What you need to know about effective website design
A few months ago, a good friend opened up a new store to add to his stable of businesses. I offered my help with some of the basic setup, shelving, walkways, etc. I found it really interesting to see how much care my friend took in ensuring that customers walking through the store would have easy access to products; that their walking paths wouldn’t be interrupted by any obstacles; and that basic flow through the store would be a smooth and fluid experience.
My friend was clear as to why we were going to all this trouble – he wanted to make sure that while potential customers were in his store, he was giving them a pleasant experience that exposed them to all his products without frustrating them while they were browsing around. If customers have a chance to see all the products, and they’re not put in a bad mood, they were far more likely to buy.
My friend’s experience and wisdom isn’t really unique. I truly believe that most business owners try to do very much the same thing whether they’re selling products or services. If you’re in a store, the aisles are carefully organized, products are easy to identify and examine, and the path to purchase is usually free of obstacles (and, in a lot of cases, there are “impulse items” located very near to the checkout). For non-product based companies, it’s typical to find a comfortable and inviting office space looking well-organized, and professional – all to give the clear impression that the business is capable of providing quality services.
The same should hold true of any website. The creative and layout should all be designed to present an overall company image, while ensuring that all pathways are clear, that there are no obstacles in the way of comfortable browsing, and the road to purchase/conversion is easy to follow. With appropriate planning, a good website can be built that manages to meet the marketing needs as well as the business goals.
Don't Fall in the Pretty Trap
It seems that when addressing their website, many companies forget to take the time to develop a tool that can and will function effectively. Without a clear understanding of what the site goal is, it can be easy to create a pretty website that has no relevant purpose and therefore no added benefit to the company. However, if webmasters and marketers take the same perspective in setting up their websites as my friend took in organizing his store, it maximizes the opportunities for success and better returns on investment.
The website needs to be effective – that’s the bottom line. A wayward website is simply a waste of time, effort, and valuable marketing dollars. If the goal is to simply make the site look pretty, it’s highly likely that the returns will be less than significant. As the saying goes, “pretty is as pretty does”, and in the competitive marketplace it’s far better to be effective.