After reviewing thousands of websites over the past several years, I have come to the conclusion that many business websites are missing the boat.
For example: I've been working on some offline promotions and was searching for a simple targeted mailing list. I searched through about twenty sites and not one of those sites were, what I would consider, professional. Their standard blue links were enlarged to about a size 16 font, busy backgrounds, flashing images and very unorganized.
Did I purchase a mailing list from any of those sites? Absolutely not. Why? The way I see it, if those companies don't take pride in their websites, chances are, they won't take pride in their products either. Large linked text and flashing graphics won't make sales.
Your website is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is the most important factor in determining your sites value. In other words, if your site doesn't look professional or pleasing to the eye at first glance, its perceived value and the value of your products and services will be low.
On the other hand, you may have a great website, well designed and a quality product or service, but if it takes too long to load, the value will still be perceived as low. Why? Because your potential customer won't wait. Ultimately costing you business.
Another consideration of great importance is your content. Not just links, but content with value. When someone is surfing the net and they visit your website, they're visiting for a reason. Your site has something they want. Whether it is your product, service or information, that's why they're there. If they don't find what they're looking for, they move on to the next site and so on. If you want your visitors to stay at your site, provide the quality content they're looking for in a nicely organized fashion. Give them a reason to want to explore your site and to continue to visit your site in the future.
After receiving many questions, in regard to site design, from my visitors, I have devised a list of what I refer to as "Deadly Website Sins".
No Meta tags
Poor load time
Over use of java
Pop up messages
Poor use of tables
Poor use of frames
Too many graphics
Text difficult to read
Multiple colored text
Too much advertising
No contact information
Large Welcome banners
Poor overall appearance
Under construction signs
Broken links and graphics
Pages scrolling to oblivion
Too many animated bullets
Poor browser compatibility
Large slow loading graphics
Multiple banners and buttons
Multiple use of different fonts
Scrolling text in the status bar
Busy, distracting backgrounds
Poor use of mouse over effects
Multiple use of animated graphics
Large scrolling text across the page
Different backgrounds on each page
Over powering music set to auto play
Take some time to really look at your site. Compare it to sites that you feel look professional. Time your sites load time. Your customers won't wait. Their time is valuable.
The simple, well-designed sites make the sales. If your sales aren't what you had hoped, take some time to seriously evaluate your site and make some changes before spending your time and money on advertising and marketing. You may be pleasantly surprised.