Web Design Discussion
A few points to address first:
Web designers, in general, focus on the looks of a website. They have no expertise in writing good copy text for your website. And that’s not their responsibility really. So, as we have seen in countless websites, there are lots of ok looking websites but lopsided with poor or scarce copy text.
We don’t design your websites to enter competitions. We design your website to be effective so that more visitors are converted to customers.
Don’t be hung up on looks only. Looks are important but looks with substance are BETTER! The substance here is about good quality copy text. And when you have good looks and substance, you are going to get a lot of positive responses from online visitors.
Another thing about the need for good copy text in your website. You don’t get it right with good SEO copywriting, your website will be committing SEO suicide. Search engines assess copy text as part (a big part here) of their ranking determination. So, can you afford not to have good SEO copy written text incorporated into your website? Can your web designer write to make sense? If not, you are paying a full price for half the expertise.
CMS (Content Management Systems) websites – Do you really need one?
In recent times, we have begun to build more, than usual, CMS websites. A CMS website, using open source codes like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc gives you the benefit of SELF EDITING your web pages at will, if you have the time, the desire and the bit (think BIG bit) of knowledge required. If your answer is a resounding yes, we are more than happy to build you a CMS website.
Self-edit means having control and managing your website. We all find the notion of having control a very seductive proposition. But in reality, and this is where you have to ask yourself some hard questions – Do you have time, knowledge and the consistency, to self-edit your web pages? Don’t you find it ironical that web designers strongly propose that you go for a CMS website and then also add an accompanying maintenance package (like charging you for uploads etc) to it? So what are you self-editing? So why are you paying more for a CMS website? We have experienced enough cases of clients coming to us because they have problems “self editing” their CMS websites and whose original builder deemed it no longer profitable to hang around especially if a maintenance package is not in force.
Everything has its place. It’s also not about one system better over another. It’s about either a system suiting you or you suiting the system.
We can fill up a few pages on this topic alone, so we have appended a must read link
http://www.taoti.com/content_management_systems.php for your education.
Web Design – with looks and substance!
Your website IS the first impression customers see of your company. Your potential customers like all Internet surfers have pretty short attentions spans. And they are spoilt for choice given the tons of websites out there competing against yours. Stand out by going simple, clear and precise. Your audience will appreciate it.
Each business is different and therefore each website is unique. But the fundamentals of a good website remains the same no matter the industry. A good website is not only about looks. That’s really the easy part. It’s about presentation. We often hear clients lamenting the lack of enquiries despite their site ranking high in the search engines. But they balk at re-designing, updating, revamping or freshening up their five-year old website. Look back at old photos of your hairstyle and you get the idea.
So what kind of websites we like to design and build? Simple ones with good quality ingredients!
Let’s start with good quality ingredients.
“A picture tells a thousand words”. They need not be top magazine standard but they must be decent. It says so much about your company, your pride in your products etc. These days, good and easy to use cameras with all types of pre-sets are affordably available to us. A bit of effort is all it takes. Isn’t your business worth the little effort? And if indeed it is too much trouble, then spend a few ringgit to get it professionally shot. We have an in-house photographer who can help out on a time plus fee. Please stop this lazy habit of shoving bad photos to your designer and expect photo shopping. They are designers and not magicians.
Agreed, copy writing is a highly specialized skill. Just like you are a specialist in your field. Most if not all web designers are not writers. You notice your web designer will talk you blue about photos, layout, colours, flash, cms, css, etc etc but have no comment about your contents or lack of it? They went to design school to learn about designing not writing. But now you know that good copy content is not only important for search engine optimization, but it is also useful information to your audience and they will appreciate it.
We have staff copywriters on board to write company profiles and other copy text in a clear and precise way. And we charge nominal sums only because we treat it as a much-needed value add.
So what is good presentation? In our opinion and in one word? Simple. A well-presented layout should be uncluttered. Don’t squeeze everything into one page. Worst still, don’t have too many clickable links on a single page. Why sabotage yourself by distracting the visitor?
Colour schemes should not fight with each other for attention but should instead complement each other. Think of a well-framed picture.
Poor typography or fonts is another common problem with most websites. Either too many diverse types of fonts are used or they are just plain old-fashioned like the Times New Roman here. Or text in different colours!
And do not interlink your pages too much. It gives the impression that your website, like a house with many rooms and therefore lots to explore. Wrong. It serves to irritate. A visitor finds he is going round and round the same old rooms through inter-connecting doors. He is fatigued so he gets out of your house.
The flow or navigation of your website should be seamless. Please no long and twitchy drop down menus. He gets into your site. Your home page is probably the first page he sees. It gives him a feel of your business and he immediately forms a perception. Good, bad or indifferent. He goes to the next page which is, probably about your company profile. He scans through quickly to know more about you. Only your competitors read everything. More perception building. He now goes to your products and services pages to determine if those are what he is looking for. If they are, then he wants to browse the photos, read up whatever useful or interesting descriptions you append along with them. When he has sufficient information, he is ready to act. He would probably send you an enquiry to know more etc.
Ask yourself as a customer. How many times we get out of a site because we are put off by it and not because they do not have the products or services we need? The same logic should apply to your website.
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