I’ve asked a good friend of mine Lauren Klopfenstein, who is one of my trusted design team members to share her top 10 website production tips. For several years now Lauren and her associates have consistently delivered exceptional designs to my clients. We’ve worked together on branding, logos, websites, packaging design and a number of marketing and advertising projects. Here are her tips — does your website meet this criteria?
1. Have a plan, ask yourself some important basic questions
Think about your site and what you want it to do. Spend time evaluating what you think your customers want from your site. What information are they looking for when they sign on? They are not going to read paragraph upon paragraph of copy, but too little copy is just as bad. Go deeper than “I just need a presence on the web, my competitors are doing it so should I” kind of thinking. Use your website as an additional form of marketing. It is here to stay, make yours be the best that it can.
2. Hire a “Team” for your website design
Whatever group you pick, make sure they have available to you:
Writer/Organizer. Start your site by hiring a good writer/organizer that specializes in website development. They will interview you, come up with a plan, write specifically for the web keeping your text short and to the point, oversee the whole project and make sure you message is not lost.
Graphic Designer.These are the people that are going to make your site look good and make it work.
Programmer.The graphic designer may only know programming to a point, depending on the complexity of your site, he/she will need to bring in a programmer. Having both can really make your site do great things.
Optimization Expert. There are many levels of this part of your site. Make sure you talk about this early in the process. Every site should have optimization in the plan but depending on what your product is and what you want your site to do, depends on what level of optimization you need and what you are willing to spend on it.
3. Home (Landing) Page
This is the most important page. It must be inviting, must show your strength as a company with good solid design and must have brief strong copy explaining who you are. It must be customer-friendly so that within a few minutes of entering your site they have some idea of the flow of the site and what information they can learn about you and where to find it.
Keep it simple. Even the most “computer challenged” people should be able to move through it easily. Don’t forget to look at your site as your customers will look at it and plan accordingly.
5. Contact Info
Your prospects and customers should never have to search high and low for your contact information. Have your phone number and address on the bottom of every page –- it makes your company look and feel credible.
6. Ask for feedback
While the site being built, share the “working” URL to colleagues and get feedback. Some suggestions may be a minor tweak but will make a big difference. Some suggestions may be too complex implement immediately, but keep them in mind when you revisit the site after 6 months.
7. Get your customer’s contact information to build a database
Give your customers an opportunity to give you their information. Maybe they want someone to contact them for a quote or they want to know what is new or to subscribe to your ezine. This is a great way to grow your database and send out monthly newsletters to their e-mail. It keeps your name in front of them.
8. Browser-friendly and “responsive”
How many times have you gone on a site and it does really bizarre things? Make sure your site is tested on all of the top browsers and digital devices. Some odd things may still happen when people are using outdated browser software, but that is out of anyone’s control.
9. Pay your designer or IT person to keep your site current
This is so important. If you have old information on your site you lose credibility. If you are too busy to do it yourself, hire someone to make sure it gets done. This is an inexpensive way to keep ahead of your competitors.
10. Keep it fresh
You have spent time and money building a great site. In 6 months look at it again and update “the look” even if it is as simple as changing the navigation buttons. You’ll get less return on your investment if your site appears stagnant or is outdated. Technology is changing quickly, and you want your site to take advantage of it.
The following are some of the high quality websites created by Lauren and her associates:
If you are ready to upgrade or create a website that delivers, give me a call 888-796-7300. I’ll set up a conference call with Lauren and my other website production team members to discuss your needs and our design process.
© 2008 Lauren Klopfenstein, Lauren Graphics, Inc.