Yes, I know. The headline may not be well-stated for everyone’s taste, but there’s a method behind the madness.
If your website doesn’t hit the following 5 absolutes, there’s a great chance potential clients, sponsors, donors and just the general public will give it a once over and dismiss it quickly with the simple phrase, “it sucks”.
We don’t want that.
Welcome to the 21st Century of promotion and media.
1. Make it easy on the eye.
Sounds really simple, right? Well, it’s not. That’s because plenty of people still think the “Times New Roman” font is all the rage and HAVING PLENTY OF WORDS AND PHRASES IN BIG BOLD LETTERS WILL ATTRACT PEOPLE TO KNOW HOW IMPORTANT WE ARE.
Back up. Breathe. Take a step. Hands off the color palette for a few minutes. That’s probably the first mistake I see over and over again. Too many colors. Too many fonts. Too many looks that don’t work together. Look, you wouldn’t wear a bold striped shirt with a striped tie and a thick striped jacket, would you?
Not you, Sir. We already get you think that’s a good idea. Thankfully, most people here get the drift.
It has to look good. It has to have some life to it. And the layout has to be easy to read. Take recommendations. Look around at others in your space and see what they’re doing. Make it fit your personality and that of your message. Which leads us to the second absolute.
2. If there’s no quality video on that front page, you may as well make it in crayon.
By the end of 2018, more than 80% of what will be uploaded to the Internet will be video. Where once it was difficult, it’s not easy. However, it’s also easy to screw up.
The key word in #2 is “quality”. You need video on the front page, and it damn sure better be something above shot on your IPhone.
Granted, there are movies being produced on smartphone cameras. But there’s a lot of editing and post-production involved. If you must do it yourself for budgetary reasons, get a good consumer camera and learn about lighting, audio, editing programs and the basics.
By the way, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ll get that crash course and a lot of people will panic.
If you’re a business or individual with even a small budget, get professionals to do it. Seriously. The cost is worth it. And you won’t be screaming at your editing program while waiting for “Customer Support” to get back on the line.
I’m not a big fan of auto start video. To me and many others, it’s annoying. After a second visit to the site, I’m tuning out because I know the first thing I must to do is stop the video from playing. You need to make your own call on this one.
3. Remember that most people are not looking at your website only on a desktop.
Or a laptop, for that matter. Most of the audience is turning to pads and smartphone viewing because that’s the only computer they use. And even the word “computer” is becoming archaic. This spot from Apple really makes the point.
In other words, be certain that your website is viewable on every platform, especially smartphones. Do yourself a favor and check it several times during the day on your smartphone. And the desktop. And the laptop. And the pad.
If it’s confusing to read or comes up with jumbled words or pictures that are so large they can’t be seen, your viewers are going to exit, stage right.
Time to get your head out of the 20th century and join the rest of the business world.
Think mobile. Or else.
4. Content is what it’s all about. And that doesn’t mean writing 7,000 lines of text.
Yes, we do need text to instruct people about who you are, what you do, why they should choose you over someone else. This means you have to have actual words on the screen.
But make them count. Make them informative, even entertaining. You have to PULL the viewers in and keep them interested.
If you look at your website and find yourself thinking it all tools too wordy, what do you think the viewer will take home?
Get to the point. Hire a writer if you must, and that means someone other than a web designer or a code writer. No offense, but their job isn’t to write something engaging. Leave it to the professionals.
Oh, and one more thing. That content must be spelled correctly. It must be grammatically correct. One spelling error and I, for one, am gone. It shows you’re not paying attention to small details, and that tells me you’re not what I would want representing me.
And how can you misspell anything with spell check????
5. Make it easy to navigate.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? A few clicks here and there and BOOM. You’re right where you need to be.
Doesn’t happen on a lot of websites. Far too often the number of clicks it takes is more of a maze than a statement of business.
Clicking takes time. People don’t have time. They want immediate results and immediate satisfaction, whether reading, watching or listening.
In other words, don’t make people work too hard. A lot of potential clients have the attention span of a gnat because they’ve become overwhelmed by far too much information set before them.
In the end, it’s all about the “KISS Principle”. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t be offended. Look it up. It could save your business and your career.