You: I've got a great website. Everyone else: You're kidding, right?

Failed Website DesignIt is so easy to create a website and, lacking real standards of what is good and what is bad, there is really a lot of bad.  How often has someone told you “My website guy/gal is really good.  He she does the work on the side so I got a real bargain.”

Here, in this post, my goal is to help you create some standards then measure your website against those standards.  To help with my presentation,  I’m going to use three websites:  Apple, The White House and Berkshire-Hathaway (Warren Buffet’s company).  Clearly, all these companies/organizations are at the top of their game and should have correspondingly good web sites.  Click here for each site:

Apple  The White House         Berkshire-Hathaway

The first thing you will see is each company has a different goal – and their web sites reflect these goals.  Are you trying to get new customers?  Sell your products?  Help brand your image?  If you go look at the Webby awards (click here), there are categories of web sites based on the theme of the company.  You need to do the same thing.  If you and your web designer did not talk about the message your are trying to project you have missed the boat.

Apple is a cutting edge, cool company.  And their web design projects this.  Clean lines, big pictures, lots of white space and very cool products.  You know who Apple wants to be by going to their home page.

The White House is about President Barack Obama.  He is clearly the person to watch and he is all about the people.  The home page talks about helping immigrants, student loans, disaster relief, health care.    There is no bad news on the White House home page.

Berkshire Hathaway has a very interesting web site.  Any designer in the world would say it’s ugly.  Best case is it is minimalist.  But it exactly gets to the point, does not appear to be wasting money in web design and gives me, the investor, access to any information Berkshire Hathaway has for me.

After reviewing these very good websites, go to your website and pretend you are there as one of your customers:

  • Does the home page reflect the core values of your company?
  • Can your customer easily find the answer to the question he has?  Maybe your phone number or address or hours of operation?
  • Is your website clean or is it so full of stuff that it looks cluttered.
  • Is your page fast loading or does it take a long time because of multi-media.
  • All three of the websites have plain white backgrounds (including if you’re interested).  Do you have fancy but distracting backgrounds?
  • If you are selling, is the customer experience easy and fast?  Have you even gone through the process yourself?

You get the point.  Do not underestimate the value of your website.  Getting a great deal on the cost of the design may be the most expensive mistake you make in your business.

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