Great job Anita! This is a very relevant subject for so many business owners. I look forward to seeing more articles from you.
Evaluating Your Website
Is your website attracting business or driving potential customers away? These questions will help you evaluate your website.
Isnt' it about time you thought of about your tired website. When was it last updated? Could it attract more traffic to increase business?
I do a lot of shopping online (both for products and services) and here is what I look at as I'm viewing the site:
- Does the site convey trust? If the site looks thrown-together or amateur, I wonder where else the company or person has cut corners. Will they process my order in a timely manner? Will they safeguard my credit card information? If the site doesn't look professional, I move on.
- Is the site easy to navigate? It drives me crazy when the navigation on the home page is so long that I have to scroll and scroll to find the category I want. The best sites have main topics in the main navigation with subtopics listed in a drop-down/flyout or as a secondary topic on the main topic's page. Large sites should also include a site map to make it easier to find what you need.
- Does the home page give me information or sensory overload? Another pet peeve of mine is the home page that tries to put all the information on one page instead of breaking it up logically. It usually results in page scroll hell: the kind that just seems to go on and on and on. I immediately leave these sites. You may have the greatest product or service in the world, but if I have to scroll forever to find it, you have just lost my business. A good site's home page will give only enough info to grab the viewer's attention and make them want to see more! A good site will also have "white space" to rest the eyes. Besides a good web design, I highly recommend that you hire a writer who will help you write compelling copy that will entice viewers. If you need to use animated banners or flash modules on your site, it's advisable to have a maximum of three loops; more than that and it starts to become distracting and viewers may miss important information. If you have audio, please—I beg you—have an on/off button! And if you use animated gifs, watch the flashing text/lights...if it really bugs my eyes, imagine what it does to someone with epilepsy!
- Is important information at the top of the page? I've come across quite a few sites that locate their search feature at the bottom of a very long page. Not only do I have to scroll forever to get to it, but it's easy to miss this feature if it's at the bottom. Another good idea is the ability to view a shopping cart at the top of the page if the site is selling a product. Contact information is another feature I like to see at the top of the page, especially if it's for a service and I want to contact the company or person to get information about my particular need.
- Are your site colors appealing? The right color combinations make your site more appealing to the eye...which in turn keeps viewers coming back instead of fleeing in terror. You also want good contrast between large blocks of text and background colors. You don't want viewers to get eye strain and give up looking at your products or services! One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of color...specifically colored patterns. Trying to read text against a colored-pattern background makes my eyes cross.
- Can you be found in the major search engines? Many sites lack structure and/or code that makes them friendly to web crawlers (the main way search engines find new sites). If you can't be indexed by the search engines, you're losing business! Sure, everyone wants to be at the top of the search results...but it's hard to get to that point. By using some key techniques, you can at least be in the first couple of pages.
- Is your website consistent with your brand? Be sure that when someone visits your website that it's easily recognizable as your company.
These are just a few things to think of when evaluating your website...then hire a professional to give it new life!
Learn more about the author, Anita Elder.
Comment on this article
Posted by Stacy Willoughby, Lynnwood, Washington |
May 09, 2008
Posted by Charla Davis, Hickory, North Carolina |
May 09, 2008
Very insightful article Anita! lol, I am rethinking my homepage as I type this...and to think I thought TOO much whitespace was a bad thing? I wanted to compell the viewer with a lasting memory/image/tagline from my homepage...WOW...I see that sort of thinking could steer potential clients away! No one, especially new business owners want to miss an opportunity because of overkill!
I appreciate the great tips and look to see more! Continued success to you!
Posted by Star* Morris, Everett, Washington |
May 09, 2008
Anita, Great points! I have been looking at mine thinking it may need a little push, it's a bit on the too fun side. I think your comments have helped direct me with a clear focus. I can easily design things for other people and get to their point target audience but when designing my own that's another story.
Thanks for you words of wisdom...
Posted by Micah Nyamari, Bowling Green, Ohio |
May 09, 2008
I have been receiving very good comments on my site. I am looking at my site at the moment and following your step most of my pages look okay I think. My only issue is if my site is to nice could it be a bad thing. Could you give me your opinion I would truly appreciate it. my site address http://nyamaridesigns.com
Thanks for your time and wise words.
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