It’s always been difficult to start a business. It was difficult in the early twentieth century and it’s still difficult today. However, the modern day has one advantage over all those previous eras. The Internet has made it far easier to connect to a clientele and customer base than ever before. The digital revolution has opened new, hitherto unknown markets up to everyone who has enough ingenuity, resources and ideas to a start a website. From a couple who wants to open a bed and breakfast website to a small company looking to expand to whole towns looking to design travel and tourism websites, everybody has an equal starting ground to work on their ideas. This doesn’t come without some serious changes, however. Now more than ever, design makes a difference. Art and commerce have never been more mixed than they are now. What follows is a small list of things to keep in mind when tending to a website online. It can seem overwhelming but as long as you take a step back and piece it out, online business is simple. It just takes a different approach to business, that’s all.
- Location and Place
This is an information age. That’s the cliche but its so, exactly true. Attention spans have gotten truncated and shorter. That’s not a judgement call. It’s just how it is. People want their information faster and more concise and businesses, especially online businesses, have to cater to the speed of the market. Take that couple who wants to open a bed and breakfast website. They’re going to need to present the maximum amount of information (the right kind of information as well) in the minimum amount of space. This is why link location on a website is so important. It’s why potential customers are going to be looking for first. Everything else comes secondary. They are going draw their conclusions about what sort of business is being run from the layout, accessibility and location of the links on the front page of the site. In a similar vein, a website that showcases an RV park is going to want to prominently feature the RV park design somewhere large and visible on the front page. Customers aren’t going to want to look for that. If they have to, they are quickly going to give up and move on. A bed and breakfast website might need to feature prices, availability of rooms and location. Those are the most important things the potential customer is going to have to know. The links have to be placed in an understandable and visible manner or else the business will suffer.
The location and organization of links is one important factor but there’s the overall scheme and design of the information to take into account as well. A regular, physical store would suffer if its outside and inside looked as if they hadn’t been maintained. Similarly, an online store can’t look like it was designed a decade ago. This doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated or unnecessarily fancy. That just makes thing confusing. But it needs to be contemporary. Functional. Fresh. The hypothetical bed and breakfast website can look quaint, cozy but it can’t look old and pixelated. It has to look like some care went into it. Customers respond to that care and can tell when the website or the business is being neglected. Positive effort on the part of the business will result in a similar result for the customer.
These two factors can really be subsumed under the large idea of impression. It’s the first impression that counts. That’s what sticks with customers most of all. It’s unfair and it’s true. The purveyor of the business, the boss and the employees, must be aware of this and try to present, if not a pleasing appearance, then, at the very least, one that’s competent and functional. The rule of passion applies everywhere, even to professional website design. Show that you care and the customer will care. It’s just that simple and easy.