‘You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’. This saying can be equally applied to the World Wide Web. Websites are usually visited by people so they can purchase products or services, search for information and news or interact with friends and colleagues on social networking sites. It is not very often that the user would pay much attention to the design of the website, except in two cases:
If you have designed a truly original, unique and innovative website you should find that it captures people’s imagination and this may have a positive impact on your site’s status as people will want to share their find with others by promoting it on social and bookmarking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg.com and Delicious.com.
However, this does not necessarily mean that a visitor who appreciates the aesthetics of your website will go ahead and purchase the product or service that your site is offering.
Conversely, there are websites out there that you wish you had never seen, visited or tried to navigate. If a web user has a bad experience on a company website, they will more often than not decide that they cannot trust you as a business and, once you have failed the ‘trust test’, you will have very little chance of doing any business with the visitor.
So what are the essential ingredients that you should consider when designing your website?
Back in the pioneering days of the World Wide Web, website designers were restricted to a colour palette of 216 ‘web-safe’ hexadecimal HTML colours. These are the only colours that could be rendered accurately by the web browsers and monitors of the time. Improvements in browser and monitor technology have since meant that designers can now utilise a full spectrum of colours, but in most cases less is more. Think very carefully about the range and scope of colours that you want to use on your website. Try to keep them to a minimum; a clearly defined palette will give your site a professional look and will inspire confidence in your business.
Your website does not have to be complicated to do its job. Just because you can add all the bells and whistles to your design does not mean that you should. An effective website is one that is easy to navigate and allows a user to access the required information with the minimum of effort. Think about download speed: if a visitor to your site has to wait while an elaborate graphic is downloaded, then they are likely to go elsewhere. Similarly, if a webpage is over complicated or fussy, you are likely to lose potential business to a competitor who has a more user friendly website.
Although it is a lot easier to ensure that a website looks consistent across the full range of web applications available today, it is imperative not to get complacent and make sure that your website is comprehensively tested on all browsers, tablets and hand held devices. Try to build in as many safeguards as possible to instil confidence in your site and corporate business as a whole.
If the three points above are considered and implemented in your website design and build, then you will go a long way to having a website that inspires confidence and generates your company plenty of online business.
If you would like to discuss your company’s website design, promotion and online marketing strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’ll be only too happy to talk.