This is a short piece that I wrote back in 2002 would you believe, yet it applies even more today! I’ve added a few extra pointers …
Website design – Is your website over-designed?
Don’t get too enamored with overly designing your website
Simple is best with website design
Here are are simple rules for you to follow
Don’t get too enamored with overly designing your website!
I’ve just been reminded about this after ‘simplifying’ one of my UK websites.
From what was (I thought) a clean professional design, I went to an even clearer and more direct design – but with an improved graphic heading (well I like to think so).
... Clean up your website to boost your search engine rankings.
That, combined with a newly designed graphic, hits and subscriptions have shot up.
- Make your message as clear as possible – Promote the benefits of what you are selling, not it’s features. People want to know what they are going to get out of buying from you, it’s purely selfish.
- You can look too professional as well as too amateurish. Who is your audience? Who are your target prospects? Who do they want to have written/produced the product – a multinational or someone ‘just like them’?
- Test, test, test. There are several companies offering "split-test" tools - these are great tools for doing a-b testing. You can design yourself different home pages and have them appear in rotation to your prospects. Then track the hits from the individual pages to find out which page scores the best turnover. Use these tools to test design and copy. Fantastic.
(Added 2017 – Well the tool that I recommended back in 2002 is no longer available, but there are several new tools out there. Do a search on your favourite search engine for “web page split testing software”.)
- Simple fast downloading graphics. Not too many, and keep them focused to the job in hand – to enhance your prospects experience (i.e. make them more confident in you and your product).
- Spell, html, meta-tag check your pages and submit them to the search engines. I am currently recommending a very good and low cost service which does all that, as well as having a smooth search engine submission service. All for $24.95 a year XXXX.
(Added 2017 – So there are some great free tools out there now:
https://validator.w3.org/ will check all your HTML code and show up any errors.
Search engines do not like HTML errors.
https://smallseotools.com/meta-tags-analyzer/ will check and advise on your meta-tags.
Meta-tags create what is used to display search engine listings.
https://www.w3.org/2002/01/spell checker Online web page spell checker.
Search engines do not like spelling errors and will downgrade your page.
https://www.bad-neighborhood.com/text-link-tool.htm Check if you have bad links to your site, reducing your search engine rankings.
Search engines will reduce where you end up in their listings if you have what they regard as “bad links” going to your website. Find out if you have any, then get them removed.
Added 2017 – With the growth of mobile devices, it is even more important today that your website is fast loading, responsive (able to work on multiple platforms, PC, Tablet, Mobile), and leads the visitors easily to the information they want.
As well as the above, make certain that you use a “responsive” website template/design, to guarantee maximum exposure for your website. If your website designer doesn’t know what responsive means – get a new designer. If you are doing it yourself using a template, make certain it is a responsive template, and check it yourself before parting with any money.
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