When you visit a web site, what’s the first thing you notice?
What’s the biggest turn-off for you when arriving at a web site?
What makes you go wow! when arriving at a web site?
Right – it’s the design and general appearance isn’t it?
Forgetting about the practical side of a web site for the moment (don’t worry, I DO think that it’s the most important aspect) let’s look at design.
The design of a web site – its layout, the colour scheme, the fonts, the graphics/images used and so on – plays a huge role in how visitors regard it.
If it’s a business site then the visitors will look for a certain level of professionalism and perhaps certain styles. If it’s a corporate site then a certain level of seriousness is expected – even to the point of it being a bit ‘boring’. For sites aimed at children there will probably be lots of colour and it’ll look fun. For entertainment/films etc. it’s common (but by no means universal) to see dark backgrounds.
The design of a site usually needs to meet certain expectations of the visitors – but not always. Great design can overcome many preconceptions about what a site should look like – but this is the exception rather than the rule. Great design can transform a web site into something special.
And this is where many small businesses fall down. They often take the ‘cheap and cheerful’ option when getting a web site built or else they scrimp on the design & build side by doing it themselves. Perhaps they hire a web ‘techie’ who’s great with the technology but less than average with design. A site built by a non-Designer looks just that – home-made.
So my main point? How ever you decide to build your small business web site, PLEASE get a good design for it. If you’re capable of building the site yourself, at least hire a Designer to provide the site look, layout and graphics. If you’re hiring a Web Designer/Web Company do the whole thing for you, allow a good proportion of the budget for a small site for the design. With larger sites the design component makes up a smaller component of the cost.