Good, compelling text content is the most important component of your website. It’s more important than images, videos, or animations.
Whether we write your web content, or you do it yourself, you need to state benefits quickly and succinctly. Web visitors scan text rather than read, so you only have seconds to state your case. If you can’t explain why someone should buy your products or services in a few clear sentences, it’s unlikely your website will succeed. We can write effective text for you, but you must first explain to us what makes your business better than the rest.
Here are some writing tips to get you started (we offer a white paper on writing to all clients)…
You’ve probably seen the commercial from a certain accounting software firm that offers a free website builder (does that mean you hire a web designer to do your taxes). Others offer similar site builders, too. Why hire a web designer, right?
IF you’re building a personal site for family and friends, these site builders are fine. But if you need a website that will create new business for your company, or support for your charity, a “free” site builder is likely to prove the adage “The cheap ends up expensive.”
Everyone has come across a “ghost town” web site — that’s the site where the “latest news” is two years old. It tells visitors that the lights are on but no one is home, and worst of all it raises questions, such as “Do they still provide this product or service?,” “Is there something better that they now offer that’s not on the site?,” or “Are they even in business?” Clearly this isn’t the best first impression and can deter future customers.
A splash page is an introductory page to a web site that rarely provides useful content, instead featuring eye-candy or Flash animations. Designers may use them to show off artistic skills, and site owners think they attract attention or look cool. But site visitors can’t stand them because they take a long time to load, and usually provide no navigation option other than “Enter the Site.”
Imagine going into a grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. Before you can grab the bread, the store makes you look at other products first. Then, before you can check out, they ask you for your name, address, phone, e-mail, and want you to register a user name and password. Ridiculous, of course…
The relationship between your IP, web host, and domain registrar can be very confusing, but a website owner must understand the role of each. Most importantly, the web client needs to have access to their domain registrar, or potentially risk the loss of your domain name! The entities are…
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting everything on the home page. You have a lot to offer your web site visitors, but it should be carefully presented.
Think of the problem this way, you’re in Vegas; adding one more neon sign to a storefront isn’t going to make you go in. So adding one more “must-have” on the home page when there are ten or twenty things to look at won’t help.
When a web page overwhelms the visitor with options, the visitor will look at nothing or just pick the first thing that might be what they want. Rather than have visitors leave your site or guess which product/service they need, you should focus your message and present a few (3 or 4) options from which to choose.
It’s your site, and it should look the way you want it to, right? Wrong. The site should be designed for the web visitor/customer; not the boss.
Yes, you should be happy with the design, but the site isn’t supposed to sell you—it’s supposed to sell your target market. You’re already convinced of the merits of your products or services, but your market needs to be convinced.
In the past, we’ve made mistakes, and learned from them. Mistakes aren’t bad – just try to learn quickly.
“It’s important that nobody gets mad at you for screwing up,” says Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3 in an article on Pixar in Wired. “We know screwups are an essential part of making something good. That’s why our goal is to screw up as fast as possible.”
So here are four common website mistakes that we’ll explore in subsequent posts:
1. Designing the site for the owner rather than the audience.
2. Too much on the home page.
3. Splash page and focusing on animations rather than good content.