure to it or ‘flow’.
Building good looking and impactful websites is an exciting process for a creative person - you can achieve absolutely anything you set out to achieve given the appropriate time (and if you’re an agency like us, money). It’s easy to get distracted with building in capabilities and features in an attempt to make it look exciting and modern but it can come at a cost to content. Content should inform the visitors succinctly what your business is doing and how it’s doing it and perhaps how it’s done it before. It should do this clearly, persuasively and articulately to encapsulate the interest of the visitor and encourage them to continue clicking around your website or picking up that phone of theirs.
If your website is an e-commerce site then you’ll need to clearly communicate to visitors what can be purchased and why it should be done. If your website is a Blog then it should communicate to new visitors what the blog is all about and what types of content they’ll receive by subscribing. Service providers need clarity when describing the details to their visitors.
Any website needs to be usable - if it’s not usable, your visitors will abandon you within the first few seconds (web people are impatient!). Design and appearance will never replace the need for usability but all three will compliment one another.
Usability relies on a design practice which makes it simple for the website visitors to navigate the website. Fundamentally, it’s about serving up your website in a way in which your visitors expect. E-commerce websites need to have an effective
search capability and blog websites with lots of text will need to provide excellent readability, good navigation between articles etc.
You may think that this means all websites end up looking the same but in actuality, it simply provides a wireframe in which creatives can go wild in whilst maintaining usability ‘best-practice’.
Who’s the most important people in your world? Prospective Customers! All of the people who visit your website are potential customers and it’s important that your website is designed around their expectations and needs. Unfortunately, business operators and entrepreneurs can design their website around themselves - spending illicit amounts of time describing their products and using terminology only ‘insiders' would want to know.
Instead, your website should design all messaging around what the visitor expects to read when searching for your businesses product or build up their confidence by showing them examples of similar visitors who you’ve had the privilege of working with before - show them how smashing your service or product was and what pains it solved for them.
First and foremost, your website should focus on your prospective customers interests and help users better understand your product or service in a language which they are familiar with. If your product is technical, strip out the tech lingo and replace it with layman terms. Your customers will thank you for it.
(FYI - The 1990’s called and they want their websites back)
The appearance of a website will determine if it’s going to be successful. Unfortunately, website visitors expect a certain minimal aesthetic look to a website before trusting it. Even if you manage to get the above ducks in-line, you’ll still see a rather large ‘bounce rate’ as new visitors visit your website and leave several seconds later.
Website design trends are constantly changing and chances are if your site hasn’t been redesigned since 1999 it’s painfully obvious to your visitors and you’re seeing a high ‘bounce rate’ on Google Analytics.
If you think your website looks dated, it probably does. Websites should be constantly updated and refreshed to reflect the changing expectations of your customers and the new services or products you’re offering. Not changing is riskier than changing, every-time.