I was walking down Shermer in the old leafy suburban paradise and saw that sign announcing the new place, “Agave Anejo Mexican Grill,” and immediately had this thought: They’ll never make it.”
Why? Their sign was crooked. The restaurant owners were not paying attention to the details. One little thing mars a greater whole. It’s the tree across the path. Once seen, you can’t unsee it. Your expectations have been set.
When you build a website, pay attention to the big picture but sweat all the details. Your mother was right when she said ” you only get one chance to make a first impression.”
Websites differ in design and style. But there are certain features that all good websites have in common. Here are 6 of them:
Readability Legibility is paramount when reading digital copy. Can viewers read the copy on your website? REALLY read it? On a cell phone or tablet as well as a laptop?A good website is designed for ease of reading on ALL screens. That means fonts are web-friendly, reverse type is used judiciously (white type can be dramatic but it’s hard to read as body copy) and clutter is kept to a minimum.
Clear Messaging Will visitors to your site clearly understand what it’s all about? Or will they have to fiddle around to discover who you are and what you do?Once someone lands on your site, you’ve 15 seconds to convince him to stay.
It’s tempting. You’re a startup with tight (or no) funds. You don’t want to spend any money unless it’s absolutely necessary. You see all the DIY website promos and figure “how hard can it be?” Looks like a no-brainer. So you opt for WIX or some other development program and build your own website. For free. Over a weekend. An entire weekend!
You launch your website. But no one comes.
Hmmm. What went wrong?
Your first mistake was to assume you could do something on the fly. Web developers and designers are generally highly trained. They’re schooled and skilled in writing code, designing layouts, font and color selection, navigation, and UX. And if you hire a web development team, there’s a copywriter or content creator on board to make you sound as good as you look. And likely an SEO expert so that your website comes up when people search for a keyword or phrase that’s incorporated into your copy.
Oops. You probably didn’t consider that when you opted for DIY.
So before you waste a lot of time and commit to a drag and drop website, ask yourself these 6 quick questions:
Do you have the time to learn how to build an effective website or should you use that time to build your business?
Do you have a solid grasp of marketing and a clear picture of how your potential clients use websites?
Can you write compelling copy and calls-to-action?
Do you understand UX and how people will navigate your website?
Do you know how to use color and custom fonts to build your brand?
What will you do if you waste spend 10-20 hours “building” a site that you can’t use?
If you answered “yes” in 1-5, you might have the skills necessary to build your own site. If not, call someone who builds websites for a living.
Your business needs a website that works. Save money somewhere else.
In April, Google made an incredibly well-hyped announcement that sites that aren’t mobile friendly would not be ranked as highly as those that work well on smaller screens. That announcement generated a media storm of coverage, from innumerable tweets to articles in major newspapers. It’s brought us some business, too. Thanks, Google!
Google is not the reason you should make sure your site is mobile friendly. Your site should be mobile friendly because your visitors — a really big chunk of them — are using mobile devices and you want your site to look as good as or better than the “desktop” version. The bottom line of our argument is that most of your viewers are probably on mobile devices. Are you making them happy?Continue reading “Be Mobile Friendly for the Right Reasons”
We’ve always preached that good content is good SEO*, and good SEO gets good SERP**. That’s true, but there’s now a new wrinkle. Google cares whether your website is “mobile ready“. All things being equal, a mobile ready site will be placed above one that’s not on the search results page.
What does mobile ready mean? We’ll talk about that a bit more below. First, get a yes or no answer from Google:
Getting a website is not the same thing as having one.
You put blood, sweat, and tears into getting a website. There were multiple revisions of the design. Text was written, copied, pasted, and then done all over again. Photos taken, photos discarded. Keywords chosen and tested. The message honed and honed again.
And then you were finished, and the Internet was better and brighter for having your site.
So you’re done!
Well, not quite. Just like getting a kitten, you take on the responsibility for a friend and a life.
If you’ve ever gone house hunting, you know how important curb appeal is. It’s the “drive by factor. Even if the interior is absolutely smashing, if a house doesn’t look appealing from the outside, few potential buyers will make it inside.
That same visual appeal applies to websites. Those that haven’t been updated are “drive by’s”. One look and the (potential) visitor is gone. No matter that what you’re selling is exactly what that visitor is looking for….they won’t ever see it!
Some people are vigilant about keeping their websites fresh. Generally, they’re web designers, developers or content marketers who do this for clients on a daily basis.