WEB DESIGN :

Your web design says a lot about how you view your business. Many business owners miss huge opportunities when it comes to branding their website. Your business website is a reflection on you. It is the first online impression you make on a prospective customer.

web design

Out with the old (website) and in with the new

First impressions are everything. Online customers can quickly tell the difference between an old out dated looking website, versus a new, full screen, mobile ready website. Many websites designed +5 years ago, are the size of post cards when viewed on today’s wide screen monitors.

An old website looks clunky and obsolete and is a poor reflection of your business. This is not the impression you want people to have of your business; rather they should perceive you in as you perceive yourself. If you are a fast, nimble and energetic business, then your website should reflect that message. This you are a serious, experienced professional; then same-same.

Treat your website with respect

Updating and refreshing your website tells returning visitors and customers you care about your business. This translates to; ‘you also care about your customers’. Think about it this way. There is always that one house on the block, where the yard is never maintained. Let your online audience know you care; stay on top of your website. Keep things fresh with new articles, images and photos.

We know it’s tough for small business owners to keep up with the day-to-day updates and management of their website. If this is you, then consult a web professional about web site maintenance packages to perform these updates for you.

Small business does not mean a ‘small website’

Nothing could be further from the truth. A small business website can be your most valuable marketing asset. Every page in your website is an opportunity to share information about your business. Whether you are a kitchen table business or large office with several employees; a professional website allows you to compete against everyone online. Having a powerful custom design business website level’s the online playing field. That’s the beauty of the Web.

Look beyond local borders for web design inspiration

Business owners often look at the websites of same or similar local businesses. Is best to look at websites for businesses in other states; even other countries for ideas and inspiration. Browse business websites in Great Britain, Brazil, Netherlands and the world. Coolhomepages.com is one of our favorite places to see out-of-the-box design concepts. Depending on your type of business; be open minded about which website design approach is best for you and you’re business.

Web design for mobile is a must have

People are using their phones 24/7. And if you website is not mobile ready it will impact your business in a big way with respect to Google search. The Google search engine maintains a separate search index for mobile searching. Today it is imperative for a business website to be mobile friendly.

Web design for speed as a success factor

Slow-loading websites having lots or graphics and images would make perfect sense to a lay person. And that is exactly right. However images and graphics can be optimized to load fast over most connections. Web design professionals have several tools at their disposal to optimize your pages to load quickly.

Your web site message must be clear and concise

First your home page gets found. There is a 3 second window of opportunity to capture their attention. People are searching for products or services; so you best convert their curiosity into an action resulting in a sale, inquiry or phone call. People want to find things fast. I have found that breaking up content and messaging into bite-sized nuggets of information, helps guide users to areas of interest.

Don’t muddle your message. If you sell widgets; then get busy selling widgets and show then where to go. Make products and information easy to find using taglines and graphics. Don’t make the mistake of burying your pages under drop down navigation or hard to see links.

Keep the gold above the fold. The term ‘Above the fold’ applies to the upper section of your website. This is the top part that fills the screen without having to scroll.

Great design means ‘Great Design’ in any form

Great website design instantly communicates a message and brand. This is no different than other forms of advertising design. Think about the design you see every day.

• Bill boards
• Vehicle graphics
• Business cards
• Magazines
• Television advertisements
• Online advertisements
• Video ads online
• Direct mail
• Restaurant menus
• Architectural design
• Fashion design
• Logo design
• Typography design
• Animation design
• Product and product packaging graphics
• Store-front signs and the list goes on.

No matter the medium you are using, there is always a method to achieving a great web design. Design effects our emotions both outright and subliminally.

5 of the most important components in web site design

1. COLOR – Consider the color psychology of web design. People decide whether or not they like a website in 3 seconds or less and affect their perception of you and your business. Avoid applying your personal color preferences and consider appropriate web safe color choices.

2. NAVIGATION – Avoid mystery meat navigation. Menus should be well defined on your website; not hidden behind a fancy effect or mystery icons.

3. LAYOUT – A website will display differently over a multitude of devices. Avoid designing, viewing and approving your web site design on one device. People will visit your web site on wide screens, screen screens, lap tops, tables and mobile. Your website will display differently on all the above. Visual differences seen on browsers and computer screens will vary greatly.

4. CONTENT – Write content to succinctly describe your business.  Website content must clearly communicate your core business message. Write relevant content that supports your business goals.

5. PRE-PLAN SEO – Create a top down plan for your web page file structure. Simply said; Try to craft file names for your web pages matching keywords or content. Avoid nesting pages. Keep all web page content 2 clicks deep.

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