12 Principles of Effective Website Design
Below you’ll find 12 suggestions that can improve your business website design or provide the tools to get it right from the beginning. Please keep in mind that some of these suggestions require patience, time and quite a lot of planning. However, it’s worth it; using these 12 simple rules, you can achieve outstanding results.
1. Define your Criteria and Strategies for Success
"Try to keep your goals restricted so your message doesn’t become
Any project benefits from goal definition. Mission
statements may seem hokey and outdated but they do provide a common
agreement for your business by outlining your goals. After all, once you
know your goals you can make informed decisions.
Below are some common business website goals. Some
websites combine several goals and to an extant, that is allowable; however,
try to keep your goals restricted so your message doesn’t become muddled. In
addition, you will need to prioritize your goals because the web is a medium
of compromise and choices will have to be made. You may even want to
consider creating micro-sites if your goals are too far apart and you desire
an even handling.
The Hire Me Website
Employment is the goal of this website. It’s typically used by service and consulting industries. This type of web design focuses and targets your services and experience as well as uses benefit language to encourage contact.
The Sales Generation Website
Leads are the goal of this website. Every design and content consideration is motivated to drive potential customers through your sales funnel.
The Reputation Building Website
Focusing on your reputation the goal of this website is to highlight your company’s individuality and premiere service. Our customers who choose this type of website will often hear the term SME or Subject Matter Expert. Through blogs and galleries, this type of website illustrates your company as a SME in your field thus increasing trust and reputation.
The Informative Website
This website is the most common. Its simple goal is to inform visitors who, where, when, why and how.
2. Consider Using Micro-sites, Landing Pages and Portals
"Offer a one goal message to one visitor"
Because of the way users read the web, it’s extremely important that your message isn’t diluted. As mentioned last week, it takes a practiced hand to strike the balance between too much and too little information. Unfortunately, budget considerations often compel companies to use a shotgun approach, peppering their website with inconsistent messages and too much information, which they hope will strike a customer. One website cannot be everything to everyone one. Using a shotgun approach is more confusing than appealing.
Generally, it’s a better idea to offer one goal message to one visitor. You can achieve this tailoring by using micro-sites, landing pages and portals.
A micro-site, also known as a mini-site or weblet, is an Internet web design term referring to an individual web page or cluster of pages, which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website. A micro-site can often have a different URL.
Micro-sites are typically used to add a specialized group of information either editorial or commercial. Such sites may be linked in to a main site or not or taken completely off a site server when the site is used for a temporary purpose. The main distinction of a micro-site versus its parent site is its purpose and specific cohesiveness as compared to the micro-site broader overall parent website.
Micro-sites used for editorial purposes may be a page or group of pages that, for example, might contain information about a holiday, an event or similar item that gives more detailed information than a site’s general content area may provide. A community organization may have its main site with all of the organization basic information, but creates a separate, temporary micro-site to inform about a particular activity, or event.
Often, micro-sites will be used for editorial purposes by a commercial business to add value. For example, a retailer of party goods may create a micro-site with editorial content about the history of Halloween or some other holiday or event. The commercial purpose of such editorial micro-sites, (beyond driving product sales), may include adding value to the site's visitors for branding purposes as well as providing editorial content and keywords allowing for greater chances of search engine inclusion.
Micro-sites may be used for purely commercial purposes to create in-depth information about a particular product or service or as editorial support towards a specific product, such as describing a new technology. A car manufacturer, for example, may present a new hybrid vehicle and support the sales presentation with a micro-site specific to explaining hybrid technology.
With the prevalence of keyword contextual advertising, (more commonly referred to as Pay per click or PPC), micro-sites may be created specifically to carry such contextual advertising. Or along a similar tactic, they're created in order to specifically carry topic-specific keyword-rich content with the goal of having search engines rank them highly.
In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is optimized to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines.
There are two types of landing pages, reference and transactional.
A reference landing page presents information that is relevant to the visitor and may display text, images, dynamic compilations of relevant links or other elements.
A transactional landing page seeks to persuade a visitor to complete a transaction such as filling out a form or interacting with advertisements or other objects on the landing page, with the goal being the immediate or eventual sale of a product or service.
A web portal is a site that provides a single function or experience. Web portals often function as a point of access to information for a specific segment of your demographic. Portals provide a way for businesses to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications, which otherwise would have been different entities altogether. Portals also allow companies an extremely sophisticated answer to tailoring their website to multiple customer demographics.