They say the devil is in the details. As you’re developing your new business website, that old adage might ring true. From color palettes and font styles, to imagery and SEO, there’s much to consider and many options at hand.
The following website design tips and website content guidelines might help you make better-informed, more confident decisions as you create a website that gets noticed for all the right reasons.
Tips for an Out-of-Sight Website:
#1 Make Your Presence Known
When it comes to choosing a website title, consider not only that you want something catchy and memorable, but also something that’s easily found in search engine results. For example, if you have an established business name, this might likely be your website title.
However, on your website, you might want to elaborate on that business name to make it more “SEO friendly.” For example, say you’re a caterer in the Tampa Bay area and your business name is Wine & Dine. For search engine purposes, keywords such as “caterer,” “caterers” and “catering” would be relevant, as would “Tampa Bay.”
To achieve better local search results: Your website title could be: Wine & Dine Caterers of Tampa Bay. Likewise, you might simplify your website title to Wine & Dine but elaborate on what you do/where you are with a tagline. For example, your website title might be Wine & Dine, while your accompanying tagline might be: Premier caterers of Tampa Bay.
#2 Wear Colors That Look Good on You
Few elements set the tone for a website more than color. And while you may have your own personal palette preferences, it’s less about individual taste than it is about setting the appropriate “mood” for your business. Sure, black is classic, but it’s not what comes to mind, say, when we’re talking about tropical beach getaways or healthy/holistic stuff such as all-natural supplements, yoga instruction and the like. Think white for clean and pure. Watery blues for the great outdoors. Earthy green shades (such as celery or granny smith apple) for a natural twist. You get the idea.
Those designing their own websites with help from EarthLink’s EasySiteWizard Pro have some of the guesswork taken out of the equation thanks to templates with complementing palettes, chosen by design pros/grouped by industry.
#3 Get Your Message Across
Writing for the web is vastly different from print messaging — the web being a “less-is-more” medium, where visitors can skim and still get the message.
Among the ways you can make website content more effective:
- Have punch. Keep sentences punchy, concise and to the point. Generally speaking, one idea per paragraph is a good guide.
- Be brief. Short paragraphs are preferred. To help you control paragraph length, you might list what you can in a bulleted format. Of course, too many bulleted items in a row is a no-no. No more than seven bullets (in a section) works.
- Lead the way. Subheads are a writer’s best friend. They provide a break for the eye, lead into content and intrigue readers. Internal page subheads, followed by brief paragraphs, followed by bulleted items = good flow.
- Take action. Using action verbs definitely livens your message, as does taking a personal yet professional approach. “Talk” to your visitors one on one. For example, rather than rattle off, “We are located in Anywhere, USA and specialize in this, that and the other…” think from the customer’s perspective. What’s in it for them? If you’re resolving a common pain point for customers, play it up…“Tired of paying too for this, that and the other? We not only sympathize; but we also offer highly affordable solutions that have proven successful….”
- Proof it. While it may seem obvious, it can’t be overstressed: proofread your content before going live. Nothing looks less professional than a typo or spelling error. Remember, too, to avoid dating content with statements such as, “We’ve been an industry leader for 17 years.”
#4 Annotate Links
Should you be providing links within website, consider growing resistance toward “click here.” Why? It’s said “click here” says nothing and therefore won’t engage visitors. You can easily avoid the issue by annotating your links. That is, actually describing the content readers would be linking to. For example, you could hyperlink an entire sentence or part of a sentence (e.g., This recent article by John Masters published in The New York Times offers a unique counterargument for…).
#5 Be Mobile
If you’re not big into smartphones, tablets and PDAs, as they say, it’s easy to overlook how many people are. By not creating a mobile version of your website, you could be alienating a good portion of website visitors, who have come to expect a mobile-friendly website experience that includes conveniences such as “click to call.” It may sound like a challenge, but it’s anything but when you opt for a website hosting plan that includes a mobile website. For the Do-It-Yourself crowd, EarthLink’s Business Website Plus plan is one highly affordable option.