One of the first things you should ask yourself is what you want your website to accomplish. Until you can answer that question, all else is a moot point.
Most would say that they want to ‘get more business‘ and while that may be the primary objective, there is usually more to it than that. You might use your site for any of the following purposes:
- To sell your product or service
- To build a subscription list for marketing purposes
- To build links and increase exposure to enhance current advertising
- To provide information for customer service or be a technical resource
Your website could be the first and only opportunity to create a favorable impression on your potential customer.
It should be obvious what you want your visitor to do when they visit your home page. This is your Call to Action. It needs to be clean, clear and concise. Here are some very good examples of a call to action:
Quickbooks wants you to try their software for 30 day FREE
It’s pretty obvious that Zynga wants you to play a free game to engage your interest
Your website should be straightforward, easy to navigate and read. It needs to contain credible, valuable information that is actually useful to the audience you are addressing. At the same time, it bears repeating that spelling and correct grammar are critical.
While style and navigation are important, users will notice the quality and relevance of the content to a greater extent than they will notice the navigational issues or the page elements. Similarly, when a page comes up, users focus their attention on the center of the window where they read the body text before they bother looking over header bars or other navigational elements.
Be sure to make generous use of empty space (also known as white space). It gives people a chance to rest their eyes as they scan from one thing to the next on a page. Space creates structure and can mean the difference between a good site and a completely unusable one. Give the content on your site room to engage the reader and people will do the same as they scan and browse through the information you’ve provided.
Having a website is still the primary way that you get to tell people about yourself, your values, your services and what benefits they offer. Users often leave Web pages in 5–15 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition will keep the reader’s attention for much longer.
In a future article, we will present the future of mobile websites and what they mean to your business.
Dave is a developer for Yellow Frog Media where he works on websites for small to medium sized businesses. In the past he has served as a blogger, teacher, software developer and project manager. He resides in Arlington, Texas with his wife Charlotte and their four-legged child. (A Jack Russell Terrier mix named Eddie).