Looking for a way to optimize the effect of a design-driven business website? A lot of owners are leaning more towards offering an “experience” to visitors rather than just displaying content. Although text will always be an important part of driving and sustaining traffic, making the site more interactive can have a profound impact on success.
Whether the business site is using a shared or VPS hosting platform, design-driven websites can be quite productive. So, what are some decisions that need to be made when building this user experience? That all depends on what kind of an end result is needed.
Below are five important decisions business owners need to make for the design-driven website. Something that is viewed as a simple change may be the one piece that keeps visitors engaged and coming back for more.
The Primary Purpose of the Site
Without a primary purpose in mind for a website, the development can seem haphazard. This often happens when a developer tries to add too much of everything into a single layout. It can be quite confusing for a visitor and often takes away from the experience. The last thing any website owner wants is to confuse a potential customer.
Having a solid plan for the website’s primary function will play a part in how it’s developed. For example, the overall design of an online retail store would be completely different than one that is centered purely around blogging. While one will use heavy graphics and testimonials, the other is simply sharing content.
The layout of the site isn’t the only thing that is affected by purpose. Some widgets or plugins may not be necessary depending on the primary focus of the content. If the website is being built to simply provide an online brochure of services, then it wouldn’t need specific tools or features for sales.
Deciding on a Website Look and Feel
Once the primary purpose of the site has been established, it’s time to decide on a look and feel. After all, the reason behind a design-driven site is to deliver an incredible experience for the visitor. It’s all about engaging the audience, which means the site will need more than a simple layout.
The look and feel of a website will include things like:
- Color scheme and pallet choice.
- Header and footer content.
- Layout of the site’s framework, such as widgets and sidebars.
- Flashy image choices, such as going beyond the mundane business suits.
- Deciding on useful tools and abilities users will have when visiting the site.
The look and feel is important when trying to keep an audience engaged. Going beyond the basics and adding a bit of pizzazz can go a long way. However, there is such a thing as overdoing it. Adding too much can slow the site or make it look too cluttered.
Categorizing the Site in a Logical Format
Too many people create a new category for almost every piece of content created on a website. When guests have to scroll down several pages in order to see a list of what the site has to offer, it may be distracting. Try to condense content and material into logical categories that are easy to maneuver.
When placing things into specific categories, don’t forget that there is an option to create sub items. For example: Instead of showing all species of fish that reside in fresh water, the primary category can be labeled, “Fresh Water Fish.” Then, sub-categories can further drill down to specifics.
The point is that condensing the list of primary categories is more visually appealing and helps keep it all together. Of course, too many sub-category items can also become overwhelming. Before publishing a new piece of content, ask whether if it really needs its own category.
Navigation and Operation
Navigation around the website should be a smooth and easy process regardless of what kind of device the visitor is using. If someone cannot figure out where to find important information, he or she is probably going to leave the site. Humans often look for instant gratification and don’t want to spend time searching endlessly for content.
Here are a few things to consider when developing the navigation of the website:
- Don’t over-fill the navigation menu. Like displaying categories, too much has potential to be a distraction.
- Only use the most important links in the menu. Home, Contact and Blog are good to have in a menu.
- Don’t underestimate the value of creating sub-items in a menu. Things like About Us, Contact, Company History and a list of staff can all go into a single menu item labeled something like, “About.”
Customer Contact Portals
Probably the most important part of any business is customer support. The more interactive a business is with consumers, the happier they’ll often be. Having methods for immediate contact is also found to increase sales as well as boost trust in the organization.
There are many ways that customer contact portals can be installed on a website. Most of them can run on platforms whether the site is using shared or VPS hosting. Below are five of the most effective methods of keeping customers engaged:
1. Show direct email addresses customers can use that are monitored daily. However, this can also lead to a wide range of spam. Use an account that isn’t pertinent to the internal workings of the business.
2. Use contact forms using CAPTCHA or other anti-bot security. These forms can be useful whether it’s for customer issues or leaving testimonials. This is another method that will need to have it’s own email address.
3. Add the physical location of the business as well as phone number. This helps customers trust the company as they can look up the information and feel they have a direct line to the company.
4. Integrate online chat. There are a number of ways chat windows can be placed on a website. Many businesses will outsource chat to a third-party company, and the code to run is but a small snippet to paste into the website.
5. Display social media accounts with pride. This is one of the most common elements for many websites as it gives users a chance to follow the business or share it with their friends and family.
It’s All About User Experience
When building a design-driven website, it all starts with using the power of VPS hosting. After that, some serious considerations need to be addressed. From how the navigation menu is set up to keeping the content organized, it all plays a role in the user experience. Take the time and create the perfect strategy that will benefit the business. Deliver something that is unique and engaging.