Bees Creative Content
rants, theories etc
Website design best practices #1: The milkman test
Does your business website pass the milkman test?
This is the point where you say either “what have milkmen got to do with website design best practices?” or, if you’re feeling more generous, “I don’t know. I don’t know what the milkman test is. You tell me. You’re supposed to be the web designer.”
That’s a fair point. Bear with me, though, and I’ll tell you:
– What the milkman test is
– What it’s got to do with website design and website design best practices
– Why it’s something you need to bear in mind when you’re looking at your website, whether you’re building one for your new business or thinking of upgrading your old one.
Website design best practice: It needs to answer the question “What do you do?”
One of the key purposes for your website is that it should easily answer the question “What do you do?” within seconds of anybody landing on your site.
People will not spend long on your website if they don’t think it will help them solve their problem. If I’m looking for an online shop to buy coffee makers and I land on a website which sells coffee makers but doesn’t make that clear, I’ll go elsewhere.
You might work in a B2B environment, but that doesn’t mean we work in your industry, so please don’t use any jargon.
For one reason, we might have just started working in this new industry so we might not know what your jargon means. For another, using jargon is lazy and can make people feel small and ignorant.
How do I make sure my site passes the test?
– Explain what you do as simply as possible high up on your home page. This can be easy if you’re an estate agent or a mechanic, but it’s not so simple for everyone.
– Don’t assume anything. If you’re not using a copywriter, ask someone who isn’t in your industry to cast their eye over your site or over the words you’ve written and give you their honest opinion.
– Use pictures to give a better idea of what you do. For example, “Logistics” might not mean much to some, but some pictures of lorries on a websites gives the game away immediately.
So…why do I call it the milkman test?
Well …. you might remember their name. You might not.
But I bet you know their songs.
Stock/Aitken/Waterman wrote and produced hits for Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and many more.
One of their rules was that their songs had to pass the “milkman test”.
If it wasn’t catchy enough for a milkman to whistle and remember, they would bin it.
– Does your website pass the milkman test?
Claire House is a Wirral-based children’s hospice which helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing back a sense of normality to family life, offering specialist nursing care and emotional support to families in the toughest of circumstances.
Are you running your own business? If so, why?
It’s a serious question, especially if you’re just getting started or just about to.
Whoever you are and whatever you do, chances are there is an organisation you know which would benefit from some extra publicity.
That could be a business you run, a group you are a part of – from the local Brownies troupe to the pub darts team – or a cafe or shop you like to frequent.
Do you have a love/hate relationship with Twitter and Facebook?
If you’re a business owner, then at some point you have undoubtedly been told that you need to be on Twitter and Facebook and probably LinkedIn too. You may well be heartily sick of being told it and be stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that there is any such thing as social media.
I am a professional writer and blogger.
I web design too but much of what business advisers call my “offer” or my “USP” (ie what I can do for you and your business) revolves around the fact that I have lots of experience as a writer.
Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: I build school websites, so a blog on what school websites should be like could be interpreted by some as a blog about Why Schools Should Use Me To Build Their Websites.
I’m no business expert but I have learned several things since being in business and I thought it would be helpful to others starting their own businesses. I’ve limited it to five because nobody wants War and Peace from a blog entry and because I don’t want to overwhelm anyone.
Graphic design tips don’t come much more basic than keep it simple. In this blog I’ll be explaining why that is my golden rule for any kind of graphic design.
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That was where I ended up recently when I was asked to do some freelance travel writing for Trinity Mirror.