One of the most important things to remember when your designing your website is to remember first and foremost, that it’s not about you, it’s about your client. Instead of broadcasting all the wonderful things you do, speak to the emotional needs of the client.
In addition, there are many structural things you can do maximize the effectiveness of your web page’s presentation. Starting with …
Make your page scan-able
People do not want to read paragraphs, in fact most individuals when they’re online don’t read, they scan. It is your job to create a format that is very easy for them to scan, especially on your homepage. Typically, I recommend homepages to be constructed using a 1-2-3 pattern. First, use color as the headline, second add some opening text, maybe two sentences, and then follow this with a list of bullet points. Each bullet point should speak to a different need that a client might have and link to the appropriate page inside your site that meets these needs.
Remember, the visitor doesn’t want to know about all the widgets you have for sale. They want to solve their problem and therefore they will scan for familiar keywords and use familiar navigation tools to find their solution. This is where the bullet list comes into play. By using bullet points, they can easily find what they want and immediately be linked to the information needed without having to read through irrelevant data.
The best thing to do is sit back and ask yourself, “If I could only share one thing with a visitor on my website, what would it be? If I could only share two things, what would it be?”, and build your website in this manor, only stressing your most important business attributes. While you may offer a number of services and/or products, you don’t want to overshadow the core business because you’ve cluttered your website with everything that you do. Keep the website and its navigation clean. Make it easy for your visitor to find what they’re looking for.
Let the connecting pages tell your story and help your visitor understand more about how you can solve their problem. These pages are intended to give your visitor a more in depth solution and ways in which you can help them.
As you move down the page I would repeat the pattern of color header, followed by a few lines of text and again a bulleted list. Pictures also make a nice way of breaking up the text and keeping the page interesting as well as invoking emotion. Much like a headline can be eye catching, the combination of the right wording and a strong image can create a mood and a point that will make your page far more effective.
Use familiar navigation terms
You want to have only five to seven words along your navigation. More than that gets very overwhelming to the visitor. I realize this can be a challenge for business owners, especially when they’re young in their business, as they want to broadcast absolutely everything they do. Don’t get too clever with your navigation. Keep it simple. Home. Blog. Products. Services. About Us. Contact Us. Portfolio. These are all keywords that people are used to looking for when seeking specific types of information on a website.
Don’t make your visitor work; instead lead them to action
One of the general rules of website development is to never make your client work. You want to make sure your contact information is all over the place. If they’ve decided at any moment that they want to reach you, do not make them work to figure out how to get in touch with you. Have that information very available on every page. Also, when clients hit the end of the page, don’t leave them hanging. Take them to the next step, whether that would be an invitation to contact you or an invitation to check out something else out on your website. You want to be guiding them every step of the way.
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