April 4, 2012
Seeing your website like your customers see it
When you think about it, two different audiences probably come to your website.
First, there are the people who know who you are – they are just looking for clarification on the services you provide, or they need your contact information, or they want to know how to initiate your services.
Then there are the people who happened across your site because you came up in a web search. When they visit your page, they might not be sure that you provide what they are looking for.
This particular audience is likely to scan your site very quickly to assess if the site pertains to their particular need. To keep their attention and answer their questions, you need to make your website’s pages clearly express the services you provide – either explicitly or intuitively in an appealing, user-friendly manner.
The eye, when scanning down a web page, doesn’t always read the full page in a linear way. In this time-crunched world we look for visual cues:
- Large subject headers at the top of the text content of each page and smaller subheading text breaking up the subsections of the page. The text should be formatted such that it works well with the rest of the page and is graphically appealing in a simple way. Think “textbook” for layout and simplicity.
- Pictures that help the reader quickly understand the gist of what is being expressed in the fine print of the web page text. Most people aren’t going to read the fine print – so if you can provide a picture that helps with the time crunch factor, this is appreciated by your potential customers. If you are selling a particular product, a picture (perhaps with a caption) to show the product is great.
- Provide several ways for the customer to contact you. A contact link on the main menu plus on top of the page are useful. Also, consider putting a “Get Started” box on your home page to explicitly and easily invite people to engage with you.
Here’s an example page layout as food for thought:
This example has nice subject headings, an invitation to action and multiple means of contacting the business are displayed in prominent areas. The page can benefit from an image added to the text of the site to graphically illustrate the subject of the particular page.
Kathy Smith has developed more than 200 websites – everything from n-tier enabled applications to ecommerce to your friendly brochure-style website. She is senior developer at Lakenetwork.net, a website development company in Eastlake, Ohio.
Lakenetwork is a family-owned business providing website design and development for companies, professionals and organizations in the Cleveland, Ohio area and beyond. We specialize in providing the most cost-effective and appropriate solutions for clients’ online needs. We are located in Eastlake, Ohio.