10 Design Tips for a Business Web Site
I get this question asked all the time: "What do you think of my super duper galactic ninja in action business site?" In all honestly I really dislike this question because the expectation is for me to say "Wow, great site, nice design, and great layout."
Don't get me wrong, I do give honest praises for the design and the creativity especially if the person creating the site doesn't know that much about web design.
The person usually hears the hesitation in my voice and asks, "Well what's wrong with it?" To which I reply "I look at your web site and I have no idea what you do, who you are or how to contact you."
Your web site is the new resume. The World Wide Web is the new digital newspaper. Here is an interesting fact: 83% of all recruiters Google their applicants and 43% discard applicants based on what they see. If your web site suffers you suffer.
Here are some of my personal 10 Design Tips for a Business Web Site to avoid your visitors guessing what you do and who you are:
1. Before the designing begins you should have a good outline of content that will be on the site for its launch. How many pages, what those pages will be, navigation order, color scheme, etc.
2. Content should include:
- A full complete description of your services or product. Your content should answer those basic questions mentioned above - who are you, what do you do, how to contact you.
- A way for people to contact you - email address, contact information page, or a contact form.
- Post comments or feedback from customers who have bought your product or used your service.
- Images of related to the content. It could be as simple as stock photo or more preferably a photo of your product or services. In other words, your images should reflect who you are and your services that you represent and should have appropriate ALT tags.
- Post a page of other businesses you have worked with. Link to their site. Ask to get a link back to your web site.
- If your site is large with lots of content, add a search function. Some search engines like Google will give you a free web search and the code you can just plug in to your site.
3. Avoid overloading your pages. Web pages that a visitor must scroll down more than 2 times should be broken up into separate sections. Visitors jut won't read that much.
4. All pages should contain meta keywords and descriptions, and descriptive page titles. Meta tags are contained in the HTML code. Go to Wikipedia for examples and how to's.
5. Avoid over doing the design. Keep it Simple. Don't mix and match colors. Use a design wheel to organize your color scheme.
6. Avoid gizmos, widgets and gadgets. Just because you know how to make text blink or scroll on your home page doesn't mean it is a good gizmo to have.
7. Avoid using Flash intro pages. I might be going against the grain here, but in my opinion Flash intros are a distraction and a detractor from your web site.
Visitors want to see and read about what you do and not a flashy advertisement.
8. Write and post articles relevant to your products or services. This will fill out your web site, keep visitors interested, and keep visitors coming back.
9. Don't let your site get stale. Keep adding to it in an organized way. Introduce new articles, press releases, new training, etc. A web site needs to be continually updated.
10. Use spell check and grammar tools in Word or other editors before you post your content.
About the Author: Larry Snow is the president of SJC Web Design LLC, a web design and marketing firm. He has been in the web business for the last 11 years and has written several articles on web design and web marketing. Just recently he has created a blog, Web Design Smarts, to share his advice and opinions on web design.