Don’t ask for the wrong things
There are common things clients of web design ask for in every project. These aren’t always the right things to ask for or even focus on, yet they are almost always brought up. Not because it’s the best thing for a project, but because it’s what clients think they should be asking for.
Make the logo bigger
The only person a bigger logo matters to is the owner of the website. No one in the history of the Internet ever said, “I’d buy this product if only the logo was 10% larger” or, “I just don’t trust someone with a logo that size”. Of course a logo on a website should be clear and visible, but size (in this instance) is one of the least important things.
Make the content pop
The use of different fonts, weights, colours, and exclamation points does nothing except make content harder and slower to read. The design of the typography on a website should make the content as easy to scan and read as possible. A better idea is to write epic content that is broken up with short, clear sentences, headlines and clear calls to action. The only way to make content ‘pop’ is to write good content.
Use a roadblock
Roadblocks are anything that interrupts the reading of a website with a promotion. It can be a subscribe box that pops over content, or an ad needs to watched for 15 seconds before the content loads. These things definitely lead to better short-term conversions, but they do so at the expense of a visitors patience. For every person that signs up for a mailing list on a roadblock, how many closed the site out of frustration? It makes more sense to add calls to action (for things like signing up, tweeting, buying, etc) after the content.
Just because successful blogger X jumps off a bridge (and then goes viral), doesn’t mean that’s a guaranteed route to success for everyone else. Ideas and strategies the leaders use might only work for their unique audiences and with their unique brands. Focusing specifically on a website’s goals and how best to accomplish them is a better way to go.
There’s a fine line between creative copy and how easily those words are immediately understood by an audience. An about page called ‘Flowers & Essences’ (this is not a real-world example) might confuse website visitors, whereas simply calling it ‘About’ makes it immediately identifiable. There’s a place for on-brand creative copy, but never at the expense of clarity.
I encourage every person who’s involved or going to be involved in a web design project to question things before asking for them. Question what your friends/colleagues tell you are ‘must haves’ for your website. Question what marketing experts on top blogs tell you will result in optimal conversions. Question the advice you get from web designers (even if that web designer is me). Then lean on the answers to see if what you want is the right course of action for you and your website. It’ll lead to a better website for both you and the people you want to use it.