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5 Must-Haves When Designing Your Website

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So you’re off to a not-so-great start with your small business. You’re looking over your options and decide that a website is the best solution for you. You throw something together over a short period of time and voila, a website! Unfortunately, you notice that you’re getting very low traffic, and the traffic you do get doesn’t stay for very long. In other words, they don’t like what they see. Well, fret no more. Here is a list of 5 aspects that will help you succeed:

  1. Header. When you first walk up to a house, what is the first thing you notice? The interior design or the carpet and walls? You probably notice the front: the door, windows, and face of the house. This stands true for websites as well. Visitors to your website will see the header before anything else. Make it interesting. Grab their attention, and make it something meaningful to the core of your business. If the header is boring and uninteresting, nobody will want to venture further. Headers should always contain the primary source of contact information for your company. This can be a phone number, an address, an email, or any combination of the three.
  2. Navigation and Convenience. So your header caught some attention, gave them a brief look at what to expect from the site, and now they are diving deeper. As they look into your business, they will need to be able to quickly and easily access what they are looking for from any page of the site! Nothing can be more irritating to someone than dissecting a site to find one piece of information they are looking for. Make this information accessible from anywhere in your site. If you are selling a product, make sure the pricing is within one click from the product’s information page.
  3. Accurate Content. It may seem obvious to some, but keeping the content on your site appropriate is something that can make or break a site. Your content is the most important piece all. What should your content include? Well, it depends on what your site is about. If it’s an informative site then having a paragraph or two is not enough. On the other hand, if you are a photographer advertising your portfolio, you may not want to have a novel on each page. Focus on the topic at hand. Let your visitor know that you know what you do, and you know it well!
  4. Clear and Concise. Okay, so this goes hand-in-hand with content in so many ways, but it deserves its own special point. Content is the information you are giving the reader, and it goes without saying that it should be clear and concise.  Make your content as clear and concise as possible, but don’t lose any of the magic of the content. Just make sure what your presenting is all on the same topic, and gets straight to the point. Readers came to your site to get what they wanted and, if you are selling a product or service, to purchase it or get an estimate. They do not want to sit there and unscramble your content as if it is a word search game.
  5. Keep It Interesting. Yes, it’s as simple as that. A page deemed as “interesting” really varies from person to person, and, more importantly, from website to website. Give your site some spark. Give it life. Give it something unique. Pictures, graphics, and appealing colors and designs are usually a great place to start. Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you’re ever in doubt with your website, take a step back. Rethink what you have and approach it as the visitor. What do you know within the first ten seconds of visiting your home page? Hopefully they get a lot and like what they see. Make everything easy for the visitor…and easy on the eyes!

Ryan Gavin is an associate with Ignition72, a Baltimore-based web design and interactive digital media development agency specializing in websites and interactive development for businesses of all sizes.

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