For businesses that are retailing products or selling services, web design on every level is really all about generating sales. A business that approaches a web designer for an all-singing-all-dancing website is looking for a set of pages that will attract potential customers to improve the chance of making sales. The two main elements of web pages that draw in the sales are the design itself (incorporating images and video as appropriate), and the written content, also known as website copy.
Design your heart out but keep it simple
The most effective websites are those that are easy to navigate: the person using it should not have to puzzle over how to get to the next page. They can immediately see the links, work out what they like, and avoid the bits that aren’t relevant for them. The use of grid structures in a layout – similar in style to newspapers and magazines – is becoming more widespread, simply because website users seem to like them.
Overall color schemes are very important, and making the content easy to read on the screen is everything. An edgy dark background with white writing is probably not the best idea because it’s harder to read than black-on-white. Stick to the main web fonts, such as Arial and Verdana as they are easy to read on screen. Avoid the more unconventional fonts as they can make a site look very amateurish if overused.
Color schemes also link in with content, so if your website is selling wedding dresses, an over-emphasis on black and brown isn’t going to work in your favor.
Focusing on what’s important, such as the best-selling product or service, should be child’s play; bestsellers, special offers, and freebies should be parked at the top of the front page, so every reader gets to look at them. Hiding them down the bottom or making the reader look for them isn’t going to be a winner. A website should not be a game of hide and seek.
The importance of written content
The copy on a website is more important now than it has ever been. Google now demands high quality and authoritative copy through its all-seeing algorithm, and a website manager that ignores Google’s demand does so at his or her peril. A website with little or no content, or content of poor quality will not rank highly in the search engine’s result pages.
The website content must fit well with the nature of the company. A serious accountancy or legal firm won’t want their content to be full of lighthearted amusing copy. Spelling and grammar should be 100%, and short paragraphs work better on a web page. Website visitors are more likely to continue reading a piece to its end if it is presented in bite-sized chunks.
Written content on a page should be at least 300 words. It is also best to restrict a page to a maximum of 500 words; any longer than that and the reader might well lose interest and search engines seem not to favor longer pieces.
Copywriters can include specialized keywords and phrases in the copy. These search terms are entered into a search engine to find relevant websites. Careful placement of these words in the article is helpful in increasing the visibility of the website to the search engine. The relevance and importance of keywords is not now regarded as being as important as it once was.
Keeping a website updated with original copy, new pages, and even a new design every once in a while is now essential. The more out of date the search engines find a site to be, the further down the search results page it will be pushed. It is a fact that most website visitors never go beyond the first page and certainly no further than the third.
The phrase “content is king” is often heard being used in the world of website design and search engine optimization (SEO). It is truer today than it has ever been.