While a professional website designer will most likely be needed for technical details, they must rely on the business owner for input on all the details about their business because no one but you knows it well enough. So don’t feel that you must accept the dictates of the designer without any input of your own when you decide to create that all-important business website.
Here are some important design tips to consider.
- The first thing to do is decide on your branding and key message – and what you want the website to do for your business, advertise, garner a customer base or sell. These elements will dictate how your page layout is organised and many other, more technical details.
- The most important thing is to keep your website simple. It may not need all the bells and whistles that are available; not unless they contribute to ease of use and functionality. Look at it from your customers’ point of view. If they cannot find what they want, or if the checkout gives them problems, they will leave your website and go somewhere else to get their needs met. If you’ve ever surfed for a specific reason you will very likely have done this yourself.
- Including a sitemap will help your customers find what they want and cater to the differing ways in which they browse. Some people prefer visuals while others like a written list to go by. If you don’t include several easy ways in which your customers can gather the information they need, you will be leaving money on the table.
- It doesn’t matter how pretty or how informative your website is, if you don’t have a clear call to action there will always be some potential customers you miss out on because they didn’t know how to proceed. Not everyone is computer literate and even if they are, they can still find it difficult to know when and where to click for what they want if you don’t make it clear. A large “Buy Now” button needs to be in a bright colour, above the fold if possible and with words on it to tell people what you want them to do.
- Stick with what is commonly known; such things as links being a certain colour and the menu being in a certain position are all what people are familiar with, like the TOC in a book. If you change them, they may not navigate successfully to the Buy Now button. It is also important for your pages to load fast. People hate to wait and it is incredibly easy to hit the back button. This means making sure your images are optimised for the web. Your website consultant can advise you about file sizes.