Magazine article Risk Management

Does Your Website Attract or Detract?

Magazine article Risk Management

Does Your Website Attract or Detract?

Article excerpt

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That statement is especially true when referring to a business website. Customers worldwide are looking for products and services online, and there is no shortage of sites from which to choose. Does your website come across as professional and say the things you want about your business? Or are broken links, spelling and grammatical errors, HTML errors, annoying graphics and popups driving visitors away? Business owners and entrepreneurs should perform periodic website maintenance to their sites to ensure that they continue to come off professionally, and that the sites work hand-in-hand with furthering their businesses.

Quality design. Cater your site design to your industry and customer tastes. For example, if you are selling scrapbook supplies, then a "homemade" feel for your website might be appropriate. Alternatively, if you are a dentist, something with a clean, simple layout will better instill confidence for inquiring patients.

Maintain your branding by using your logo, picking colors that match other materials and including pictures that support the imagery you want associated with your business. Regardless of the style of your site, the best indicator of quality design is ...

Page consistency. The web can be a frightening place. When you click on a link in a webpage, it can take you almost anywhere. When your customers click on links within your site, add to their comfort level by making it clear that they are still in your site. The number one way to do this is to have a consistent page template by using the same colors, style and placement of page elements (navigation, logo, page headers, etc.) on each page.

Stick to one style. Organic elements use soft curves that flow together, Linear elements are straight with sharp angles. Either might be appropriate for your business, but pick one and stick to it.

Color is important; we make associations based upon it all the time. Keep colors consistent or have a good reason why you are changing them from page to page. A rainbow of color can be overwhelming.

Site navigation. If your customers cannot easily find what they are looking for, they will look elsewhere, and that usually means your competition.

Ensure you have a distinct navigation bar positioned either along the left side of the page, along the top or a combination of both. …

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