I get a lot of questions from students in my small business class at Cuesta about how to design a website that will help promote their business and be easy for customers to use. The first thing I always tell them is not to spend a bunch of money on their site. Using WordPress they can create their own site that’s simple and easy to navigate and provides all the info a customer might need.
The next thing I tell my students is that they need to do their best to ensure their site is simple and easily accessible. There are several ways to ensure this. The first element is an attractive home or landing page. This is the first page a visitor sees and could determine if he or she remains on the website or clicks off. This should be an overall summary of your business and a preview of the remaining webpages.
The second element is clear and concise content. There shouldn’t be an abundance of wording and the reading level should be a good balance of the target audience. Another element to consider is making sure the font is readable. It should not be too fancy and should also be large enough that the reader doesn’t strain to view it. Aim for a light or white background with a black font. Remember, simple is better. No videos, animations, or music. That’s the fastest way to get someone to leave your site.
Another important step is to optimize the website for local search. With all the components previously mentioned, they won’t matter if your potential customers cannot find you on the Internet. The first step to optimize your website is adding the URL address to the major search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing. When getting your business listed, you want to make sure you add your listing to the correct business category. Another way to get your business noticed is to list your website in local directories. This will ensure your business shows near the top when someone does a search for your business niche with your location. So if someone searches for “hardware store san luis obispo” your site will come up first.
Other aesthetic qualities that are important for a user-friendly website includes the color scheme and graphics. The colors should complement each other and make the visitors feel welcome and comfortable. The color conspiracy should also be uniform throughout the entire site. Graphics on the website should be clear and not distorted or grainy. This is especially true for the company logo.
The logo design should not clash with the other website colors, but rather give the site a more polished and professional look. Graphics should also be optimized and not so large that it takes an unusual amount of time to load. Most users will not be interested in waiting on a large graphic to load and either move to the next page of the website, or leave the website altogether.
Making sure your website is user-friendly is crucial. Having an accessible website to customers can mean the difference between closing the sale or losing it.