Everyone wants a great-looking website. We want to seem like we’re state-of-the-art. Let’s say your business sells sports apparel. You want to use social media and video clips to help push your product. One problem: you don’t have a way for people to actually buy your stuff online. Or let’s say you are a member of the service community. You rely on clients who need a specific service. Your website is interactive. It even has a chat component. This time the issue is that no one in the office knows how to use this real-time communications app.
Just concentrating on the sizzle, you forget to buy quality food, a person to cook it, plates and silverware and a table to serve the meal. Same with websites. You need to be strategic and thorough.
Your Company’s goals need to be identified before you rush head-strong into design. Of course you’re looking for an eye-catching website that’s functional. But what is your businesses objective? What’s the actual purpose of the site? Brainstorm with your managerial staff. If no one has a clue, it’s time to nail one down with the staff. The road will be long if you don’t know where you’re going.
knowing the demographics of your client-base is a guiding light. Consider your market’s gender, age, how will they access your site (a permanent location or a mobile device), how much money they make, etc.
By having this information, it will steer you in the direction of the overall look of your website. Are most of your clients over the age of 60? Then a rock-star, video game look should be off-the-table. For this demo, it would probably be a good idea to use easy-to-read fonts. Be sure about who will be using your website.
what’s the best way to align your goals and audience with your design? Let’s use the example of a first-time visitor to your website. They’re fickle. They may surf-in and jump-out quickly. You want to keep them on-board for more than just a couple of seconds. Try this:
- Don’t hide your registration link. Make it big and easy-to-find
- Have the sign-up link accessible from all pages
- Make any online form simple. You can always get more information from the client later
- Incorporate images that can be enlarged to show your products
- Assemble screenshots of what the client can expect once they buy your product or service
- Give the user a tour of a particular service that shows how you can assist them
- Embed videos of your products or services
Now that your website is “live,” you need to find out what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not reaching your goals through the website, some tweaking may be necessary. Using a free service like Google Analytics will supply you with the raw data as to how people are using your website.
Understanding the data is not child’s play. You don’t want to be able to rattle-off the chapter-and-verse of every page view. You do want some way to measure those central goals you identified earlier.
everything has a purpose, even your website. It’s very easy to get wrapped-up in design. Resist the temptation and stick to the basics of any successful organization. Focus on your brand, your target audience, the simplicity of navigation. Remember, sometimes the prettiest flower in your garden is the most poisonous. Using common business-sense will help you avoid dangerous pitfalls.