Design Considerations

Image of website, purpose, audience
  • Do you want your website to attract people to your business or practice?
  • Do you want your website to be a source of information for those who use your products or services?
  • Do you want the website to be a corridor of communications to help you build stronger relationships with your customers or clients?
  • Do you want to take orders and sell products through the website?
  • Define your audience.

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Picture of group of website pages
A Well Developed Website

A well-developed website must be:

  • Visually appealing
  • Highly functional
  • Quick loading

A highly functional website requires intuitive and easy to use navigation. Visitors must be able to quickly and easily find the information they seek if it is on the website.

Put the most important information on multiple pages, clearly label links, and organize your site in a hierarchal manner. Put yourself in a visitor’s shoes and try to think about what information they would want and where they would look. The vast majority of the information on your website should be within four clicks of the mouse -- and within three clicks of the mouse being even better.

Many user studies have shown that users do not read a website – they SCAN a website. Information needs to be served up in 3-second slices. So, the point is to keep your writing concise and precise. Keep your writing relevant and on subject. If a user is looking for a doctor or a dentist, they don’t care about how many horses you own, how many musical instruments you play, or in becoming a personal friend. They want the meat and potatoes – where are you located, are you qualified, what can you do for me, and how much will it cost me.

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Two men shaking hands

To find new customers or clients:
  1. Encourage people to check out your website by placing links in as many online locations as feasible and especially in online directories. Be sure to not overlook any professional directories for which you qualify.
  2. Also, be sure to publish your URL on your stationary, business cards, flyers, brochures, yellow page lists, and any other printed material that you produce.
  3. Make it easy for others to contact you through your website. Have your email address and phone number on every page. Consider providing a "Contact Us" form.

Build relationships with your existing customers:
  1. Provide useful and practical information regarding your services or products.
  2. Considering offering a free newsletter.
  3. Provide photos and short bios of yourself and your staff.
  4. Consider offering discounts, and specials, for repeat customers. For example, a restaurant may have a "breakfast club" with printed cards (3.5 x 2 inches). For each breakfast, the card gets "punched" and after 10 punches the customer gets a free breakfast. Promote any such a specials on your website.

Are you a professional -- perhaps a dentist, a lawyer, a CPA, or a veterinarian?
  • Consider using your site to promote an annual seminar that is free to the public:
  • The impact, and influence, will reach a much larger audience than just those that register and attend (limit the registration to ensure that you can accommodate those that do attend – and to increase the level of interest).
  • You could leave a persistent impression with anyone reading such an announcement.
  • It is good public relations, good community service, and good business.
  • It also gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself, and your staff, to the general public.

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Picture of Elegant Wedding Home Page

  • An attractive, visually appealing, design is as important as functionality.
  • Visitors will not stay long if your website is not visually appealing and attractive.
  • A website is like your letterhead – it is a reflection of your company or practice – and often creates the very critical "First Impression".
  • If your website is sloppy, you will be perceived as being sloppy.
  • If your website lacks functionality, you will be perceived as being some what dysfunctional.

Be sure your site incorporates headers that capture attention in a pleasant manner. Be sure that graphics contribute to the overall visual appeal and is balanced with the text. A good balance, based upon the purpose and content of the website, is essential. Having too many graphics or animations can quickly become distractive and encourage the visitor to go elsewhere. Graphics can be overdone and cause a website to begin to look gaudy if a good balance is not achieved.

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Picture of Heart of Websie Content

  • Text is the heart of the content and must be easy to read – and read quickly.
  • Like with traditional print colors, fonts, typeface, line spacing, line length, and paragraph length are all important factors.
  • Colors and fonts must be coordinated and work in harmony.
  • Content must be formatted for easy reading. Short, clear, concise sentences are the objective.
  • The layout of text on the page, and its relationship with the other elements, is very important. Line breaks, hi-lighted words (no, not yellow – just bold), embedded links, and bullet points can be used to increase the “scan-ability” of your web page.
  • As previously mentioned, it has been well established that visitors to a website scan, rather than read, a web page. If your website cannot be visually scanned,then “good-by” visitor!

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Picture of Sticky Note

What is “sticky content”?

Sticky content is the tour d’force of your website. It is the meat. Everything else is the potatoes. It is the content that makes a visitor want to stick around -- and return again once they leave. If you get a visitor to bookmark your website, then you have sticky content.

So, how do you create “sticky content”?

You do it by providing value for the visitors. Provide useful information and interesting points of view; something unique, something that makes a visitor say, “I want to know more about this!”

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Picture of Trust and Creditability

Trustworthiness and credibility is another important key to doing business online. The Internet is often perceived as a dangerous place full of scams, viruses, and shady dealings. A visitor will not do business with you online if they are not confident that both you, and your website, can be trusted. So, why do some sites seem more credible than others? The first step is attention to detail and good design. Scammers are often looking for an easy buck, so their websites often look amateurish and thrown-together. They often are not intended to last. This is one of the many small, and sometimes subtle, signs that visitors recognize. And, it makes them feel uncomfortable.

How to make a visitor feel comfortable:
  1. Have a registered domain name (for example, or
  2. An email address associated with that domain like
  3. Physical address and a phone number on every page (a toll free number is the best)

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