Web Design Has Changed –
6 Ways to Let Go of the Past
Websites have come a long way over the last few years and keeping up with the times is critical to the success of your business. At the most basic of levels, you want to avoid these more common web design errors.
1. The Page is Too Busy
A Cluttered Page, a texty page, a busy page….means bounce! Potential clients will bounce right out of there and never come back! Cute and Creative were a big deal when websites first hit the scene but now Form and Function rule the day. Space is a good thing. Clear instructions to other information from the homepage are preferred. If you sell rocks and sticks from your website, a good idea would be two virtual “buttons” on the homepage – one for rocks and one for sticks.
2. Bring Out Your Links
Make them obvious, keep them consistent in style from one webpage to the next, and don’t make non-linked items look linked (consistent colors and highlights only for links).
3. Navigation Must Not Be Tedious
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes (for all of these categories!) and keep it direct and simple. This is incredibly important if you want the visitor to stay in your site long enough to become converted to a potential client by requesting more information or purchasing something. Visitors are people, like you, and they are busy, like you. If they perceive that they are being lead all over your site with no view of the desired information in their site – they will leave within seconds.
4. You’re Missing the “Call to Action”
Something on a relevant page of the site that clearly tells the visitor to act, is necessary such that all the other work you’ve done to make it clean and navigable isn’t wasted! A big “click here” button, or fill out this brief form to get a free consumer guide, will urge your visitor to stay a little longer and provide you with their contact information! But provide something of real value for the incentive and make sure they can navigate back to the home page afterward.
5. You Need a Search Button
Even if you have to outsource this feature because it’s beyond your capability, it’s critical to have a search feature. This way if the visitor didn’t find what they were looking for, they will hopefully stay long enough via your search feature, to do so. You can copy over the HTML code to incorporate a custom Google-powered search box via Google’s Custom Search.
6. Pass the Tests
Does your site work in all environments? Does it load quickly and with images? Do the links work? Check it often – there’s nothing more damaging than a site that doesn’t deliver.
At the End of the Day
In summary, be your visitor. Wear their shoes as you design your site and put them on again from time to time to look it over and be certain you haven’t moved away to far away from the original idea of function and clarity. Update the content frequently for fresh material and exciting information to encourage return visitors. And check regularly to be sure your site is navigating properly and in all environments. And remember, that a fantastic site might get them to your phone or office, but then you have to pass the ball with great customer service and an exceptional product.