By John Eberhard
I have been doing a lot of web design projects lately. Every couple years, the typical, expected and common things to do, in designing a website, changes dramatically. Here’s an update for 2018.
- Websites Over 3-4 Years Old: If your website is over 3-4 years old, it’s time to take a look at re-designing it. Styles and approaches have changed a lot over the last few years.
- Width: 10-15 years ago, most sites were 800 pixels wide or less, because that fit the screen resolution of the computers that most people owned back then. Today, that has changed to the point where most new sites go the full width of the browser screen. If you have a site that is 700 or 800 pixels wide, it will look tiny on the screen today, and not have much impact.
- Mobile Friendly: It is a must today for all businesses, to have a web site that is mobile friendly. This is vital because over 50% of all web visitors today are coming to your site on a mobile phone. So if your site isn’t mobile friendly, it will be tiny and unreadable, and they will leave. Plus Google penalizes your site in the rankings if it is not mobile friendly.
- Slide Shows or Video Backgrounds: It has become very common over the past few years to put a slide show on the home page of the site, with 4-8 slides. Usually these are big pictures that go across the same width as the site. Now many sites have a video background at the top of the home page.
- Contact Info: You should put your contact info on the site in such a way that it displays prominently on every page, either on the right side of the header at the top, or in the sidebar. Don’t make people have to hunt for your contact info when they are ready to contact you. I am usually in favor of putting some kind of response form right in the sidebar, so it appears on every single page. Remember, you are not just out to make your site look great. You want people to respond.
- Contact Forms: It is vital to have a contact form or multiple contact forms on your website. Some people prefer to contact you that way rather than pick up the phone.
- Social Media Links: It is common today to put links to all the major social media sites on a web site. It is a good idea to also put buttons allowing the person to like your Facebook page. And there is software that allows you to display the most recent activity you have posted to your Facebook page or to Twitter.
- Personalization: One mistake I see a LOT with some small businesses is to have a site with lots of information but no pictures of the business or personnel. This is a mistake, because one of the things you are trying to do with any promotion is to differentiate yourself from the competition. Otherwise, why should they select you?
- Video: Having a video or several videos on your site can make a big difference. Having people see you, your company, your staff, your products, your customers, helps to make you more real to and more trusted by the prospect.
- Quality Design: The quality of the design is important, because that is the thing that the visitor first sees, and it is the quality of the design that will invite him in and get him to see more and read your message. This involves things like the color scheme (using colors that go well together and fit your topic), graphics, the fonts and size of the type, large photos, the placement of the various elements, etc. The competition in most industries today is fierce. A high end design will get your site noticed more, help you differentiate your business, and help you deliver your message.