Let’s face it… First impressions matter. Even when it comes to web design. In order for your site to be successful, you need to attract and retain your site visitors with a combination of good design and great content.

If visitors arrive at your site and it’s poorly designed, cluttered, and the content is outdated you can bet site visitors are going to click away to find another, easy to read and reliable source of information.

So what do you do?

First and foremost, know your goals…

Start by asking yourself a couple of basic questions…

  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Who is going to buy from you? Who’s your target audience?
  • Where are your prospective buyers hanging out (both online and off)?
  • What kind of content do they respond to? What kind of questions are they asking that you can provide answers to?
  • How are you going to measure and track your progress?
  • How will you capture and create new business from the information that you gather from prospects? How will you manage and grow your database?

Consider a Thin Header

Your header should really do one thing well… Clearly communicate what your site is about (name and tagline).

Beyond that, I should be able to navigate the rest of your site easily from your site navigation. If your header is too big (thick), I can’t see the rest of your site content. It’s overwhelming and often times, that’s not a good thing no matter how good that header image is.

Your About Page Matters

On my website for example, I know that a large percentage of my web traffic navigates to my “About” page after landing on the homepage or some other blog post. It’s my most visited page. Which also makes it an opportunity for me to earn new subscribers and make a connection with my audience.

Now the question is, do you share a similar statistic? Is your “About” page one of the most visited pages on your site? If so, have you taken the time to do a solid write-up that communicates who you are and what you do effectively?

Most “About” pages are a quick one paragraph brochure. On the other hand, here are two that really stand out for me:

How can you spice up yours so in communicates who you are, what you do, shares your coverage areas and showcases some client testimonials?

Your Sidebar

There is such a thing as too much content on your sidebar. Be weary of your site real estate. Are you taking up valuable space with items that aren’t really relevant to your audience? What’s your goal with adding that new widget? Is it really necessary?

Remember, attracting and retaining site visitors is all about appearance. Are you maintaining a clean and professional look? Too much information looks like clutter and it makes it difficult to navigate your site for users to find the information they want.

Pictures and Other Media

Are you using images to break up your text and make your content visually appealing? What about video? Cyndee Haydon for example has tons of great video testimonials loaded up on her website. Real Estate Agent Walter Burns uses tons of video to talk about the community and describe parts of the buying process.

How can you use multi-media to make your content more engaging?

Summary

To sum things up, here are some things you should consider about your blog design:

  • What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish? How will you track and measure your progress?
  • Consider a thin head. One that communicates your message effectively.
  • Your “About” page matters. You need to effectively communicate who you are, the type of clients you service, and back it up with past client testimonials.
  • Are the items in your sidebar providing something of value or are they just wasting space?
  • Are you using pictures and other media to break up your text and make your content more engaging? If not, could you be?

What other types of design elements do you think work well?

If you want some feedback on your own site, just drop a link to it in the comments and I’ll reply with some thoughts…

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