One aspect of web design that all website designers and website creators need to be aware of, is changing trends. As each year, and even each season passes, advances in technology, software, web design tools and more importantly, the trends with regards to what internet users expect and want to see in a website, mean that what might have been deemed a great web design a few months ago, might not be seen as quite as great today.
From the outset, we have to emphasise that what we are talking about here is not simply adding every single new web design trend to any new website that is being created. Not only would that be technically impossible, but it would also produce a website that did not function, and would almost certainly be regarded by visitors as a train wreck.
Instead, what any new website design should have are the latest technologies and design elements that are required to make the website the best it can be. The adage ‘simple is best’ certainly applies to website design so there is no point in adding design elements to a website simply for the reasons that they exist or are seen as the latest fad on website design blogs.
Being able to design a great website, or even to be a business owner able to convey to your web designer what you want your website to achieve, almost certainly requires some knowledge of what web design features are current and popular. However, as with any activity that you might undertake to enhance your business, great website design relies as much on knowing what mistakes to avoid, as it does to know what actions to take.
Sadly, many a website design has proved to be a failure, despite having many positive design elements, because it also included elements that were definitely not needed nor desirable. This tends to happen when everyone is talking about some new web design fad or other short-term trends which might be popular. Whilst some might go on and actually prove to be positive web design features, there are others that are certainly not and definitely to be avoided.
To help you steer clear of those undesirable fads that are currently on the radar, here are 3 you must avoid when planning and designing a new website.
Web Design Fad To Avoid #1: Oversimplification
You will often hear the advice ‘simple is best’ with respect to the website and that rule of thumb is one that should be followed when possible. After all, an overcomplicated website is an immediate red flag to a visitor who will simply click away, thus our desire for simpler designs for websites.
One of the most creative and satisfying roles anyone can have in relation to business and the internet is a website designer. A website designer gives businesses an online presence that allows them to thrive.
To become a website designer requires many attributes so we are going to cover the main ones. However, you might be reading this and thinking ‘I am a business owner, I do not want to become a website designer’. If so, then you should still read on as when you are choosing a website designer for your business’s new website, you will have greater insights into what qualities your website designer should have.
#1: Understanding How The Online World Works
Being able to design a website that is effective requires more than technical skills, important as they are. You also need to have a sound understanding of the environment in which a website is going to operate, which obviously means the internet. Knowing what trends are occurring in how people browse the internet, what types of content are currently popular and other online habits will allow you to include design elements that complement these.
#2: Knowing Website Visual Design Theory
This points to a website designer’s need to know what design elements are, why they work, and how they can be made most effective. This draws upon the visual aspects of design, rather than the technical side, which we will come to. Nevertheless, it will require technical knowledge to be able to produce the visuals within a website, so you should now appreciate that there is a lot of crossovers of skills and knowledge within website design.
Loyalty to anything or anyone is a desirable trait, but in the world of business, whilst it has its place in many scenarios, it can only go so far. That is certainly the case when it comes to your web hosting provider, which might have given you and your website many years of excellent service but may have recently dropped the ball as it were.
If there are a number of red flags being raised with regards to your website, and if the finger of blame can be pointed towards your web hosting provider, then the chances are that it might be time to consider moving to another web hosting company. If you are unsure what evidence to look for or what symptoms your website might be experiencing that indicate there are serious issues, here are the main ones and which tell you the time to move on is upon you.
Your Website’s Load Speed Becomes Increasingly Slower
The fact that website load speed influences so many aspects of your website’s performance, and any slowing of that load speed, especially if it persists, is a serious cause for concern. Unless you can identify anything you have added to your website as being the cause of this slowing, it is likely an issue with your hosting service. One reason could be them adding websites to the same shared server, and not expanding its capacity to allow for additional bandwidth being needed.
