In this latest installment of ‘Client Questions Answered’ we will look at the biggest mistakes clients’ make when creating a website. The reasons for creating a website are many, depending on the business sector, audience, whether the site needs to sell products, allow membership functionality etc. But there are key principles that all websites need to consider and here are some of the main ones.
The design does not reflect the brand
Sounds pretty obvious, but it is amazing how many websites do not reflect the brand they are created to represent. It is important to define the brand design guidelines at the beginning of the design process and make sure that the project is always aligned with these until the page/layout design and elements are finalised and ‘signed-off’. Obviously all design work has to be professional in quality, to reflect the high standards of the business/organisation it presents and consistent with offline/print materials, such as business cards and brochures. The brand needs to be recognisable across all digital channels, including social media as the website sits at the heart of this. As such it is the digital reference point for clients and customers. The design has to accurately reflect the brand and the company values.
Including several paragraphs of content on your homepage, or internal pages, will deluge visitors with information. If you want to engage, less is more on the web. People may read this in a print brochure (debatable) but it is well documented how visitors have a short attention span and tolerance in the digital domain. Keep it brief (250-500 words per page) and split the content into bullet points, headings and concise snippets. User experience is paramount, clear calls-to-action and information architecture will help create an experience that visitors will enjoy and engage with.
Unengaging and stale content
Content is king. Recent Google updates (Penguin/Panda and the upcoming Hummingbird) have reduced the effectiveness of link building and increased the importance of new and relevant content on websites. Content needs to be sticky, make people want to share on social media (and make sure you have sharing ability on every page/post to facilitate this) and it needs to be what people want to read, informative and up-to-date. Keep it coming, regularly blog, add news items, keep page content updated and fresh.
Appeal to your target market
This relates to all of the above. But it is important to make sure your mindset is right when creating a new website. It is not for you it is for your visitors/clients/readers/customers. Your target audience. Define who they are and create user profiles and journeys. Make sure the layout/design/content is created with them in mind. Focus on the users, what do you want them to do?