User Friendly Websites

Does website design make a difference in the quality of visitor and length of time a visitor stays at a website? Of course! You've been to websites that are not user friendly and you went somewhere else. Well those sites are losing potential customers due to ineffective or even offensive website design. Whether you are an Internet newbie or an experienced marketer, you understand that good website design is part of a successful marketing equation.

Use a Logical Navigation Structure.

Site navigation menus need to be logical and links descriptive. Make site navigation easy and intuitive. Simple and smooth navigation provides convenience for the visitors. Many visitors will not navigate through the whole website to find what they are looking. When people come to your website they are usually searching for something in particular. Make it easy to find.

Keep It Consistent.

Make sure you use a consistent design and layout for each page on your site. This means using the same general color scheme, logo, consistent navigation menu, header and footer in the same location and consistent link attributes (e.g. always underlined, link list, other apparent method). This way your visitors don't become confused and lose their momentum while browsing your website. Nothing is more jarring and disturbing to a customer than feeling as if they have just gone to another site.

Include Contact Details.

People are skeptical when it comes to online business. To build trust, you must display contact details on your site. You should include your business address (preferably your street address), a telephone number and an email address or use a contact form for people to submit (many people, find contact forms annoying).

Target Your Market.

Know who your market is and make certain that your site caters to their needs. It is critical that your site reflect the values of your potential customers. Is your market mostly business professionals? If so, the site must be clean and professional. Is your product aimed at teenagers and young adults? Then your site could be more informal and relaxed. The key is to know your market and build the site to their preferences.

Professional Website.

You've seen sites where the babies are dancing, flashing graphics and pop-up ads are running across the screen asking you to click on them. Are you trying to get people to leave?

Make your website a pleasant environment. You want to go into stores that are clean, well laid out, have good customer service and have the products you are looking for. Your website should clean and helpful.

What about music?

Most business websites should avoid music. If the music is appropriate for the venue, have it "off" and give them an option to turn it on. Don't forget to target your audience, design the site for the people that are visiting your website.

Color - Enhancing The Website.

Color is an individual preference, but studies show that colors have an affect on people's emotions. Look at some top sites and review their layout and note colors. Most are simple, straightforward and so is their color scheme. Keep colors and backgrounds appropriate for your intended audience. Bright and bold colors would not be appropriate for a financial website, but might work for a website selling items to teens.

Build It for Speed.

There is no denying people are in a hurry. You have between 10 and 30 seconds to capture your potential customer's attention. Don't spend 30 seconds getting web page to load. Minimize your load times, keep graphics small and pages a reasonable length. Use "Cool" technology (JavaScript, Flash, Streaming Audio/Video, animation, pop-ups) sparingly and only if it enhances your presentation. If the pages on your site load slowly, you may have already lost your visitor before they've browsed your site. There is nothing worse than slow loading pages, people hate to wait. Slow pages equal death to an online business.


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