Your Website Is Offline More Than The Host’s Guarantee
Your website is of no use to you, your visitors, or your customers if it is not online. Apart from the frustration felt by all, the damage to your business’s reputation, its revenue, and critically, your website’s Google ranking, are all too high a price to pay for staying loyal to a web hosting provider who is letting you down. This issue can occur when a web host’s servers are unable to cope with demand, which can result from the fact they have not been updated or maintained properly.
When this question gets asked, we actually think that is not the right question to ask. The reason for that is that simply ‘having a blog’ on your website will generate no benefits whatsoever if it is not done correctly.
There are both pros and cons in having a blog on your website, and despite what many business owners think, there is a lot more to a blog than just writing a few paragraphs every now and then. That might be ok for a private blog, but not one that is going to be associated with your business.
The first question that should be asked is ‘What purpose will a blog on your website serve?’. It can have many reasons to exist, and if it is going to be an exceptional blog then it will achieve several of them.
It should provide valuable and useful information that not only can be used by those who read it, but is so good, that they wish to visit your blog again to read more of it. Better than that is if they share your blogs posts by lining to them on their social media accounts.
On that note, it goes without saying that what you write should be as relevant as possible to your business. There no point in writing about your favourite ski resorts in Europe, if you are a local plumber. You’ll also need to add new content to your blog on a regular basis, and if your resources allow, several times a day if possible.
Email is still one of the most powerful and cost-effective digital channels. It is also one where there is a wealth of powerful data that marketers can use to create targeted experiences. Many companies use email effectively to trigger behaviour such as online purchase, based on an understanding of the behaviour of the individual, either in the website or in the email communications themselves.
Yet most Australian companies still seem to use it as a bulk messaging medium, treating everyone the same and rarely targeting their content.
In our research, we deliberately behave in ways that we hope will show us how companies are using their digital marketing capabilities, so we can understand who’s doing what, and who is using digital channels effectively. We subscribe to lots of email newsletters and almost all that we receive are not targeted in any way. Even those that we receive because we are customers of brands are rarely customised to our activity or profile.
Many businesses are still unsure about the value of social media and remain reluctant to look into the possibilities, assuming that social media is not relevant for their type of business. Some business owners are not well informed about social media, assuming that social media is ‘just Facebook’ and therefore just for a certain audience.
For some businesses, it will not be appropriate to engage in social media. But before deciding that your business doesn’t need social media, consider social media in the context of your overall business planning.
Regardless of whether you think your business is suited to social media, business owners should consider:
Social media’s influence on search results – finding your website is likely to become easier due to the influence of social media on the search engines.
Your customers and prospects might be talking about your business in social media, positively or negatively – you won’t know this until you listen. You could be missing out on insights and business opportunities by limiting your awareness of this activity.
But just in case you needed to be reassured, ZDNet brings us Google engineer Matt Cutts, with the big news that SEO is not equivalent to spam. Well, take it from us, we are very relieved to hear that!
It’s kind of silly for anybody to have confused the two in the first place, but hey, it’s a big world and we all can’t be computer geeks, right? Actually, like many computer facets, SEO can be used for good or bad. There is such a thing as black hat SEO, which uses ungainly hacks and naughty tricks to fool Google’s web spiders into finding your page to be tasty – but as almost everybody knows, these cheap tricks work for about five days and then
Google’s index drops you like a hot rock. Similarly, programming is nor “hacking”, but programs can be written with the intent of being hacker tools. Blogging is not propaganda, but blogs can be used to spread propaganda. OK, we’ll stop there.
SEO is not spam. Everybody clear?
We don’t know why it’s been so long since we linked to The Old Master Himself, but here’s Seth Godin’s five rules for your about page. Thank you, Seth, for stamping out bland business-speak with stock photos.
Has anyone else noticed that all stock photo business people are light-skinned (even the Africans), in their late teens or early twenties, wearing an impossibly expensive suit in a scattered sloppy way like they slept in it, and live in milkworld? “Milkworld,” you know, is that white, shadowless void that’s the background to everything in business websites.