What’s the worst website you’ve ever seen?

Ever visited a website and thought “What on earth is going on here?”.

  1. The ones with ‘verbal diarrhoea’ – We’ve seen one with over 40,000 words on its homepage! Who is going to read that?
  2. The ‘seaside amusement arcade’ ones – Lots of flashing colours, graphics that jump, spin, and leap about, and a mass of information that’s all vying for your attention at the same time. Leaving you dazed and confused and not sure where to look first.
  3. Or at the other end of the spectrum, the ones which look very ‘cool’ and ‘minimal’, in fact so minimal that there is nothing to indicate where to click to find the menu. Or the rest of the content!

Now, these are the extremes, but they all stem from the same fundamental issue: ego, and it is what causes most issues in websites. Essentially either the designer or the client (or both) believe:

  1. Everything they say is absolute ‘gold’ and everyone will be dying to read about it from the first word to the last full stop. Here’s a secret: It isn’t and they’re not.
  2. They can’t possibly condense down the text, as it’s ALL vital information that every visitor will be desperate to know. Guess what? They can, it isn’t and they won’t.
  3. The design is simply a way of showing off or demonstrating how clever they are. The visitor will be ‘wowed’ by it and instantly want to buy. No surprise: It isn’t, and they definitely won’t.

It’s natural to want to talk about how you can help your customer, but quite often this translates into ‘Me, Me, Me’. The emphasis becomes about the company, its staff, its premises, its services, how long it has been in business, yadda yadda yadda… The truth is that unless you’re a celebrity whose fans are hanging on your every word this isn’t going to work. A better approach is to assume your audience is mostly neutral or disinterested, and you could lose them at every turn.

  1. Hey, you may have a fabulously cool office and a team of interesting and wacky personalities, but so what? Does this help your potential customer work out if you are the right supplier for them?
  2. You might have been in business for decades and have a varied and ‘fascinating’ history, yawn. Longevity may help with trust to some extent, but it’s not the whole story.
  3. You might provide a wide range of complex services, but your audience doesn’t necessarily want to hear about them in minute detail. They need just enough information to want to contact you.

Instead, consider the visitor to your site: What do they want?

  1. They want to know how you can help them.
  2. That’s it.

What’s in it for me?

Can this company help me? Yes, they might talk about their services, but I want to know how that relates directly to me. Yes, they’ve been around for a long time, but are they actually any good? Everything else is subservient to this really. Your site should simply:

  1. Confirm they are in the right place – if the branding is inconsistent, or doesn’t look right then the visitor will think they’ve come to the right place. Or that you don’t care. And if you don’t care, why should they?
  2. Be designed professionally. Don’t make it difficult for people to find the answers and content they want. Guide them using clear, attractive design, a sensible layout hierarchy and easy to use navigation. And don’t force them to access the information in one particular way. Make every step easy and flexible.
  3. Be clear and concise. Get to the point – i.e how you can help them.
  4. Motivate them to act. Don’t just let them wander through your site looking about aimlessly. Tell them what they should do next in order for you to be able to help them.
  5. Be ‘responsive’ i.e no matter what size screen you are viewing the site on the layout must adapt so that you get the best user experience every time.

Why not take a look at some of the web designs we have created for our clients? All of our work is covered by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and we would love to talk to you about your next project, so get in touch! Our initial consultation sessions are always free.