Most business people recognise the need to have a website, but few outside the world of web design understand whats required to make that site effective and ensure that it represents a good return on your investment.
A good website should be a balance between usability and attractiveness. A site that looks gorgeous but is hard to use is just as bad as one thats easy to navigate but looks like an explosion in a paint factory.
Lets take usability first. Its important that visitors understand how your site works quickly and that they dont have to spend time finding their way around. Youll find if you look around at other sites that most of them have a menu along the top or down the left-hand side, because thats where people expect to see them.
Theres nothing to prevent you from adding other options to your site, but its vitally important that the basics of navigation are clearly visible. This is even more important now that more and more of us are accessing the web via mobile devices. Sites need to use responsive or adaptive techniques to ensure they display properly on all sizes of screen.
If youre choosing to launch your website, you need to be sure that it will be available to the maximum number of potential customers. You will also need to check that it is fully operational, businesses like http://www.mytesters.com/ offer crowdsourced testing services to ensure it works correctly wherever you are and whenever you look.
Your site needs to work well, but its also important that it looks good. Theres a lot of competition on the internet, and even for businesses within Bristol web design is crucial to make yours stand out.
Colours and fonts need to be chosen carefully. You want your site to stand out, but you also need to make sure its readable. Theres a very good reason that most major websites have white or light-coloured backgrounds, and you depart from that at your peril.
If you have an existing style on your printed stationery – invoices, letterheads and business cards – then you can use that as a starting point for your web design by using the same colours and fonts. With a small business, you dont need to go overboard to develop a corporate image, but its best if you can be consistent as ultimately customers will feel more at home, and familiarity leads to reassurance.
If you have images on your site, they need to be carefully chosen too. Images appeal to the emotional side of the brain, so get them right and they will help with your sites impact. There are plenty of stock photographs available that you can use for a modest fee. However, they can often look too polished. Pictures which relate directly to your business, such as ones of your shop, workshop, van or staff, will give a more individual touch. You may also want to have a gallery of work that youve done, perhaps linked to comments from satisfied customers.
A good website can boost your business by giving it a wider audience and a more professional look. Start by getting the basics right, and the increased profits will surely follow.