I'm not impressed

Website basics, get it right #webdesignexperiment

Following our last post, we discuss in more detail why we cannot sit back and expect business to roll in now that our website has launched. We identify some of the basic issues we need to address on our website in order to eventually drive new business to us. It’s nothing big, it’s nothing fancy – it’s the basics.

When you browse through this website today (28 January 2020), it seems like a perfectly fine, good-looking site. It has a simple layout, clean look, one bright colour to give it a bit of life and appropriate images. The design is in accordance with what we need right now, so a starting block that needs to be improved and expanded on in the future.

We’ve added the necessary content pages to provide the basic information that we want our potential clients to have i.e. homepage, pricing for basic websites, request for quote for custom work and a contact page. (We added the blog page today so that we can share this experiment and for a few other reasons – we’ll come to that a bit later.)

So, for a starter website, it seems good enough to put out there on the web to represent our good (yet to become established) name. We can post links to it on social media and share the web address with people we meet.

When you look carefully, however, you will notice some very basic issues. These little issues can be fixed in no time at all. Many businesses, however, leave seemingly unimportant little problems out there on their websites, knowingly or unknowingly – who’s really going to notice, right?

This is where I want to kick off our #webdesignexperiment. GET THE BASICS RIGHT, FIRST!

What are the basics? Well, your website creates that all-important first impression with your client and as all the marketing gurus tell us, you only have a few seconds to get this right. In our case we want your first overall impression to be: “These guys have the skill and know-how to design my website.” So our website must show you that:

  1. We know how to create a website (using WordPress in this case) that looks good and works well – great look and feel, good navigation, user friendly, SEO-friendly etc.
  2. We know how to layout the text and images that you provide, in an attractive way.
  3. We are able to add functionality like website forms and blogs to your site.
  4. We will cross all our t’s and dot our i’s to make sure the website works well.

**Important to note here: we’re not talking about full site optimisation (SEO) and creative copywriting yet – we’re just working with the bare, functional basics of a starter site for now.

DID WE GET THE BASICS RIGHT? I’m afraid not yet. Just on our first overview, we identified some problems – some with design, some functional and some critical:

  1. Our logo at the top becomes very small when we scroll down on the site. It’s distracting and does not look good, so it will be better if we changed that. We know that this is coded into the template and not a setting that we can change, so we’ll have to scratch a little in the code or find a plugin to change this. (Design)
  2. The images in our web design portfolio on the homepage can do with white space in between so we’ll add borders or padding – it will be easier on the eye. (Design) [done]
  3. The “Ask About our Professional Site Review” button takes you to our contact page where you can certainly fill in our online contact form to ask about this service, but it would be better if we linked it to a page that explains what this service is about. (Functional/Content)
  4. In the site footer, the ‘LoveMySite’ heading can be removed as the logo is already there and says the same thing. (Design)
  5. The ‘Terms of Service’ and ‘Privacy Policy’ links in the footer lead to nothing which is a huge no-no for any website. If you don’t have the information for a specific page yet, rather remove the links. (We’ll address legal requirements for websites a bit later.) (Critical) [done]
  6. The ‘Facebook’ icon looks a bit lonely and lost in the footer. We think a Facebook newsfeed will look better in this space and create more interest in our Facebook page, so we have to change this. (Design and Functional) [done]
  7. On our ‘Contact Us’ page, our e-mail address is in clear text format. This is another big no-no because spam e-mailing bots will use it to spam you (yip it has already happened!) (Functional) [done]
  8. Lastly, we have not yet tested our site on all browsers and a big variety of different devices to ensure it displays correctly everywhere. (Critical)

Clearly our website as it is right here and now, is not a shining showcase of good web design yet. We are sharing our journey towards getting it right as part of our #webdesignexperiment so that you can see how seemingly small issues on your business website could be harmful to your business image (brand). Your website should reflect to the world (potential clients) that you care about getting the basics right and that you give attention to detail. A sloppy website = no business rolling in.

Our #webdesignexperiment continues, come back soon to check on the changes we have made to address these issues, and how we move on to other areas that need improvements such as content, SEO, link building and more.