A business website is perhaps one of the most important marketing tools for success. It unthinkable to not have an online presence in today’s global, round the clock, high speed market.
Statistics demonstrate that today approx 91% of all consumers check out businesses online before considering any purchase. Consumers have also grown considerably in their capability to understand information, search for the best deal and verify reputations. They also have developed quick searching speeds and are very intolerant of poorly done websites. They are less interested in art and cleverness and are more impressed by both ease of access and the quality of the information provided.
They want answers, not guessing games.
Web design: What you should NOT do
Before hiring a web designer or doing it yourself if that’s your choice, a number of things need to be avoided at the onset. Knowing what will cause trouble before you start construction will save a lot of subsequent repair and fixing time.
#1: No plan
The most serious web design problem is starting without a plan. It is important for the web to be about your business and to be addressed directly at a target audience. Not knowing enough about your audience, what appeals to them visually, what terms and social language they use, what type of social media they favor, and how often they communicate are critical.
Studying the top 5 or ten website results on a search for your type of business will provide an excellent idea of what works. Your goal is to have your website included in these top results.
#2: Too “clever”
One very serious mistake some website designers make is being too clever or artistic. Today’s internet user doesn’t surf nearly as much as they search. Today, the internet is no longer a novelty and is used more as a tool to gather information.
Searchers are much more informed and selective and the web has become much to large to expend valuable time on watching or surfing. They are informed on their subject matter and expect to get desired results quickly.
A website that uses scripts that takes excessive time to load (today’s web user expects instantaneous results), a site that has too long an introduction, or does not tell them what they want and how to get it, will be passed over.
The fact that a website has received a top 10 award for some reason carries little or no influence with today’s searcher.
#3: No room for future development
Not building in expansion room for new technology or features is a serious omission. Seeing last update 2012 is a web turn-off to most searchers. To them it shows a lack of dedication, not being serious about being up to date, and complacency. It also shows that the designer is not compatible with the new smart phone and mobile surge.
The web is moving mobile and today’s personal device packs more complexity and storage capability than pc’s of a few years back. Not being able to utilize this new mobile and very personalized technology means a loss of customer contact. Not being able to adapt and enhance the website and engage your clients and develop more is essentially a dead end.
#4: Stale content
Stale, dull or poorly done content will bring derision from web searchers. If you or your staff members do not write well, consider hiring a reputable content provider and be exacting on what you want. Poorly written, non-Native speaker, irrelevant filler and key word packing content are serious problems and harm even the best websites.
#5: No TOS
A TOS (Terms of Service) Statement should appear somewhere on the site, usually the last page. This is an essential legal matter to protect your business from litigation and alleged damages from individuals using the site, contents, or general nuisance suits. The internet is hard to police and much malware and hacking is offshore.
Once your site is up it will be under potential attacks and misuse possibilities, constant online vigilance is not possible, a TOS covers the legal bases.
#6: No contact
Not having a clear contact identity is another common mistake. Searchers want a specific email or phone, and an info@ and a non-traceable 800 number will deter inquiries as they want to verify who you are before they do business with you. Remember to check e-mail regularly.
Having a blog that is not connected to the webpage is another omission. Blogs enable site owners to keep in contact with customers and searchers, gaining more visitors, keeping the ones you have and staying in their thoughts is more possible with a blog. Keep the subject relevant to your audience.
#7: Poor image choices
Photos and images draw more audience attention than any other feature, images are the attention getter. Using stock images has serious problems. The image is used by others and often for different purposes. Using original images that set you apart, make a statement about who you are, and reinforce a connection with your audience are important items to include.
If you do use a stock image, purchase the rights to use it to protect yourself from potential lawsuits.
Website design is a matter of presenting the best possible image of your business. The speed of the web, the increasing sophistication of worldwide searchers, the growing competition in each industry, and technological changes that can make technology in use today quickly outdated in days are serious issues. Building in expansion room, being ready to implement change in a smooth and rapid manner and being customer focused are website absolutes. Avoiding the mistakes before you have to fix them makes you a serious competitor in a serious game.