Most people, unless they’re scientists with access to a lab, use websites to research information. A few dinosaurs – myself included – still also utilize libraries, but we’re on the way out. Sadly, a large percentage of websites waste space on the worldwide web. They pay fees for URLs and servers, spend hours writing content or hire expensive companies to create a not-so-good representation of their organization.
Readers have Neither Time nor Patience
I don’t know about you, but the typical visitor spends only seconds on a site. If the site doesn’t catch your attention, you’re on to another one of the millions of webpages out there. That goes for blogs just as well as selling a service, product, soliciting donations or simply conveying information.
Here are some of the common ailments of today’s websites:
– Confusing layouts
– Bad design
– Too much content
– Too little (also as in boring) content
– Using the homepage as a dumping ground
– Wrong content – written for people in the industry, not target audience(s)
– Nondescript/confusing tabs
– Illogical/non-user friendly content organization
– Aged look and/or content
I could go on, but you get the picture.
What Makes a Good Website?
Effective websites consider their target audience(s). What are the benefits, what’s in it for your customer/visitor. Is the copy clearly written, conveying understandable key messages? Is the content short and succinct, logically organized? Do messaging, art and design support the brand? Do you apply search engine optimization (SEO) such as headers, keywords and tags to draw attention to the site?
Next time, you’re hurrying away from a webpage, ask yourself why. If you own a site, take a critical look. Select a handful of trusted clients, have them to review the site and provide feedback. You may be surprised what you learn.
Many books have been written about effective web communication. But then, that’d require visiting the library or old-fashioned reading. Maybe that explains it.