Articles Of interest
The More You Know - The Better the Design
The first web page went live on August 6, 1991
It was dedicated to information on the
World Wide Web project and was made
by Tim Berners-Lee.
It ran on a NeXT computer at the European
Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN.
It outlined how to create Web pages and
explained more about hypertext.
Now that the World Wide Web is firmly established and viewed by billions of people it’s important to realize that there are many choices available. What that means to website owners is that you want to design your website around what your visitors want, not what you want. Since many websites are now older and designed with less than current features and looks we get a lot of people inquiring about upgrading to newer and fresher design.
So when we discuss the new design there is usually a “moment” that we come to about why something is purple (fill in any color) and the response is well that’s my favorite color. It could be anything but the common issues is why? And the answer always is that it was the owner’s favorite this or that. I get it but you should save the personal choices for the About Me page. The design should be about your users, not necessarily a personal favorite of yours.
We’ve All Been There
I very well remember my first website. Animations, dancing dogs, you name it I had it. My intent was to show what was possible but it really was over the top. My only excuse is it was the 90’s and that stuff was popular. Those days are long gone and visitors are much more sophisticated and want instant gratification, now. Your website should be designed and built around valuable content and provide the best user experience you can muster, end of story.
It’s never a good idea to ask your visitor to jump through hoops to find what they came looking for on your website. Clear and easy to use navigation, subject matter that is interesting, organized, and of value should be your goal. We have a lot of current website owners who want to upgrade, revamp, or modernize their website. And many are the still using the original design from 2005 from those good old days. That retro look has its place (if you sell something that fits) but you need to make sure you also provide a great user experience.
Fact: You Have 2 Seconds To Grab Visitors Attention
A typical visitor comes to your website from a search on a specific subject. Since we all like instant gratification, your best choice is to give them exactly what they came for up front. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention and entice them to stick around. Establishing credibility and authority is a good thing but not always for the first thing they see.
OK, I get it. You love purple and yellow. But those colors may not (ok, never) be the best choice for your website about food. Or a website about meditation that uses neon colors. And how about a diaper service website that uses a brown and yellow color scheme? No kidding, I have seen each one of those colors on those type of websites. Colors matter, they set the mood, add impact (both good and bad), and direct attention. And on the other side, they can distract from your subject matter and totally ruin the visual effect of your website.
Same goes for the typefaces, fonts, and graphics. Some typefaces lend themselves to attention grabbing headlines, others are designed to be easier to read, and some even relate to a specific time period when they were popular. And combining different typefaces is both an art and a science. One of the basic rules of design that has been around forever is not go crazy with too many different typefaces on one page. Using more than 2-4 typefaces that go with each other can be distracting, hard to read, and often unattractive.
Visitors Love InfoGraphics – And So Should You
A few graphics, illustrations, or photos can be used to explain things, show examples, and add to the design. I am a big fan of Infographics like below. The best definition I found for Infograhics comes from Wikipedia and states “Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.”
You can combine several great visual components together that often simplifies the message. And if you do a great Infographic it’s a magnet for sharing. Visitors love to share something they like and that’s some of the best traffic you can get for free. There’s a great website we recommend for creating Infographics for beginners that’s both easy and has a ton of great templates to help get you started. You can check it out here: www.canva.com. The example above is from Canva.
Another Common Problem
Don’t get lost in the weeds. Details are always important but keep in mind that nothing is perfect. And the best part about a website is you can adapt as you go. I get calls all the time that start off with some small detail holding up the whole website. Push comes to shove, if you don’t have the required skills on something technical find someone who does and let them do it. Yes, it may cost you a few dollars but the key is that you keep moving forward to get up and running.
The best example I can give on letting one particular stumbling block hold you back is on videos. Everyone loves videos for a lot of good reasons. Back in the old days videos were a challenge since you had to install a video player on your website. And it could get a little technical and a lot of the software was kind of flaky to begin with so trouble abounded. So when the question ever came up I suggested to skip the whole video player issues and put the video on YouTube and embed it on your website. All you needed to do is copy a URL and place it on your website and viola, your video was up and playing in about 5 minutes. Plus you don’t burn up your bandwith. And now almost every Theme or Page Builder makes it even easier.
It All Boils Down To One Thing
Always try and put yourself in the user’s position and perspective. One good way to learn more about your prospects is to go listen to what they have to say. Check out forums, Yahoo Answers, Quora, and other websites that your potential prospects hang out and look for questions and answers. This will help you step outside of your mindset and see exactly what your prospects are looking for and give you lots of material to create great information that attracts your prospects.
The bottom line here is to make sure you don’t design your website for you, design it for your visitors. Always remember that they may not have your background and knowledge. Keep it simple, find out what your prospects are looking for, and give it to them. Make it easy for both the search engines and your visitors to find your information. Focus on your visitors, appropriate content, and easy navigation.
A Very Few Resources I Recommend
I try and be very selective on who I recommend for resources. I only recommend a vendor that I personally use frequently. All three of these companies we use and really like everyday.
Brian Dean is one of the best SEO guys out there today. He offers tons of great free recommendations that can be very effective. Well worth the time to go check out his website and information.
I recommend FastComet for a couple of reasons. They offer so many extras and clearly explain how to use them very well. And they have great support that’s quick and effective. We use them, so should you.
There are quite a few graphics websites that are good, but Canva takes it to a whole new level for the beginner. The templates and ease of learning are the best I’ve seen.