How to Create a Well-Designed Website

Monday, March 30, 2015
Kerri Martinec
Design & Website Developer
Schooner Strategies

Any company who wants any sort of presence, whether locally, nationally or internationally, needs a website. But sometimes the process of creating a website can be complex and confusing, especially with dozens of style and formatting options to choose from. And while there’s no one right way to design a website, there are several common mistakes that companies should avoid.

1. Ignoring the Five Second Rule

The front page of the website should effectively communicate what your company is and does within the first five seconds of review. If this information is hard to find, chances are customers won’t stick around to try to find out—especially if you have easy to find competitors.

Essentially, the website should clearly communicate what it offers and how it can help. One way to encapsulate all of this important information is by creating a video that gives a brief explanation of the company and its goals and services.

2. Not Capturing Customers

Although a website is all about helping the consumer find what they are looking for, you should also be using their visit as an opportunity to gain more leads. Social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter should be displayed prominently on the site, as well as a place for consumers to enter their email address and/or other contact information for you to follow up with them. This scenario is a win-win: they get a great service and you get interested leads!

3. Forgetting a Starting Point

A “Start Here” section guides clients to a helpful place that will likely answer any questions or concerns that may have; it also lets customers know how to get involved. Anything that this page may not have answered should be quickly followed up by one of your customer service representatives.

4. Hiding Contact Information

This should go without saying, but it’s something that often slips through the cracks: ensure that all contact information, including a phone number and email address, is in plain sight on the website. Although some companies hide their information in an effort to avoid spam calls and emails, a customer’s satisfaction is more important than a momentary annoyance.

5. Using Hard-to-Read Fonts

Reading text on a website should feel a lot like reading a book—effortless. This means choosing colors that blend well together and can be read together, as well as choosing appropriate fonts and spacing. If your website is hard to read, customers won’t try to decipher the text.

6. Using Too Much Content

Most companies have a million and half things to say about their products and services. Although you may be proud of your product and want to explain it in the most comprehensive way, big blocks of text are not appealing to consumers. They are essentially looking for the Spark Notes version of whatever you’re selling—something quick to read and easy to understand. If they want more details, they will definitely reach out to you to ask!

In the same vein, avoid being too technical or using too much jargon when describing your company (unless, of course, the audience understands that sort of language). Customers should always understand what they’re reading.

7. Playing Music or Videos Automatically

While you may be eager for clients to watch your latest video—or listen to background music you find soothing—avoid the urge to auto-play videos. Not only is the auto-play function extremely annoying to customers, it can also slow down their computers depending on what browser and system they work on.

8. Creating Bad Navigation

Navigation should be as simple and easy to follow as possible. Avoid creating too many subpages and tabs—your goal should be to condense and avoid the clutter. This way, visitors are able to find whatever they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible.

 


 

Now that we’ve gotten what you shouldn’t be doing out of the way, here are three important factors to keep in mind when designing a website.

1. Keep it Fresh

Regularly update the website with insightful and interesting information in order to position your company as an industry thought leader. Good design will entice the user to stay, but top-notch content will keep them coming back.

2. Create with the User in Mind

A website should be all about the customer—what they want to see on the pages and what they need from your company. That being said, keep user experience in mind—if you were a stranger logging onto your website for the first time, would you like it? Understand it?

3. Monitor Site Performance

When setting up the website, make sure to implement an analytics or tracking tool to see how the website performs once it’s live. If you find any discrepancies in the way the site performs—people visiting one page more than another, not spending a lot of time on one page—fix it! That way, when customers return, they’ll see and appreciate the improvement.

That being said, Schooner Strategies is ready and able to assist you in your website design and development needs! For more information, please email info@schoonerstrategies.com.

 

Sources

Conner, C. (2014, March 27). 25 Web Design Tips to Honor 25 Years of the Web. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/03/27/25-web-design-tips-to-honor-25-years-of-the-web/

Partridge, D. (2014, December 3). 5 Common Website Design Mistakes. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://dalepartridge.com/5-common-website-design-mistakes/

Strom, C. (2011, July 12). 10 Common Website Mistakes to Avoid. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://marketplicity.com/common-website-mistakes-to-avoid/