What if you knew that you only had two-tenths of a second to make a lasting first impression on your target audience? Well, according to an eye tracking study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology, internet users have a very short attention span and will often make judgement in just a few short seconds. Think about it…essentially this means that in mere seconds your company’s level of credibility, professionalism, and trustworthiness are formulated by your website visitors. This is certainly something to consider as you begin creating your website.
What type of impression do you want to leave? What steps must be taken in order to create an effective website? These are questions that should be considered in depth before launching your startup’s website.
Below, are a few tidbits of advice to get you started.
Define Business Goals
Before you can create an effective website, you’ll need to first determine what your goals are. It’s important to clearly define what message you want to send and what you’re looking to achieve when launching your site.
- Are you looking to inform your target audience about important information or a cause?
- Are you looking to advertise with the hopes of convincing others to purchase?
- Are you looking to entertain your target audience?
How do you want to get the message out about your products, services, or causes? These are all aspects you need to consider as you’re aligning your startup goals with your website design choices.
Identify Your Target Audience
There are millions of online users each day. Each of them has different interests, desires, and needs. To avoid wasting time on trying to reach everyone, it is ideal to determine who you want to reach. Your target audience is ideally those that you’re trying to notify, entertain, or sale to. What group of individuals does your startup best appeal to? Defining your target audience early in the website designing process ensures that you’re sending a clear message that will speak to those who would be most interested.
Design Planning Process
Once you have a clear understanding of what purpose you want your website to serve and who you’re catering your site to, you’re ready to move into the actual planning of the design. Below are a few tips on how to accomplish this:
- Company Logo – if your startup has a logo, you’ll want to incorporate that into your website design. Your logo is essentially a part of your brand, and you want to make sure that it stands out for your target audience to see. It is ideal to use quality images, and also position your company logo on each page.
- Keep Navigation Simple – Remember, you only have a few moments to capture the attention of your target audience. As such, it will be important for you to make your navigation layout easy to find and follow. If a consumer is unable to easily find the information they need, they will simply find another site that is simpler to use.
- No Need for Clutter – There’s certainly nothing wrong with adding a few images to your site to bring it to life, but too many images can be a visual overload for your viewers. The same is true when adding information to your website. When there is too much information to process, the reader gets confused and essentially forgets the purpose of your site. It is best to keep the information on the pages, short and sweet while also including a clear call to action.
- Use Colors Carefully – Your website needs to be easy on the eyes. Using bold, bright, and vibrant colors can steer them away from the message. Instead, try using neutral colors to give off an elegant and modern vibe (unless of course your startup is for children in which case brighter colors might be ideal). Another bit of advice would be to try and match your website color choices with your company logo and other marketing pieces.
- Use Quality Images – It’s certainly understandable that as a startup you won’t have the necessary funds to invest in a professional photographer for your images. However, quality is still important. When selecting images for your website, they should be clear, and relevant to the content and/or your startup.
- Choose Easy to Read Fonts – When choosing the fonts for your website, you must keep your audience in mind. You must also consider the various devices they will use to access your site. Larger fonts might look great on a computer screen but read horribly on a smartphone. Just as going with a fancy script might be easy for younger readers to translate but not older readers. Something that you have to squint or tilt your head to see is probably not worth reading – or at least that’s what viewers will assume.
- Design Each Page as a Landing Page – You cannot assume that your target audience will reach your website from the homepage. Many times, users who type in keywords don’t land on the homepage, but on the page that is most relevant to what they’re looking for. As such, each one of your website pages should be designed as the landing page. This way, no matter which page they land on, they can find the information they need. Arvixe, a web hosting service provider, gives some great advice on how to manage all your pages with the Drupal content management system.
- Don’t Forget the Fold – The fold is ideally the top half of your web page. This is the first part of the page that visitors will read and ultimately determine if the site is relevant to their needs. When designing each page, make sure that you place all important information on the top half of your website.
- Test, Test, Test, – A web design is not complete without having several testing periods. Before you present your final product to the world, it is important to make sure that everything is intact. Remember, impressions are generated quickly and an obvious mistake on your end could turn customers away. Most web design software has a test button that will allow you to see the site as if it were live. Review each page, click on each section, and make sure that everything is working effectively. If you can, ask an outside party to review your website in test mode to give an unbiased opinion.
It may seem like hard work putting together a website, but in the end, it’s all worth it. With a small window of time available to make a difference, effective web design is vitally necessary to the success of your startup. Hopefully, these startup tips will help you in creating a website that is not only aesthetically appealing, but user-friendly, and most importantly effective in getting your message across.