Your website is a shop window to the World

Walk down any high street and you will see a few messy shop windows with faded posters and cluttered shelves? Then you will see other stores with neat and tidy window displays with everything clear and well presented. Which of these stores are you likely to enter? What first impression do these stores present to you?

This is exactly how we all view websites. We look at the web page and decide in an instant whether or not to stay and browse. This is where first impressions count for everything, and it will make or break any website. Getting visitors through the door for a retailer is just as important as getting visitors into your website.

As the saying goes... Dress to Impress. Your web page is your shop window to the World, so take the time to keep it looking smart, clear and professional, and the visitors will come in.

When a visitor enters your site they will scan the page looking for quick solutions to a problem, so don't fall into the trap of trying to cram as much information as possible onto each and every page. Maintain only one topic per page, and use bold headings, short paragraphs and bullet points that can be read in an instant. Add easy to read links or buttons to other pages for other topics and more detailed info, and don't simply bury them in the main menu. Give them a "quick & simple" answer to their problem and they will stay, and ultimately contact you.

Maintain only one topic per page, and use bold headings, short paragraphs and bullet points that can be read in an instant.

Keep it Simple

You need to make it very clear to visitors what you have to offer, so avoid adding clutter and filling space with confusing graphics and menus. Write "solutions to problems" rather than traditional sales messages, and only insert images and graphics if they really add weight to your message.

Mobile browsing now accounts for more than half of all searches, so it is very important that you consider your mobile visitors first. This is why most modern websites are now much simpler in design so that the information is presented on mobile screens in a clear and concise manner, reducing the amount of scrolling and reading needed to get 'the message'. Modern responsive websites should be able to auto-remove large images and slide shows etc from mobile displays to keep their load times fast and easier to read. Check with your designer that this feature is available.

Mobile browsers now account for more than half of all searches on the internet, so optimise your website for them and you will generate more business.

If your business depends on visitors to your store or offices, then make sure that you include full contact details and a map that can add the info to their mobile calendar. Include an easy to complete enquiry form that is not to complex, just requiring their name, email, telephone and enquiry message is all that is needed in most cases. Some people are put off by very long forms to fill in.

Call to Action

Every page should have a call to action which is simply a link or button that encourages the visitor to contact you now for more info. This ensures that no opportunity is missed to get your visitor to your contact page.

Blog It

Adding and maintaining a blog of articles related to your business can attract return visits by people who are interested in the same subject. This also encourages visitors to stay longer on your website, and adds extra content value to your website which can benefit your search engine rankings. You can use external blogs, but it is always best to incorporate a blog on your main website so that it encourages search engines to visit your site more often to update your index.

In summary, the best web design today may be considered "minimalist" compared to traditional sites of old. However, they get to the point quickly and present the business solutions in a simple and succinct manner. Don't try to force your visitors to think about what your page is about, or expect them to hunt for the links to get more information, or expect them to hang around while you explain everything in detail. Give them what they want, when they want it... which is right now... or else they will leave.

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