Web Design Checklist - Jul 2007
Web design Sunshine Coast
At 12website.com - Web design Sunshine Coast we follow a checklist - we like to DISS. Design It Simple Sam. Simple web page design turns a visitor into a customer, a prospect into a client, and a proposal into a deal.
Logo for web and print
It is important to spend some time on this element as this will be your identity in marketing and advertising. Do you want an image and your company name and possibly a tagline to better describe what you do?
What primary colours do you want to use throughout your site?
Web navigation menus
Do you want a top menu only, left side menu, right side menu, bottom menu, sub- menus? What categories will make up your website? Will you have a company section, products, contact, etc.? Do you want drop-down menus or single tabs? More on website links.
This is the cornerstone of all your sales efforts. From here customers need to be able to be one click or one call away from making a buying decision. What will you promote on your homepage? Mission statement, primary products, images, awards, actions to take. More on your website homepage.
Will visitors need to log-in to view certain information about your products or to view their account details?
How would you like the product pages laid out? Product to the left and text the right or product above and copy below? What type of shopping cart best suits your needs? See “Web Shopping Carts”.
Will you process payment online in real-time transactions using PayPal or will you use a merchant account through your bank where you process transactions manually? Will you accept cheques or online bank transfers?
Visitors want to be assured that their purchases are secure when buying online. An SSL Certificate helps to give visitors that extra vote of confidence to see that you have a dedicated secure certificate on your website.
Will you allow others to advertise on your site through banner ads, affiliate ads Google ads? How much space will you allow for this.
Webmasters will many times design a website without proper organsation and structure -- more often than not failing to recognise key components required in building a successful website. Proper coding and visual design aside, failure to recognise these key components can result in wasted effort -- something no website owner wishes to see.
The information above outlines the checklist for a website to succeed, now let us present the reasons why websites fail.
Lack of Market
Marketing may be based on a SWOT analysis. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Webmasters must first know their market; how popular is the demand for your service or your content? How many websites are competing against what your website has to offer? These two questions are crucial in terms of how well your website will be received. A website that is based on a market that isn't even present can be risky, though if you have demand for it, a site can hit high success. Webmasters often times fail by creating a website based on a market that is already well-involved, and as such, can easily fall short of expectations by viewers because they aren't up to par with their competitors. More on web design marketing.
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No Selling Point
Webmasters can create a website, but without properly thinking of what is going to drive their site to success, they go ahead and build it without proper planning. The selling point I refer to is simply this:
What can my website provide that other websites cannot?
To lure in users or clients, you must provide a selling point to them that can beat out your competitors. If you provide a service, you will need something that is unique and original that other competitors don't have to offer. If you provide content, you must provide content that is of better quality or provides a better concentration of content that your competitors cannot compete with. Without providing a selling point, viewers will not find any reason to stay at your website as it is just another site on the world wide web.
No Focal Point
Websites need to provide a strong focal point. I've seen many websites, and even designed a few websites of my own, without a strong focal point. The focal point is what drives your website. Websites need to provide their viewers with a strong message of what their website aims to achieve. For instance, if you have a commercial website selling products, do exactly that. Providing a mix of free content isn't going to help your site sell products -- it's targeting an entirely new user-base. Without a strong focal point or a defining message to your viewers, a website may receive viewers from different markets than what was originally intended, causing confusion within the website.
Sticking to one market will increase a websites chance for success exponentially as opposed to targeting multiple markets. More on web design definition.
Webmasters often times over complicate their website by providing too many links and too much text for their viewers to look at. The best websites on the net are those that take something that may be complicated, but present it in such a way that appears simple to its viewers. Providing too much text on a website's front page, complex layout designs, and too many links are prime examples of over complication. People like things cut and to the point. They don't want to have to decipher messages behind paragraphs and paragraphs of text.
Take for example, using an iPod. Would you rather have to read five pages of text before learning how to play music on an iPod? Or would you rather have ten one-sentence steps on how to load music onto it and play it? The latter would be the most obvious choice. So why not apply that to your website?
Lack of Communication, Human Interaction
Alright, so you've coded your website and put it on the internet. You're all done right? Wrong. Successful websites need to constantly be aware of their clients and viewers. How would you like it if you visited a website and had some issues with certain parts of their website? Wouldn't you like to give some feedback? Providing your clients and viewers with an easy way for them to give you feedback is showing that you actually care about what they have to say.
However, that is just the first step. Responding to feedback is necessary as well. There are many solutions to providing this kind of easy-communication, quick-response situation. One solution would simply be to have a forum. Another solution would be to provide an email form on your site for clients/users to give feedback, remembering to check your email and attempting to respond to each question personally.
Remember, people like to know that there is indeed a man behind the website, not a greedy corperation or some machine doing all the work.
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