Unfortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and art is subjective. So opinions will vary as to whether or not your site “looks good” or not.
However, if you move beyond the subjective aspect of the website appearance there are some pretty clear industry standards for what is functional, modern and best practices concerning website design.
1. Does your website have a Fixed Width boarder?
Have you ever thought it would be a great idea to put something in all that blank space to the left and right of your website? Some refer to this style as a “boxed” format. It is a clear indicator that your site is several generations out of date. When your content and images do not go to the left or right edge of the screen, you have a box. Normally that empty space was filled with a picture or back ground image like wall paper. Why waist the space?
2. Check your site on a mobile phone.
If your website looks like a very small version of your actual website, then it is not mobile friendly. If there is an m.yourwebsite.com in the address bar, then it is a separate version of your website called an m dot site. Google has now acknowledged that more searches are done on mobile phones now than on desk top computers.
If that is not a good enough reason to make sure your site works properly on a mobile device, then keep in mind that because of Google “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update, if your website does not pass their mobile friendly test, it is highly unlikely to show up on a mobile search.
3. Consistent Branding Across the Web
Every space on the web that says anything about your company should have the same look, feel and style so that it is easy to identify that it is you. Your Facebook page, Yelp listing, Google plus listing, etc., should all follow your branding colors, logo, name, address and phone number. Hopefully this branding carry’s through into your office if you expect customers to come through your front door. It should go without saying that your print material would share this branding as well. Your goal is to be recognized easily by every person in your desired market.
4. Do you have a Blog?
You don’t have to be a prize winning author to write a blog. You are the expert in your industry. We live in a highly specialized society, it’s not hard to know more about your business than 99% of the general public. So, share some of that knowledge. Don’t hold back, give them the good stuff and do it on a regular basis. You set the pace, it can be daily or weekly or monthly if that is the best you can do. If you are short on time, you can at least throw up a picture and a brief explanation.
Your blog is the place on your site where you can add “New Relevant Content”. Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm emphasized the need for new relevant content and this is the easiest way to provide that. This will help your on page optimization to improve your search results.
5. Can you scroll down on your page?
People are accustomed to being able to scroll up and down on their phone and now on most websites. If your website does not do that it tends to be annoying. It is best to not go against the expected norms when dealing with the public.
6. Tell them what you want them to do.
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Marketing professionals refer to this as a “Call to Action”. It is one of the biggest mistakes that business’s make when they make it difficult for a person who wants to move forward with the conversion to not be able to do so. Remove all barriers to entry and make it clear what you want them to do and how to do it. Even if they are not going to make a purchase, at least get them to like your Facebook page or sign up to receive the newsletter by email.
7. Large Blocks of Text / Small Images
In general, most people have a natural revolution to large blocks of text. This article addresses that issue in a humorous way. Putting large blocks of text on your website without breaking it up somehow is like asking your date to marry you the first time you go out. It’s just way too much to commit to until I get warmed up. Pictures are the best way to break it up and communicate a concept without any effort on the reader’s part. Pictures also convey an emotional concept at the same time and warms up the reader. It also helps to have bullet points, headers, breaks in the text, bold face headings, charts, graphs, illustrations or video’s. There are many ways to take the edge off and make the content easier to digest.
8. Font Size
This is similar to the problem in #7. You have three things to consider when picking a font size. A large portion of your readers are getting older and small fonts are a challenge. Screens on desk top computers are getting bigger and the resolution is normally set pretty high which means the normal font size will show up small. More websites are now being accessed by phones than any other device. So, make it as easy for the reader as possible and pick a font size that is easier to read.
9. Staff Pictures
I realize that not many people qualify to be a model, however, it is never a good idea to put stock photo’s representing your staff. As long as you don’t scare small children and puppy dogs, you will be fine. If you do scare people with your picture, then perhaps a caricature. Having real pictures of you and your staff makes your business look more legitimate. It is human nature to evaluate who they are dealing with. A faceless entity is harder to trust.
If you would like a free evaluation of your current website and what we would propose to make it better, call eCreations at 623-434-1622