Photo courtesy of Phu Son Nguyen
Have you taken a good look at your site lately? Go ahead, do it now. What do you see? Are you still in love with the design? Does it still give you the same thrill as when you first launched it?
Or is it starting to look a little cluttered? Maybe a little worn around the edges and could use a new coat of paint?
Perhaps you know you need changes but you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong?
One of the most difficult things to do is a redesign of your own site. Don’t feel bad, we went through it too. We can design all day long for someone else, but when it comes to what we want, the old brain immediately decides to take a day off.
But I Like My Site!
I’m sure you do. We all like our sites to some degree. I’ll let you in on a little secret though; your site isn’t for you.
That’s right. You are not designing a site for yourself. And I’m not designing a site for you either. So, if neither one of us is designing a site for you, who exactly are we designing for?
Your visitors. That’s who.
Think about it, you’re trying to attract a specific audience (your ideal client), not other people who can do the same thing you can. You can already do what you do. You want to provide for people who can’t do what you do. They need you.
And while you may have all the latest widgets and flash galleries, and the sharpest code ever behind the scenes, none of that is going to help you much. When it comes right down to it, your visitors don’t care.
What Do Visitors Care About?
Information. Whether that information is in the content area, the navigation bar, the sidebars or the footer, it has to be so obvious a blind man could see it.
Not that visitors are stupid. Not by a long shot. On the contrary, your visitors are very intelligent, busy people. And it is for this reason that your information has to be clear and concise.
The moment a visitor has to start poking around trying to find what they need, they’re gone. They can’t be bothered. And admit it, you’ve done that too. I know I have. Frequently.
Provide your visitors with what they need right up front. Lay it all out before them like a buffet.
The Information Age
Nearly a decade ago information didn’t travel half as fast as it does now and it’s getting faster everyday. Do any of us really take the time anymore to leisurely sit and read a morning paper cover to cover? Or sit down and write with an actual pen?
If you do, you are in a declining minority. Who has the time? It’s so much faster to type or read our news on the web.
Your website has to function the same way. The days of splash pages and unnecessary bling are drawing to a close as audiences become more mature in their viewing tastes. Websites are are growing up and evolving right before our eyes, presenting information at record speed to keep up with busy lives. With so many sources available to find our information, audiences are becoming ever more selective in choosing where and how they utilize blogs and websites.
Complicated or disorganized layout? Too difficult to search through? Not enough well written content once you baited the hook? The reader will be off and gone to the next provider of simple, easy to find information that can be handed to them on a silver platter ready to feast on.
Visit Your Own Front Door
Try this. Close your eyes for a second and pretend you have never been to your site before. Then open them and click on your home page and observe your site with fresh eyes as if you were a brand new visitor. How do the colors make you feel? Is the navigation easy to search through? Does the overall theme project the image you would like to convey? What are the benefits of your clients staying on your site more then a few minutes? What overall value are you providing to them?
If you find it hard to answer these questions, there is a good chance your clients can’t answer them either.
A Helping Hand is Easy to Find
If you can’t be objective and take that fresh eyed view, consider grabbing an honest friend who will tell you the truth. Or your Mom. If she can’t figure out your site, you might have a little work to do to simplify things. And of course, if you are looking for the professional team that can help take your website into the next generation of website functionality and design, look no further, Blue Sun Studio is always here with a helping hand to get you where you need to go.
To get you started, from now until Labor Day, we’re promoting our Creativepreneur Package. Each package includes a custom theme designed on the Genesis framework, optin form and newsletter template (using your existing AWeber, Constant Contact or Mail Chimp account), one freebie ebook with cover and interior layout (up to 20 pages you’ve written), and 30 days of tech/training support.
As an added bonus, you’ll also get our new, not yet released to the public WordPress Guide for Newbies ebook AND a set of social networking backgrounds for Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (a $300 value).
Our summer schedule is filling up fast. Contact us today to get started!