When you’re shopping, do you notice if the store is messy? Do you avoid stores that aren’t clean? Or are cluttered with mess?
Chances are, you do notice a messy storefront, and this affects the likelihood that you’ll buy something from them.
A tidy site
As in the physical world, so it is on the net. Your customers are looking at your website, the exact same way you might view a storefront.
If it’s messy, your clients are less likely to call in. And far less likely to buy.
Keeping a tidy site is important. By tidy, I mean an uncluttered site that is easy to look at, up-to-date, loads quickly, and has a consistent interface.
Easy to look at
Here are my tips for ensuring your page is easy to look at…
- Go for a conservative look and feel. Funky may be fun, but not if it’s hard to read
- Limit your use of colors. Choose a color-scheme of 3-4 colors, and stick to it.
- Limit your use of fonts. Choose a font-scheme of 1-2 fonts, and stick to it. Use bold-face, underline and italics to convey something specific, rather than willy-nilly (e.g. italics for the name of a publication).
- Use your color-scheme and fonts consistently, so visitors learn to associate particular fonts and colors with particular functions (e.g. blue is always a link)
- Use tables or style-sheets to create a design template for your site. Each page will conform to this template, making it easier for people to find their way around
- Use the same navigation bar on each page, so people always know where to look to visit another page on your site
- Use Google’s free site search utility. This gives visitors a way to find things on your site using a state-of-the-art search tool
- Keep graphics small, and optimize them for web display. Limit the number of graphics to reduce download time
- Limit the number of animated graphics and Flash objects on any page that contains a lot of content (unless the animation is the content). Animation is distracting, so should be avoided on pages you want people to read
keep it up-to-date
Remove links to old pages that no longer exist, and pages with information that no longer applies. Update old pages that contain out-of-date information.
Add new content from time-to-time. I suggest you add at least one new page per week, and put a link to that new page on your homepage.
This makes the site more interesting to both human visitors, and search-engine spiders.
Make sure it loads quickly
These days, most people have fast Internet connections. This means we don’t have to be as concerned about download times as we used to.
Even so, any page that attempts to make a sale should download immediately. Some factors that affect download speeds are outside of your control, but the page content isn’t.
Remove as many graphics and Flash objects as you can from your sales page. Keep the design of the page simple, and remove anything not specifically required to make the sale.
If you’re using HTML tables, and have a lot of information on your sales page, make sure the first few paragraphs appear in their own table. This will ensure the first few paragraphs appear instantly, and your visitor can start reading.
Every website has an interface, which consists of those parts of the site that help a visitor find their way around.
The best favor you can do for your visitors, is to have a consistent interface.
Ideally, your interface will be exactly the same on every page.
It will look the same. It will have the same options. And it will work in the exact same way.
Your visitors will work out how to use the interface far more quickly, if it’s the same on every page. And they’ll always be able to find their way back to your home page.
Sweeping out your website
Keeping your website clean and tidy is an easy thing to do. I personally like to tweak my site every day. I invest a few minutes in cleaning up, and keeping things fresh.
These few minutes cost me nothing, but contribute greatly to my site.
I recommend you do the same.
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