Posted by 360 PSG | Posted in Web Design, Web for Business | Posted on 18-03-2008-05-2008
Problem 3: Too much stuff, Part Two
One thing people often forget with their websites is that they have room to spread out. A website can theoretically have unlimited numbers of pages – in business that translates to a page for every product, service or idea a business might have. So with so much sprawl space, why do so many companies insist on cramming as much stuff as possible on one page?
Yes, studies show the average web user skims one to three pages of a website before they move on, meaning you’ve got to catch their attention quick. But filling a screen with scattershot information is just white noise – your reader doesn’t want to filter through that much information.
The best strategy is to prioritize your information. Highlight the most unique, most interesting or most useful ideas, features or products on a page, and through intuitive navigation, your users will follow up on them. If you have a catalog of hundreds of items, like Amazon, organize items by category, or include a search function on your site so users can find what they want easily.
An added benefit of targeting featured products or services – it allows you to show off your company’s best features, presenting your company in its best light.
Problem 4: The Professional Look
The early promise of web business was that anyone has the potential to make it big. It’s supposed to be the great equalizer – the guy in the basement on his Dell could build a company to rival Microsoft. Today there still is that potential, however it takes more than a basic knowledge of HTML to build an effective website.
A carryover idea from the early days of the Internet is that all a business needs to get online is a tech guy who knows how to code. For a time, it was possible to pull that off. But as websites and web business has become more complex, it takes more than a basic knowledge of HTML and Microsoft Frontpage to build an effective, dynamic business website.
Web business is no longer an emerging, risky industry. It’s an established medium to reach customers – one of, if not the most cost effective ways to market your business. A good website is an expectation customers have of a business – it is almost as important as your brick-and-mortar shop. People get a feel for what kind of business you are, what type of business owner you are by the look of your website. Don’t mess around with your image by cutting corners: get help. It’s worth every penny.
A clear, well-designed website projects a professional image. Huron Sprinklers is a well-established, professional sprinkler system installer. They have a good reputation and good local business. However their website used to look like this. It looks like an inexperienced designer put this together in their spare time…all five minutes of it. In fact, that’s not far off from what happened – their original site was designed by a neighbor kid, basically working from the book HTML for Dummies.
The right thing to do is get help – for a business website, it’s the right thing to invest in a web development partner. There are three good reasons for this:
- Web developers know what works. Web business has evolved enough to know what tricks work for web pages, and what doesn’t. Working within the industry, they also analyze where web trends are heading. It’s true your web developers will never know your business as well as you, but they’ll know how to present and market it best on the web. 1a)Web developers know what works…for EVERYBODY. This is, seriously, one of the most overlooked problems with homebrew websites – W3C compliance. In a nutshell, that means your website looks the same for every visitor, regardless of whether they use a Mac, a PC, Windows, Internet Explorer, Firefox, whatever. Developers test designs for all these things, making sure your business reaches everyone.
- Web developers save you money: If you don’t have the skills and tools immediately available to you, building your website takes time and money you don’t want to take away from your normal business. In fact, the time commitment might be why you might not have a website yet. Look for a web developer that can take the sting out of that investment – someone who makes it easy. Some one like (PLUG ALERT!) 360 PSG. Here’s why – companies like us handle EVERYTHING for the web – hosting, design, content, programming, e-commerce. We have it all in one place, working together. It’s solutions like ours that make the web that cost effective solution.
Problem 5: Can your host handle the party?
Let’s say your website is up, looks good, is very usable and is getting noticed on search engines. In fact, business is booming – you’re getting hundreds and now thousands of visitors a day. But one day, everything goes dark. What happened?Probably one of two things:
- Your site got more traffic than your web host’s server could handle.
- Your web server got hacked.
Not all web hosts are created equal – going for the cheapest option may constrict your business. A cheap host might not have the bandwidth for your growing web business, or charges a steep premium after that cheap hook. Or that web host might not be as secure as you need – particularly if you handle online payment transactions through your site.
Look for a web host that can grow with your business, and also one that has security options in place to protect your data. For example 360 PSG has its servers in a secure, Level 3 datacenter nearby our offices, with a powerful generator backup, climate controlled facility and a redundant lock system. And that’s just the physical protection – firewalls and other web security measures make our servers secure enough for almost any business. And because it’s located nearby our headquarters, 360 PSG staff can respond quickly to any issue that may arise.
It’s that kind of protection you want for your business data, and one that will not only protect your data, but give your customers the confidence to trust you with theirs.