Website Design: A Perspective from a Digital Marketing Consultant
As a Digital Marketing Consulting for a large part of my working life, I have spent a lot of time researching and browsing the internet and reading websites, mainly for client design research and occasional personal use.
The one thing that I find most disappointing is the apparent lack of thought going into website creation and its purpose, which creates a missed opportunity for many e-businesses to become successful.
My perspective on online businesses is that they don’t take pride in their websites or show their customers a passion for what they do.
What you must remember is that your website is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is an essential factor in determining your potential success rate.
In short, if your site doesn’t look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, the majority of people will assume your products or services to be of similar poor standard.
Too Many Graphics Slow Down The Load
At the other end of the scale, you could fall into the trap of going overboard with the design and over complicate things by incorporating high costing flashy graphics. In such cases, you may end up with a great-looking and highly aesthetic website, but the danger with this is that your site may prove untrustworthy. Also, there is nothing worse for a customer than trying to visit a slow loading site, and most will close the browser window in complete frustration.
According to two recent surveys conducted by Forrester Research and Gartner Group, eCommerce sites are losing $1.1 to $1.3 billion in revenue each year due to customers’ click-away caused by slow loading sites. If a page takes too long to load, your potential customer will not wait.
Another primary consideration (if not the most important) when designing a website is your content. When users search for a particular product or service and visit your website, landed there for a reason.
Your site has something they want, whether it’s a product, service, or information. If the customer is unable to achieve what they’re looking for, they will move on to the following site and so on. To get your visitors to stay and look around your website, you must give them a reason. Providing them with quality content will achieve this goal.
Remember that simple, straightforward, informative, and well-designed sites are the most successful. If you are a current e-business and your sales aren’t what you had hoped, consider the above and take some time to look openly and honestly at your site.
Spending money on improving your website is a much better investment than throwing money away to advertise and marketing a poorly design site to sell your product or services.
Should I Use A Website Template?
If you are looking for a template or a custom-designed website, be prepared to ask your chosen designer or template provider questions to ensure that your hard-earned money is not wasted on an inferior design without relevant content. Asking questions won’t cost you a penny, and in doing so, it could save you a lot of money over the long term. Getting your website right the first time is vital in terms of saving money and time. The earlier your website is up and running correctly, the quicker you will reap the rewards.
Anchor that Site!
The prime mistake Newbies make to put their website name into the Anchor Text. Unless your website contains your keywords, this is a waste of a perfect link. Remember that Google puts considerable importance on those Anchor texts, and they should always use your keywords.
The second mistake is to put every single keyword into your anchor text and give that to everyone. There are two mistakes with this technique. 1.) Google assigns weight to each word in the anchor text, so if there are many filler words (common in long sentences), they will “dilute” your target words.
Make sure you include proper META tags in the HTML of each page of your website. META tags are HTML codes that enable the search engines to determine what keywords are relevant to a specific site.
About 80 percent of all website traffic originates from the eight major search engines. It would be a good idea to make sure you’ve done your homework and fully understand how to optimize your web pages before designing your site.
Be cautious when selecting your background and text colors. Busy backgrounds make text difficult to read and draw attention away from the text. Always be consistent with your background theme on each page of your site.
Color Set the Mood
Your site should be nicely organized and uniform throughout your entire site. Keep in mind, colors affect mood and will affect your visitors as well.
For example, Bright colors such as yellow and orange cause you to become more cheerful or happy, while colors such as blue and purple have a calming effect. Dark colors such as brown and black have a depressing effect.
A good rule of thumb would be to use colors based upon the type of effect you’re trying to achieve.
What Are You Selling?
Your main page should specifically let your visitors know what you’re offering. How many times have you visited a site and never figured out exactly what they were selling? If your potential customer can’t find your product or service, they definitely won’t waste a lot of time looking for it.
They’ll go on to the following site and probably never return. Always keep in mind, customers are visiting your site for a specific purpose. They want something you offer, whether it is information, a product, or a service.
How To Improve Your Website Navigation
Design your site to be easily navigated. Place your navigation links together at the top, bottom left, or right side of the page. Use tables to align your links neatly if you have to. If you plan on using graphic buttons to navigate your site, keep in mind that it will take that much longer for your page to load with each graphic you add to your page.
If you only have a handful of navigational links, using graphic buttons will be fine. If you have over six links, it would be wise to use text links to keep your load time down.
Are Too Many Frames Bad for A Website
If you must use frames, use them sparingly. Frames, if not correctly used, can make your site look unprofessional. Avoid making your visitors have to scroll from side to side to view your content, which can be very irritating and cause your visitors to leave. If you must use frames, offer your visitors a choice—frames verses No Frames.
Try to keep the number of clicks required to get from your main page to any other page on your site down to four. Keep in mind; your visitors may enter your site from pages other than your main. Always have good navigational links on every page and place your company logo on each page.
Can Inbound Link Hurt Your Search Rank?
The answer is simple – inbound linking cannot hurt your search ranking. How is this known for sure? Well, for one, if inbound were to crack search rank, your competitors would continually link to your site from link farms. Such a scenario is beyond your control. For this reason, Google cannot penalize your site for any inbound linking.
On the other hand, you can be penalized for illegitimate external linking. It is highly advised that you not link to any website or group of sites that may be involved in shady or unethical search practices.
Doing so could result in being black-listed by Google, ultimately ruining your SEO campaign strategy. Avoid illegitimate linking situations at all costs and ensure that all external links point to trusted and reliable sources.