Web Business Start-up Guide 7 of 15

Multiple website designs photos and magnifying glass

Establish Your Website Look And Feel

Your web design look, feel and functionality are the most tangible links that your visitors and customers have with you. Your web site is the first point of contact with a new visitor and a potential customer. So remember, first impressions really do count. That's why the visible and functional aspects of your web business are crucial.

How To Avoid Getting Stalled On The Start-off Line

An amateur-looking web design, or one that seems dated, or is simply inappropriate for your web business theme or topic, can kill all your efforts however hard you try. So keep your focus higher: on quality and professionalism.

If web design is not your main activity, I recommend you discuss your plans, ideas and preferences with a competent, professional web developer, ideally one who has Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experience using open, search engine friendly, non-deceptive techniques and strategies.

Key tip: I suggest, resist so-called quick-fix messages from your "lizard brain": never try to trick search engines, since all of your efforts both past and present, can be wiped out in minutes.

More importantly, today you simply don't need to play any tricks: just focus on creating great website content, that is up to date, relevant, useful, helpful, valuable, or informative to your visitors. Do that, and you may find that Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines can actually appear to help you in your efforts. Why: because the best search engines are constantly seeking to fill their indexes with content that best serves their users.

You'll want to consider how search engines "see" your pages — that's why we build in search engine optimization considerations when we create our own web design templates here at However, never forget that a website is for people first and foremost, search engines second.

Displaying Your Unique Identity And Creating A Warm Welcome

Consider the following ideas in your website makeup:

  • Certainly aim to avoid having a website that seems to look similar to many others — or risk disappearing in a "sea of sameness".
  • To build lasting relationships, to create a website that models on say an existing retail business, to which you'll want to encourage visitors to come back, that's why your web business needs a character; an individuality, a visual story, a certain built-in attraction appeal, and that "must have" factor.
  • Also remember, web visitors don't just want more information. We're already awash in data. Rather, they're usually looking for specific, relevant, timely information.
  • Moreover, take the time to learn about how to craft your words and sentences on the web, in engaging, powerful and compelling ways!
  • Bright upbeat colors, lots of contrast, positive imagery, clear hyperlinks, the benefits and drawbacks of using smaller or larger text, information provided in short, digestible chunks, and helpful videos, these are all traits of attractive, proven web designs.

Understanding What Motivates Your Visitors To Take Action

The time and effort you take to learn about human behavior, how people actually use, read and react to websites; what motivates them to action and where their eyes move around on a page, is usually well rewarded. However, at the same time, perform your own tests. Why: I've found that results of my own tests often conflict with some alternative research studies.

Key tip: for a website that seeks to engage with visitors repeatedly, I suggest that one of the key goals that your web design should meet, is to put over a feeling of trust.

Therefore, before signing off your web design, ultimately apply the "Trust test". Ask yourself, colleagues, and indeed end users: "Does my website instantly put over the feeling that we can be trusted?" And then make sure that also translates into what you do offline too.

If you're a web designer, web developer or a hands-on website builder, familiar with creating web pages and websites using tools like Joomla, WordPress, then the technical task of creating your website design should be easier for you — and pre-built high quality templates can make the job much easier. Otherwise, I suggest you focus on learning and evaluating the other areas suggested in this guide mini-series.

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