If you were building websites to enter them in a beauty contest you would definitely be concerned about their appearance. This would be the most important thing because it would ultimately be what they were judged on. When you start building websites that need to make money it starts to get a little less important, because if you’re not making money you don’t have a business. Some people can’t understand this when they start to design a new site.
You can try anything you want to get it right, but there is something it’s all got to be based on and that is optimization. When web traffic finds its way to your site from the far reaches of cyberspace the website should turn as much people into subscribers or paying customers as possible. Before you start you need to consider some important things because without knowing what they are you might have less success than you were hoping for.
Social media icons
We’ve got to start with the biggest craze to hit the web design world since the logo. Everyone has them on their site and many more people will continue the trend well into the future, but can you see why it might be a bad idea? What do you think actually happens when someone clicks on one of your social media icons? They are taken away from your site, the place where you sell products and make money, and they are directed to someone else’s website.
A huge logo
Nowadays you see most people with a tiny little logo in the corner of their website and this does the job perfectly. Others don’t seem to get it and they have an obscene giant ‘thing’ in the corner. The reason why it’s so horrible isn’t because it doesn’t look pretty and we both know that because you’re a great designer, but it takes up most of the area above the fold. You just can’t do that because it’s your website’s prime real estate, so start making the logo smaller.
A lot of people don’t bother putting anything at the bottom of their site, but when people land on a page they have a habit of scrolling down to the bottom. That means you need something there waiting for them because without it you miss out on sales. Stick a big opt-in box there and you can also link to some of the best pages on your site. Anything that will get them to take an action instead of clicking away because they think they’re finished reading.
Where to put photos
When you look at an article you decide within a few seconds whether or not you want to read it. If the opening sentence is too long it can actually put some people off reading it. This is where you can play a trick by sticking a photo right at the top corner of the article so when people land on it they will only see half of the sentence. The other half of the line will be taken up by the photo and it will actually make the first paragraph look bite-sized and easy to read.
Do you want to have ads?
Ad revenue is amazing, but that is only if you have millions of people landing on your site every month. If you don’t have many visitors it’s a complete waste of time and the only thing the ads are doing is making your site look disgusting. You would be much better forgetting about the fast money and trying to build something people will get their credit card out for, because letting people leave your site through an ad will make you a few cents. Did I mention they look horrible?
Nice point about the ads, Nancy. Yes, they may make you a couple of bucks a month, but ads create a huge distraction to the ultimate goal of purchasing (or an email address).
I disagree with the social media icons, however. You can have those links open in a new tab. A company should want to build their social following and increase sales.
February 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm Michael
Shrinking the website logo is a great tip, you want all your juicy content above the fold. Great tips Nancy.
February 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm Jack