Your website is and should be the manifestation of your own vision. Sure, it’s fun and helpful to study other websites. But those sites should inspire you to try new ideas or even have the courage to think outside the box. Surround yourself with those who have the technical skills to implement your vision. These people will be your project managers, search engine marketers, social media marketers, information architects, usability and user experience consultants, web designers and developers. Ask them questions about where they acquire their inspiration. Test site designs on people. Research, with and without search engines, the language and terms your site visitors use to find your products or services. Be sure to write out your specific site requirements and business goals. Write guidelines to be sure everyone on your team sticks to the game plan. … [Read more...] about It’s A Fatal Mistake To Copy Successful Web Sites
Web site content management
Some people have extra senses that you may not be aware of, and you should, because they are also visiting your web site. Do you know someone who is sensitive enough to identify electrical shifts in someone’s body? There are people who can “taste” colors (a phenomenon known as synthesesia) and those who hear sounds the majority of us don’t catch. When you stop to consider how unique we are and what our uniqueness brings to the table with designing and marketing web sites, is it any wonder we sometimes feel helpless when we see a drop in conversions? … [Read more...] about How Does Your Web Site Make Visitors Feel?
What I believe is missing from the SEO perspective’s intepretation of information architecture is the user perspective. Keyword research tools are one way of getting information about potential site visitors. Web analytics data also provides valuable feedback. However, information architects create website information architectures early in the design process. They create website architectures before wireframes and prototypes are even created. Information architects test their labels, categorization, and groupings on actual users, getting direct face-to-face contact. They do not create a website’s information architecture based on the mental models of web developers, search engine optimizers, or IT professionals. The information architecture is based on users’ mental models. … [Read more...] about SEO Vs. Web Site Architecture
What if the site visitor is a father at the end of his rope? He’s tired, busy, a widower and shaking with emotion as he scrolls, clicks and reads. Was the site designed for an upset Dad? If not, what could be done to create a better user experience for him? For this site visitor, the site of a healthy looking child beaming into the camera while holding a farm animal might be an emotional hook. Someone available to speak with him “now” may persuade him to call because his feelings are raw at that moment. … [Read more...] about The Biggest Web Site Usability Mistakes You Can Make
If you have contact forms on your site, review them to make sure they work, they’re easy to use, and to see if they need to be updated. You might want to start asking people how they found your site or something else that your contact form doesn’t ask now. Also, be sure to “break” the form—submit it without the required information and see how understandable the resulting error message is. … [Read more...] about A Small Business Year-End Web Site Checklist