The reason that any website is built is to serve the person visiting it.
A website should provide an easy, memorable and trouble free visit everytime. One that enables a user to get to the information that they want as quickly and easily as possible!
How is this achieved?
all enabling the user to access every piece of information they want, simply and quickly. This is done by removing diversions, unimportant stuff and focussing in on the core message.
The client knows their business, their sector and target market better than any web designer. They know their customers and their motivations.
Our job is to listen to the clients brief and deliver to their objectives. We should ask questions; lots of them, that real business growth can be delivered.
Keeping the design simple is important. Web users have short attention spans.
If the website does not immediately attract your customer and tell them what they want, they will move on in frustration.
Simplicity is key. Provide room to breathe; make room for white space on the page through a combination of imaginative layout and typography.
Distractions on the page should be avoided. A home page that takes time to load and then has no information except a clever graphic, is time wasted.
A website should be simple to navigate, easy to understand and above all, intuitive.
Most people will not read beyond a first sentence or a paragraph on the internet. Indeed, research by Jakob Nielsen suggests that the average user only reads 28% of text on a web page.
Content should be clear, concise and to the point.
Reduce your content by half, and then reduce it by half again. Be ruthless.
It sounds a little twee, cliche even to start talking about an ethos but that is exactly what you need to keep in mind when building your website!
Who you are and what you do should extend beyond drab text only descriptions, it should be communicated in everything you do.
This means pictures.
This means testimonials.
This means effective, communicative and representative design.
This means little blog entries that communicate your thoughts, that enable people to get into your mindset, to see how you think.
This all helps communicate to your potential clients or customers that you are the kind of company they want to deal with!
I love infographics! Here’s one on the past twenty years of online tomfoolery started by our lord and saviour; Tim Berners Lee.
Here’s a look at how online marketing and social integration can affect offline customer activity (and how many pennies land in your pocket!):
I currently have three projects that are works in progress or recently finished
-Brothers ‘Johnson’ of Woodhouse and Keyworth want a site that isn’t too serious that really communicates their personality: take a look!
Charnwood Cleaning Services
-Gren wanted an up to date and clean site for his services. He’s very happy with the result although insistent on the use of his existing hand draw logos. Still, a pleasure to work with and happiness all round! Have a gander!
Also working for MJV Management Services. Spankingly professional new website is under construction. Watch this space!
Compared to this time last year, mobile traffic to our pub website has doubled to around 120 visitors/wk. Yes a 100% increase in unique visitor is a huge amount and it cannot be ignored, especially due to the nature of the visit and the information that people want, nay, demand, when visiting on the go! Menus, location, contact info (and simply more information about who we are) are all essential to attracting new custom.
There is no doubt that mobile surfing is becoming more and more popular as a greater number of people have access to smartphones. These devices are always on, always connected and therefor an ever present medium through which you can communicate you message. Trouble is, it’s hardy easy to navigate most sites as you are constantly zooming in and out and using fiddly menu icons.
Creating a mobile friendly version of your site makes the ever growing number of smartphone users use your site to its full potential and let’s them know you’re thinking of them!
++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
Source: The Growing Importance of Mobile Website Optimization Infographic
Well, he’s finally here! After 9 months and 1 week of waiting, 24 hours of pain for mummy and 20 mins of pushing little Charlie (‘Charlie-bob!’) arrived and don’t we know it! Nothing quite prepares you for the first 72 hours but we’re settling in nicely now and Mummy and Baby (and Daddy) are all fine, if a little tired!
1. The site confuses the Web for a billboard: Every now and then you will run across a small-business website that gets it: It is graphically appealing, it contains valuable, unique content, and it engages the visitor. It is a sales tool, meet-and-greet, advertisement, brochure and conduit, all in one.
‘Trouble is, most small-business websites do not do that. Instead, they are simply an online version of a billboard or other sort of basic ad: a big headline with some backup information and not much more.
The days when you could simply throw up an e-version of your Yellow Pages ad are long over. Yellow Pages ads are great because they serve a specific purpose, and do it very well — namely, to get the phone to ring. But the purpose of your website goes beyond that. Sure, a great small-business website will cause the phone to ring (or the e-mail to be sent), but it should also create a positive, lasting impression.
To do that, the site has to engage, not just be.
2. The site lacks a great “About” page: Because your website is your virtual version of your store or office, it must serve that function well, and you do that by having a robust “About Us” page.
The About Us page tells people who you are, what you are about and why they should trust you. It is one of the most-clicked-on pages on any website. People want to know who you are, your history and story, so a well-written, jargon-free, interesting About Us page is essential. Putting a short video there (more on that later) may even be better.
