5 Great Web Design Lessons I Learned From My Mother
This article contains 5 great web design tips that you need to know. I’ve been a Web Designer now for over 20 years. In dog years, that’s like 119. In web years I reckon that’s at least 255 years, which makes me pretty experienced, however you add it up. What have I learned in all that time?
I’ve learned that the user experience of your website is the most important part of the whole interaction. If you think that’s an obvious statement, wait until I tell you that most websites I see on the internet don’t apply this basic principle.
Surprised? Then you’ll be astonished when I ask you to consider this: everything important we know about the user experience of websites was taught to me at my mother’s knee. Am I right? Lets, find out…
If You Have Nothing Good to Say, Say Nothing
If your home page takes half an hour to read, you’re getting it wrong. Keep your copy relevant to what your visitor wants. Write everything from their perspective. If it doesn’t help your visitor understand what you can do for them, cut it out. Even if it’s the best prose you’ve ever written. Even if it could have won you a Pulitzer Prize. Really, just drop it.
It Costs Nothing to Be Polite
You’d be surprised at the number of websites I see (and have been asked to improve) that seem to think the customer is an enemy to be resisted. This is reflected in unfriendly copy (see above) and unwelcoming, harsh designs (see below). Use colours that are easy on the eye and designs that make it easy for your visitors to read your enticing and informative copy. Make it easy for them to send you an enquiry. Respond quickly to those enquiries. Acknowledge that you respect the time that they have taken to read your site and contact you. Make them feel special.
Always Look Your Best
It takes just as long to make a good-looking website as it does an ugly one. And believe me, there are some ugly ones (yes, you know who you are out there; hang your heads in shame, I’m talking to you).
So why do people still waste their time building ugly sites that put clients off? It’s often because they’ve picked the wrong web designers. Some companies are still getting websites built as a favour by inexperienced pals, or the work experience intern (you wouldn’t trust a car built by the inexperienced no matter how keen they are, so why trust your company’s brand to them?). Worse still, some people are using free or budget templates. Or they’ve adapted something else to look a bit like a website. Don’t be fooled, that approach is never going to be robust enough for your business needs.
How do you pick the right web designer? Talk to several, discover whether they have the business savvy to work with you on your future success as well as the experience to see the bumps in the road ahead. Look at their portfolio of work. Ask if you can talk to a couple of their previous clients. Then actually follow up and see if they are still pleased with having used them.
You Never Call, You Never Write
There’s little more frustrating for a site visitor than realising that the website hasn’t been updated for months or even years. Think about that: if you don’t care enough about your site to keep it fresh and relevant, why should anyone read it? If they’re not reading it, they’re not contacting you. If they’re not contacting you, what’s the point of having a website in the first place?
So how do you keep your site fresh, interesting and informative? Think about adding a blog to your site. Also, make better use of social media and integrate it with your user’s website experience. Are you displaying your twitter feed on your site? That’s a good start but not enough on it’s own. Are you cross-pollinating references between your website and your social media channels?
Make Lots of Friends
Nobody wants to sit in the lonely corner of the playground. Make friends with some of the other kids. They’re nicer than you think and will be pleased if you shared some of your toys. Swap links with other websites that offer complimentary services or products to yours; that way you both benefit from one another’s traffic. Making friends with Google and Yahoo! is the best SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – read your dictionary!) tip I can give you. Google is not your enemy, work with them and they can be a really good friend. Plus, Google is so big that you won’t get any trouble from the kids with the knuckle-duster hands. Remember: the easiest way to make a lot of business connections online is via social media so get cracking. Start by reading this guide to getting started on Twitter for business.
5 Great Web Design Lessons I Learned From My Mother – Next Steps
There you have it, how to make your website a real mover and shaker, courtesy of my mother’s best advice. Want some more? You’ll have to ask politely. Send me a email or follow me on Twitter (@inspirationguy) because I like to make friends. My mother said I should, and she was always right.