By Francine Schill
Websites are a business basic and an integral part of marketing and growing your business. It’s a company’s way to make a lasting first impression on a customer. Studies have shown that people often decide whether they want to do business with a company within seven seconds of visiting the company’s website. After this initial judgment, your potential customers are either impressed or gone.
The most important part of designing a website is to make sure it functions properly. This means no errors and no missing graphics. Before hiring a design firm, take a moment to think about what key functions will be served by your website. What will the site do for your business? Will it sell products? Will it be an informational site? Will it serve as the main point of contact for your business?
The website should be designed to support the functions you’ve decided upon – from the user’s point of view. For example, if the key function is to sell products, it should be easy for your customer to navigate the site, select products and order them. If the key function is information, it should be kept simple, concise and should not include too many technical terms.
Tips For Creating a Successful Website
- Keep It Simple: Make sure that your website is easy to use. This means checking the speed the website loads at and making it easily accessible in different browsers. Most times a customer will give up on a website if it doesn’t load properly or is too difficult to maneuver.
- Include Fresh Content: Content is the key to success. Content doesn’t necessarily mean fancy flash pages or graphics. Content could also include blog articles, current promotions or team updates. Customers who return frequently to a website want to be informed of current news, sales, and updates that a company may have. If a website doesn’t include fresh content, a potential customer may not believe the company is still in business or could be thrown off by the lack of updated information. You want to have enough information on your site to indicate what you are selling and to entice customers either to follow through and purchase your product or seek more information on your services.
- Keep Graphics Consistent: Your graphics should support your branding and content, not detract from them. In this case, less is more. Make sure that you match your branding and style. Don’t be swept away with fancy designs and large flashing graphics. Depending on your business, users may dislike this as they can’t find what they are looking for or the pages take too long to load.
- Make Navigation Effortless: Provide easy-to-use navigation links on every page. You only have a few seconds before a user decides to stay on your site or leave. Keep it as simple as possible, and don’t make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. When I design a site, I always assume that the user isn’t web-savvy. I design the navigation and feel of the site so that anyone, especially someone new to the web, can easily navigate the site.
Things to Avoid When Creating a Site
- Slow Loading Pages: As stated before, try to avoid the large flashy web pages. This tends to make your website load slower and sometimes display without showing all content. Although the website may load without problems on your computer, not all users have cable connections.
- High Number of Links: Keep the number of links to a minimum. Don’t force your customers to go through numerous screens to reach the information they want. Be sure to plan out your site map.
- Don’t Keep That Free Email: A mistake I frequently see business owners make is using a generic e-mail address (ex. Gmail). It’s unprofessional and sends the wrong signal to potential customers. Use your company e-mail address, not a free e-mail address.
- Don’t Be Overwhelmed: Don’t be overwhelmed by the many facets of designing a website. You can always start small and let your site grow as you grow. Remember that you always have the option to contact a web designing team who can help you get in the right direction.
Here’s to Your Health, Happiness and Personal Success