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Website Tips - Designing & Re-Designing

Hard to believe January is half gone. For those out there that have been thinking about having a website but maybe haven’t  gotten started for whatever reason and are still sitting on the fence  – we’ve put together a few thoughts to help you get going.

Whether your planning on building a new website or re-designing an old website here are some  points to consider.

First, know what you want…

Take a moment to decide what you want your site to do and create a simple way to accomplish that.

For example, Google wants people to use them for searching, so the search bar is predominantly placed in the middle of the screen . . . simple and easy to recognize.

You will probably want to have more than one objective on your website – so, take some time and decide on three or four related objectives that you want your website to accomplish. Have the main categories on the front page with links to more in-depth information on secondary pages.  This is also great for SEO – optimize each page for the relevant keywords for each individual page’s category.

The bottom line is keep it simple. The more actions and choices you add to your website, the more difficult it will be to build and the more distracting your visitors will find it.  These distractions may keep them from accomplishing what you want – be it

  • signing up for a service,
  • subscribing to a newsletter,
  • or making a purchase.

 Communication

If you are building the website yourself, this is not an issue – but if you are having someone else build it, this is very important. While you may have the perfect website pictured in your mind’s eye, communicating that vision to the developer may not be that easy.

Don’t be shy about being specific with regard to what you want and how you want it. This includes layout, colors, fonts, images, text, graphics, etc. The more information you can give the developer – the better the results.

One thing to remember,  when planning your website keep the most important objective ‘above the fold’ . . . an old newspaper term which loosely translated means ‘placing the headline at the top’.

It’s been said that you only have about 10 seconds to grab your web site visitor’s attention once they land on your web page – so you want to make sure they see the most important thing you have to say.

Good communication – whether it’s with the developer, the people hosting your site, or anyone else involved – will result in keeping your website on time and on budget.

Keep an Open Mind

This is true for building a new website or re-designing an old one.

For those building a new website themselves, if you find your original plan doesn’t work, be willing to make some changes. You may find the difficulty of the layout and the methods implemented, i.e., forms, shopping carts, sign-ups – are beyond your capabilities. Remember keep it simple.   If necessary, look for alternate methods until you become more proficient, i.e. use email instead of  forms.

If you’re having someone else do the work, they may recommend changes based on their past experience and knowledge.   Be flexible, be willing to listen to other ideas and simplify your plans if necessary.   After all, you want your website to be the best it can be and accomplish your business goals at the same time.

If your are re-designing a website, again you may find the changes too difficult or time consuming depending on your knowledge and/or time restraints. If hiring a developer to re-design your website, know what you want to change before you contact them, but also be willing to listen to their recommendations. They may know an easier, less expensive way to accomplish the same results.

Conclusion

Regardless if you already have a business or if you’re starting up a new business online, it is an exciting venture for the New Year. Give serious thought to your goals and desired objectives before you begin as well as keep an open mind.  Not only will this result in the website you want  but also the business you desire.   We’ve been at this for over 15 years!  and still find each new venture as exciting as the first.


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