Every company, whatever their size and business sector, needs a website. Your website is often the first opportunity you have to communicate with a potential customer, and you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. Web design should be seen as an ongoing process, with a continuous process of reviewing, updating and tweaking your website content and appearance to appeal to your customers.
Who Is My Audience?
The first thing to establish is what sort of people are looking at your website, reading your blog or participating in your forums. There are a number of software packages online which will help you do this, such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics will give you valuable data about the geographical location of your customers as well as their age, gender and what keywords they have used in any internet search to get to the website in the first place. Having a clear understanding of who you are targeting your website at will provide a firm foundation for further decisions about the layout and design.
For people running blogs or smaller websites, the temptation is to clutter up the screen layout with adverts or links to affiliates as this can provide a valuable income stream. However, a balance has to be struck between bringing in the cash and keeping readers returning to your site, as a cluttered, advert-dominated site will be unattractive and off-putting. Stick to a couple of adverts only, and concentrate of keeping the layout as simple as possible.
Fonts, Colours etc
Take some time to get feedback from contacts or readers of your website regarding the font, the sizing, spacing, background colours and so on. Adjusting the size of your font, increasing the line spacing or changing to a completely different font can make a huge difference to the initial impressions of your website and also how likely people are to return. Think about the way you are presenting your text; large blocks of unbroken text can be intimidating, but using bullet points and splitting text up using paragraphs and headings can instantly make it more accessible.
An increasing number of people are accessing websites on their smartphone or tablet rather than a lap top or traditional computer, so take the opportunity to look at your website on lots of different devices to make sure it works properly and is easy to read and interact with.
If you have a comments section on your blog or a forum on your website, monitor it regularly for spam or postings by trolls. Deal with these disruptions quickly and viewers will get the impression that your website is professional run, and that you are hands-on. Social media like Twitter and Facebook is also growing in importance, but again needs regular monitoring. Share content with like-minded website owners, comment on their posts, encourage them to share with you and leave comments on yours, and respond to comments or questions left by readers as often as you can.