The famous Clint Eastwood film has been used as a reference to describe various degrees of competence and ability in many different disciplines. And web design is no different. An hour or two surfing the web will leave you in no doubt as to the varying abilities of web designers and the difference in priority some companies have in relation to how important they view their websites. Our question to you … is…are you doing everything possible to make sure your site not only wins beauty pageants but works well for your target audience too?
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder
What looks great to you and your web designer may not please everyone. And the chances are, you’ll never make everyone happy. Visitors to your site will make snap judgements in a matter of seconds and your site’s job is to convince them it’s worth staying around a bit longer to have a more detailed look.
Does your website reflect your brand’s personality?
From colours and shades to navigation and accessibility, your website will say much about your business. Make sure your branding is clear and consistent with its offline presentation. The same people may well be looking at your site and signage in both online and offline contexts. Consistency is crucial.
The degree of professionalism exhibited on your site is also very important. Crisp, clear images taken by a professional photographer is definitely the way to go. When planning layout and images, always be wary of trying to do too much on one page. This will result in your site appearing a bit ‘busy’. This can be very distracting and will detract focus from your main message.
Links need to stand out
If you want your links to be clicked upon make them clear. It is a good idea to use different colours and make sure the links in question are underlined. As a link is technically a call to action, be wary of asking your visitors to do too much. So, positioning several links close by in a sentence may result in people clicking on the least important one.
Old, tired sites are found throughout the web and a website that cost a lot five years ago may not be quite up to scratch today. The Internet is a dynamic industry and every year there seems to be a new trend or facility that is a real tell-tale sign of the age of a website. Another aspect that needs to be managed is content. Out-of-date content is a real giveaway. Not long ago, I noticed an SME’s site talk about special offers for September 2010! If you don’t take your site seriously, neither will your clients.
In the current multi-platform era, don’t forget to test your site and see how it works in browsers and on mobile platforms. A good website is consistent with your brand in the offline world. But it is something that needs to be worked on and maintained at every opportunity. Work closely with your designers and produce a site that does the business for you.
I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Do you have any too?