Website Design -
More than meets the eye!
There is no doubt about it, an attractive, compelling website design helps keep potential customers on your website and it communicates professionalism, competency... or not. The bottom line: Don't let the pretty picture distract you from the main intent of functionality.
Websites can be really quite simple and functional yet still inexpensive. A simple functional website can still rank very well in the search engines. The search engine robots do not notice or care what your website looks like. The only relevancy here is if your website's design stops people from referring others to your business.
I work with several creative website designers that make functional and attractive website designs. Together we can provide you with a product that serves your customers with easy access to answers about your business and selling your accommodation as their ideal choice. These websites also speak clearly to the search engines convincing them that this website is the one that they should rank at the top of the page of search results.
Websites can also be extremely complicated affairs, the design itself can involve many professionals and weeks of work. There is a huge span between website design options, there are many websites on the internet which are honestly master piece works of art. Stunningly beautiful and clever and functional.
So when it comes to website design you may find yourself rightfully overwhelmed with the choices available. I can't stress enough that this is a critical decision, and I cringe knowing how often businesses, which have a very limited budget, often take a dive by investing too much capital in the way the website looks. It is far too easy to believe that spending $1000 or even $3,000 is the right thing to do. This is, after all, your first impression that you will give to almost all of your future customers.
To help bring this discussion into perspective I point your attention to the most popular web page on the internet. The google.com default search page. Elegant? Too simple? Certainly functional. Or take a look at facebook. Again simple and to the point. In a word, functional. And that is the main point to remember. Functionality. If you want, you can always redesign your website at any point in the future. To begin with however, and really at every step in the process never let your focus stray from functionality.
In my book functionality includes search engines as the main customer base. Can they use your website and find every page, understand your message and intent? Don't let the pretty picture distract you from this crucial aspect of your website's design. Besides function keep these points in mind when considering website design:
- What you don't see is more important than what you do see.
- What are your customers looking for? Make it easy to find.
- The contact page is one easy to find step, or less, from your home page.
- Your location and your prices are easy to find. Small font links from a linkbar is not good enough, this is what most customers want to know.
- Your design is not cluttered.
- Your site is easy to look at and to read.
The rest is superfluous. Fancy buttons and gadgets are fun but are they going to result in more customers or a higher search engine rank? Fancy flash designs may look great but usually result in your website disappearing in the search engines - use with caution.
Word Press Websites:
With training in Search Engine Optimization a Word Press website can be nearly as competitive as a standard HTML website created in Dreamweaver. If you do not already have a website then we advise considering a website created in Word Press. There are a number of really great advantages to Word Press websites for you as the owner. There are also some disadvantages which can easily outweigh the advantages. If you are in a highly competitive area then you will find it difficult to out compete the competition with WP. If you don't want to continually add to and modify your website, then again you are probably better off with a standard website.
Here are some advantages of Word Press
- Great looking websites made quick and cheaply
- Easy to change the look of the website
- Easy for the owner to make modifications without outside help
- Can be very search engine friendly if optimized properly by SEO specialist
- Easy interactivity with your readers such as reviews and comments
- Designed for Blogs so should be changed and added to frequently
- Have inherit but usually minor disadvantages that will weigh against you in a stiff competition
For most applications we will recommend using Word Press as a website tool. Most owners find being able to make changes themselves very desirable and the ease of making the website and making changes to the way it looks is a great advantage in its favor.
We will suggest against using WP and reccommend standard HTML websites if your competition is such that you need every edge you can find or if you are not likely to want to fuss with the site.
Ultimately it is not so difficult to recrete a WP website in the standard HTML format if it turns out that WP is not working well enough, so there is little to be lost in starting out with a WP website.