Blogs.

tips, theories etc.

Website tips from a web designer

I’m calling this an “occasional series” because although I’m planning to write an article like this every month, I’m not going to tie myself down to that because I know for a copper-bottomed fact that if I do I’ll get cross with myself if I miss a month.

Choose your website domain name carefully.

Domain names aren’t the be-all and end-all. For example, the domain name of B&Q is diy.com and uk.webuy.com is where you’ll find second hand shop CeX.

But they are still important – and my first tip is not to use one with numbers or hyphens in it. People will get it wrong, misspell it or end up on someone else’s site. Anything without a hyphen in it is better than anything with a hyphen in it. Honestly.

If, for example, you want johnsmith.com but you can only get john-smith.com, that means someone else already has johnsmith.com and people (possibly your customers) will end up there instead. Which, I’m guessing, isn’t what you want.

Use lots of CTAs on your site.

CTA stands for Call To Action. Website CTAs are the links (often known as ‘buttons’ when they stand alone and are surrounded by colour) which say things like “Buy this now!” or “Sign up now”. They encourage us to buy whatever the business is selling. CTAs can also just encourage customers to contact us (“Email us today”).

CTAs encourage customers to strike while the iron is hot rather than go away and have a think about it. They also make it easy for customers so that they are not forced to hunt around your website looking what to do next.

Copy other websites that you like and remember who the website is for.

Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s the best way to be when you’re having a website designed.

If there is a website you particularly like, there’s probably good reasons for that. It will be easy to navigate, easy to read, well laid out, full of easy-on-the-eye images and well-written, simple copy. 

The kind of websites I’ve just described are put together by web designers who know that the most important people in the world to any company are its customers.

So they design websites that are easy for them to understand and, crucially, buy from.

Websites are NOT (repeat, NOT) about flashy design. They’re there to inform and/or sell things.

Let’s look at the Apple website.

Screenshot of the Apple website on February 13, 2024

It is black text on a white background, with a simple easy to read typeface, lots of lovely-to-look-at images, and CTAs (calls to action/buy) under every new product. 

It’s not flashy. It’s not basic either; it will have taken a lot of time and effort to put together and there are undoubtedly any number of specialists improving it every day.

But it’s a great one to copy not just because it looks nice, but because it is proven to work brilliantly. Apple are doing quite well, I hear.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using other sites as inspiration for yours. 

Everybody copies everybody else and it really is the best way to start.

Keep a uniform style throughout your website.

Whatever you’re using your website for – selling stuff or providing information – keeping a uniform style throughout is of paramount importance.

That means design, colour and typeface.

The design of your site tells people a lot about how professional you are and also helps them recognise your style, so that next time they see something with your branding on it they will recognise it as yours.

If you have a website which varies in design from page to page, it makes for a much less pleasant online experience and the whole site comes across like the work of someone who either can’t make their mind up, sees their site as a personal sketchbook or who doesn’t take their site or their business very seriously.

And if they don’t, then why should your visitors?

If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me using the button on the right. If you’d like to read all my LinkedIn posts about grammar, follow the hashtag #andrewonwriting by clicking this link here and selecting “follow”

 

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