Your About Us page is your online version of a firm handshake and a look in the eye. It helps people to trust you!
3. The site contains mistakes: Dead links, 404 Error pages and typos are the sort of sloppy errors that can turn a prospective client off. After all, if your site contains mistakes, what does that say about the sort of work you may do for the client?
4. The site lacks ways to further connect online: Does your site have a blog and can people get to it within one click from your home page? They should be able to. Can site visitors surf over to your Facebook page from your site?
5. The site is not SEO friendly: People should be able to find your site in a variety of ways:
•From seeing your URL in your ads, business card, or store.
•By finding you via forums, articles you have written, or social-media sites.
•From online ads if you use those.
•And, probably most important, by locating you in a search-engine result.
That last one comes from, of course, search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-friendly site is one where there is plenty of content (updated regularly), where the content is full of key words and phrases, and where there are plenty of incoming links.
6. The site’s pages lack a call to action: What do you want people to do on your site — buy something, call you, apply, opt-in, download, e-mail or what? Whatever the answer, you have to encourage them to do it. Go on your site and notice how many of your pages lack a call to action. Fix it.
As always, if you have found this article useful, please let me know or share this page with your friends. It really helps get the word out there and gets me helping others!
My previous post asked “do I really need a website?”. In it I rambled a little bit and moved on to some aspects of what makes a small business website really work. We touched on honesty being crucial as my ‘rule number one’ but what else?
2. Pay attention to the look and feel
Your site has to be attractive but easy on the eye. The site is the online version of your business and therefor has to instantly reflect and communicate what your business is about using medium other than just descriptive text. This means a well thought out colour scheme. Great pictures. Videos. Maybe music (on very rare occasions!).
3. Communicate your message
As I mentioned in the previous post, this is not a time for sales patter, don’t waste your e-guests’ valuable attention on something so shallow! Whilst you have them, take the opportunity to tell them your story, what makes you proud of your business, what makes you different, why should they buy from you, what’s your USP/purple cow?
4. Create a point of contact
This is an easy one, create a quick and easy way for a customer to ask questions, buy things, order things and encourage them to do so using: ….
….5. Calls to action
Another quick and easy, yet essential, addition. A call to action is exactly what it says: a prompter for the guest to do something. Whether it be to leave you a comment, a request, post a question, ring you, email you or more importantly to buy something, order something or more importantly to buy something, order something or share you with their social network. All the above move you and them one step closer. Thus building rapport, your customer base and ultimately revenue.
6. Use third party validation
Where possible it is hugely advantageous in web design to let the guests/potential customer to know they’re not on their own. We are social animals and people are far more likely to do something when they know they’re not the only ones to have done it. Testimonials, case studies and unbiased reviews fed from a third party website are all great ways of letting people know you are ‘tried and tested’!
Further great ‘credibility indicators’ (to use the technical nomenclature!) are evidence of awards by official bodies and reviews in media. More great ways of telling the consumer exactly how good you really are!
7. Easy navigation
Last but certainly not least you need simple, easy to use navigation. ‘nuf said!
Thank you for reading and ask always, if this has helped you in any way, please let me know! I love to know she I have helped!
Take care and good luck with your venture!
This is just my take on an answer to probably the most common question I hear from small business owners: Do I really need a website?
Well, no. Not really.
Let me explain. It is becoming much more and more popular to find local businesses, reliably, quickly and most importantly easily online.
Having an attractive website gives you a ‘shop front’ that, at it’s most basic level, allows potential customers to get to know your business, contact you and buy from you. Think of it like an actual shop front. You want passers by to be attracted to your business, to really ‘get’ you and your product and to understand how your product will benefit them.
“How can you possibly communicate all that through a computer?” I hear you cry.
Well, there’s a lot to think about. We don’t want to trick people into believing you are something you’re not so the first rule is: Honesty. Seriously, the days of overhyped bragging are over…. ‘We’re the best’ this or ‘We have the best’ that is cheap. Anyone can say it and someone with more money than you can say it louder than you, write a bigger sign and get more customers.
No, where our advantage lies as a small business is in producing a good quality of product/service and finding customers who are willing to buy from us. NOT (I repeat NOT!) selling to the unwilling or tricking people out of their pennies. So honesty seems key. Honest pictures, honest testimonials, honest content. This way, if your product is right and you find the right people all that remains is to communicate with them effectively and that is where Information Communications Technology comes into its own.
So do you need a website? No, you don’t. Just like you don’t ‘need’ good service or ‘need’ great quality produce but it does help to have them. Especially when you want to communicate to your customers and tell them exactly what you’re all about.