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Articles on Web Design & Graphic Design »1 2 « BACK

Making your Web Site work for you - not against you

For a Web site to be an effective investment for your business it must be publicised, and contain sufficient content to keep visitors coming back. It may seem obvious, but for your Web site to be successful, you must achieve two key objectives:-- get people to your Web site; -- keep them there.

Many Web sites fail on one or both of these tasks - it could be the most beautiful, elegant, usable and interesting Web site out there, but unless you can promote it, it will take a long, long time for your web presence to be of any real value. Similarly, no matter how hard you plug, promote and advertise your Web site, unless there's something there for people when they do browse to it, it's all a wasted effort when they see what they've heard about or looked for, and say 'Is that it?!'

An ideal RFP would clearly specify all the requirements. It would allow the designer to present you with a proposal based on your needs, and needless to say, the more details your RFP contains, the more accurate a proposal the designer is able to present.

There are ten or so guidelines that are almost universally agreed upon to make a good starting point to a successful Web site. Here is my version of the guidelines.

1. Raise Interest
First and foremost, get your audience interested. You need to get them hooked by what you can offer to do for them. You need to tell them clearly and succinctly in terms that they understand, and in terms that relate to them.

2. Be Interesting, Be Relevant
Make sure that you have something of interest and of relevance to your audience. If you have a wide and mixed audience, make sure that you have a mixture of content for them. If all you have is eye catching, whiz-bang graphics and multimedia, the audience you catch is going to be the browsing, thrill-seeking and almost always non-spending audience.

3. Individuality Wins Visitors
Make your content unique and distinctive - your personal, individual contribution. If what you have to say covers the same ground and from the same perspective as the rest of the world, then guess what? Your visitors will be able to go elsewhere to someone bigger, more established and more original.

4. Content is King
Content is King - make sure that your content takes centre stage, not the presentation and graphical fun and games going on all around it. A site doesn't need to be overloaded with spinning wheels, flashing lights and graphical niceties for it to be attractive.

Remember that visitors are impatient. The key is the five second rule: either get your message on screen and ready to read in five seconds or less, or forget about it. If you can't do it in five seconds, make sure that you get enough of a hook to keep your visitors attention while the rest of the page is loaded.

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