Most business owners recognize the need for a website, only to not know where to turn for website design or, more so, what elements good websites have. Here are the top 7 issues we see in both website design and usability:
- Unfortunately, we do judge books by their covers. Back when you were around 5 years old or so, you learned to read. And the format you followed was very simple: top-to-bottom and left-to-right. So, what do you think is the most looked at section on your website? That’s right, it’s the top left-hand corner. And we didn’t even need an expensive eye-tracking survey to prove it! What does your hot corner look like? Do I know what you do from the imagery or logo? Or are you leaving it up to me to figure it out?
- Don’t make me think. When your first visitors show up, do they have to think about what you do, or where you are or how to contact your business? If this is the case, they’re probably hitting the back-button very fast. Don’t get funky with your page navigation – do what everyone else does: buttons down either the right or left side, or across the top (or some combination of these). And keep the navigation simple – let each button expand if there are multiple pages below it.
- If you sell something, tell me what to do. It’s not only critical to include your phone number on all pages, but you’ve got to tell me what to do, and why I should do it. For example, if you’re an attorney, and you offer a consultation, telling me to “Call now for a free consultation” makes me want to call and get it.
- Above the fold first. Back in the day, advertisements were sold based not only on the page, but where they were physically on the page. The best spots were “above the fold” – those sections you’d see if the newspaper were folded in half. Today, that “fold” line is the bottom of your browser screen. Think to your website – what do I see before I have to scroll down? Place your most important information, your call-to-action and your phone number very prominently above the fold for maximum impact.
- There is a line between just enough and too much content. In today’s attention deficit society, too much content on any one page causes our minds to wander. Gone are the days when paragraph after paragraph of right and left justified text ruled. Today, content that works is like a news story – most important information first and lots of bullet points. If you have long content pages, break them up into easier to digest chunks.
- Credibility and personality. When we come to your website, we need to quickly come to a conclusion that you’re a) legitimate and b) have a personality. Logos from business associations, awards, pictures with local flair, landmarks listed on your Maps & Directions page, etc. all help us understand who you are and what’s important.
- Polished and waxed. Works just as well for websites as it does expensive sports cars. You can always tell how much the business owner cares by how well polished the website looks. Content that’s easy to read, words spelled correctly, colors and schemes that resonate with your business, images that match your clientele, etc.
No website is perfect, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll likely see better results, more leads and happier customers.
Photo credit by elessar_x.