Your Website Is Your Shop Window
Your main website is like the headquarters of your business. It is, therefore, essential that what a visitor is faced with when making their first visit draws them in, just as a well-planned window display in the high street encourages passers-by to take a closer look. If the home page fails to do that your visitor will move on and explore someone else's website. Here, therefore, are some website design tips.
The design and layout of your website needs to be done with great care. Remember the headline of this article: "Your Website is Your Shop Window". The large stores in London spend huge amounts of money on specialist designers to set up their seasonal displays, etc. They know that the money is being well spent as the investment will pay for itself many times over.
Most people who land on your home page will arrive via links from search engines or other websites whilst in the process of 'flipping' from one site to another, following a trail to find some specific information. The main purpose of a home page, therefore, is to catch their eye and stop them 'flipping'. The more people you can bring screeching to a halt on your home page the more successful you will be.
The use of prominent keywords related to your niche and strategically placed on your home page will always help to encourage people to remain and explore. Any FREE offers should be strategically placed where they will be seen immediately by visitors. The top right of the page is the place usually recommended for such offers. These offers will often be list-building opportunities so the importance of website design cannot be overstated.
If you have a multi-page website then the website navigation design should be easy to follow. Don't try to be clever or 'artistic' with these essential functions. The old adage of "K.I.S.S. - Keep it Simple, Stupid" comes to mind here. Too many images or too much artwork detracts from the message of the page as the words, which are the really important part, get lost in a blaze of colour. Too many images will slow down the loading of the page too. We don't want to present our guests with any reason to move on; - slowly loading pages are very likely to do just that!
The text on your website pages should be easy to read. Paragraphs should not be too long and wordy. Write in a punchy style with the paragraphs clearly separate. This helps to break up the copy into bite-sized pieces. Seeing a screen on their computer which is solid text from top to bottom will drive away a visitor before you have the time to say, "Goodbye!"
It is all too common to encounter websites which are just one massive sales pitch. In most cases this will be counterproductive. Sales pages (which are, of course, an essential part of our business) should be accessed via links from your main pages. Your main webpages, especially your home page, should be designed to draw people in to explore. During that exploration they will be encouraged to click on links for further information; that is where your selling opportunity comes.
Never insult the intelligence of your visitors by being patronizing or talking down to them in your copywriting. People who surf the internet are likely to be at least as bright as you, - if not, brighter! Be totally honest in every single word that you put on your webpages. Never resort to hyperbole which is basically dishonest. Anyway, people have got so used to it on the internet it is "water off a duck's back" - as the saying goes. That sort of approach will drive people away rather than draw them in.
Your website is your shop window so think hard about how you lay it out and what you display to visitors. This is especially true of your homepage which is your first point of contact with a visitor.
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