10 Essential Elements For a Successful Website
By: DC Dalton
So you want to get your business online, to take that big plunge to reach the world with your product or service. Congratulations! Hopefully you have
taken the time to go out and explore your competitors websites and looked around for what you consider to be a great looking and functioning website. If you haven't we highly recommend you do, as a matter of fact we ask every new client to spend time on the web do this. This helps your website designer get a view into several things, including your industry and just as important your tastes in design and functionality. This type information is invaluable to both your and your website design company.
Knowing Your Potential Clientele
As with any business venture you must have some insight into exactly who your customers are is vital. Not only do you need to gear your products and marketing
to these customers but the design, navigation and functionality of the website should be tailored to that market's tastes. Most website owners don't realize it at first but your
website may just become the most important marketing tool you will ever invest in. It's presentation, color, flow and content are as important as any TV, Print or Radio ad you will ever invest in. In todays world your website is your customers view into your business and a poorly laid out website may result in a lack of confidence by them. This is especially true in any e-commerce website. With all the stories the general public hears about on-line rip offs they need to feel 100% confident they can type their credit
card numbers into your order form and not have to worry about it.
Ten Essential Elements
Any website today needs certain features to allow their customers the best experience possible. Over the years we have added to the list to bring it up to what we now consider the ten essential elements every website should have:
1. A website search tool - if they want it NOW they will search, not browse.
2. A website map - again if they get lost this is the first place they will go.
3. Easy to read content - Don't use color combinations that are rough on the eyes. If your information is long provide a easy access printer friendly version.
4. Fast loading pages - NO customer will wait around for 5 minutes to see your website. Remember over 50% of the world is still on a 56k modem, in 2004!
5. A Privacy Statement - Any website that collects information (even email addresses) needs this.
6. Easy Navigation - surfers don't have the time to try to figure out your neat navigation system. Keep it simple!
7. Accessibility Statement - Let those who are disabled know that you care about them as customers too.
8. Easy to Access contact information - If they have a problem with the site or an order make it easy for them to be able to contact you.
9. Flow of design throughout the site - Don't change the page design from page to page. One intro page design and then a consistent inner page design is fine but once in your site make sure everything stays in the same place.
10. NO, I REPEAT, NO pop ups! - These have become synonymous with ads, spy ware, viruses and porn sites. Do anything you can to avoid them.
OK, so #10 isn't a do, it's a don't but we really felt it had to be on the list. Many of the items on this list will not only create a better experience for your clients but they will also increase your accessibility to any disabled customer and will help get your website ranked higher in the search engines. All in all it just makes good business sense.
About the Author
over 10 years in web design / web application development, DC Dalton had "been around the barn" of the what to do and what not to do in successful a website. His primary site handles these exact problems, www.dcddesigns.com