Unless you’ve got dual talents in both design and marketing, it’s not easy to develop an instinct about what makes an excellent professional website design.
It’s easy to think that the answer is to throw skills at the HTML source until it’s technically impressive, but that’s actually one of the fastest ways to break one of the most important rules!
Your clients aren’t as interested in watching you deploy every new thing you learn, as you are – not by a long shot. This article talks about a few of the principles that make a website shine in the business world. So, to help readers understand some of the ground-level principles of professional website design, we’ve written a few words about each.
How does one project professionalism? Here are a number of key attributes that make up professionalism, which you should always keep in mind when “feeling out” the essence of each professional website design project.
- Confidence. Don’t beg the audience to believe your client has experience and expertise.
- Show, don’t tell. Convey an intimacy with the client’s products, services, and market.
- Essentials. Get to the point immediately, and stay on point. Don’t just fill space.
- Breadth. Don’t paint your client as being limited – put all their key offers up front.
- Depth. Never leave the site visitor wondering, “is this all they have?”
Remember: Once you have the client’s business, you’re not selling yourself anymore. Don’t spend your effort showing off what you can do. Providing professional web design services is completely different than selling the service itself.
From the point in time where you’ve got the client’s contract, you’re now selling their products and services. Put the same love and attention to detail into their sales priorities, as you would your own.
Less Is More…
Thinking about the above, you can see a common thread in the priorities we’ve put forth. Less is more, especially in a design-related industry. The “less is more” principle comes into play whenever you’re encouraging a specific action or set of actions. You want the visitors to buy your client’s products or services – so don’t distract them with value-adds at critical moments.
…Unless You Need More
The exception to “less is more” comes into play when you’re providing professional website design to clients who serve information-heavy markets. Of course, every business website should offer enough information – but how much is “enough?”
The most important things to keep in mind when deciding how to expand beyond core, action-driven content and design elements in a professional website, are:
- Informational sections should generally be separate from the action-driven portions of a professional website.
- Action-oriented pages should always get top billing in a professional website. Site visitors will expect to “go looking” for information, and will expect the sales and prospecting content to be front-and-center.
Regardless of how sparse or how expansive your professional website contracts become, just be sure to stay focused. Each page, each element, and each decision about positioning and structure, should be made according to the client’s priorities.
Usually, that will mean putting a vast majority of the priority upon spotlighting their products and services – the features, availability, ongoing support, and all the other aspects of doing business, in that business.
This is a common pitfall for creative service providers, and you should guard against making the mistake in professional website design contracts: Don’t suggest any extras, of any kind or cost, unless they’ll lead directly to sales.