Posted: 11th May 2015
The first page visitors see should make it clear what your site is called, e.g. Google, and what your site is for, e.g. to sell bespoke wedding hats. Also make it clear what your business does. Give each page a name e.g. ‘What’s new’ and ‘About us’ and make it clear what sections of the pages are for e.g. special offers. Make it obvious what visitors can do e.g. click here to shop for blue hats.
Usability is very important, so make it easy for your visitors to move around your site. You want them to come back, and they won’t if your site is difficult to move around. This means including clean well labelled navigation bars. If you have a large web site include a site map.
Make the layout pleasing on the eye and simple. For example, think of your web pages as a newspaper and lay them out accordingly. Make important items prominent and give individual items borders or a different colour background.
Offer worthwhile freebies e.g. if you are a health and safety consultant offer some free useful guidelines on risk assessments. If you sell a product from your site or from a shop offer online discounts and special offers.
Choose the colour of your backgrounds and text carefully. Your web site should include your corporate colours and logo together with your business name, but make sure the text and backgrounds are not only easy on the eye but appealing. Blue text on a black background, for example, is very hard on the eye, while black on white is easy to read but looks dull.
Include interesting quality photographs and illustrations. Remember that different media suit different businesses. Including photographs gives credibility to your business and helps reassure potential clients that your business can deliver. Cartoons are an excellent way of getting across a difficult subject. For example a company specialising in drain cleaning could use photographs, but they would not be particularly interesting and by the nature of the subject might even be off putting.
Cartoons would illustrate this type of work much better.
Update your photographs and illustrations regularly or a site can begin to look dated.
Pay attention to the text on your site. Research shows that the majority of web site visitors scan pages, only reading the pieces that catch their eye or those pieces that have something that is of particular interest to them. Make your content concise, interesting and fresh, and change and update it regularly.
Put interesting articles on your site and invite businesses associates to contribute an article. Articles that are well written and are changed often attract visitors and repeat visitors. Date your articles to prove that you are updating them regularly.
Design your site with your visitors in mind rather than to get more hits with the search engines. It’s the quality of the hits your business needs rather than numbers of hits.
Ann Brown BA