Before You Sign on the Dotted Line – Part 2

Before You Sign on the Dotted Line – Part 2

This is part two of an article called, “Before You Sign on the Dotted Line of a Web Design Contract,” read part one here. These are more things to ask before you sign your web design contract.

Simplicity

easy on the eyes, effortless on the mind and painless for the mouse pointer.

There’s nothing more annoying to visitors than a busy and confusing website. They are unattractive and it leaves visitors with the feeling that even the creators of the website couldn’t decide what was important because they included everything! Let simplicity be your guide when making decisions. The Apple brand and website are great examples of simplicity in design.

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Interactive

the ability for visitors to contribute, relate and connect with your website.

Visitors do not simply want to read all that you have to say. They want to contribute. They want to make a difference. They want to put their stamp on your site. There are many ways you can allow them to do this: comment on blogs, write in forums, wiki’s and message boards, play games, watch videos, demo products, search for hidden secrets… the list goes on. The important part is to make your website a place where people can interact with your site or other people.

Dynamic Homepage

a main webpage that is different each time you go to it

A great example of a dynamic home page is CNN.com. You can go there today and then go there again in a few hours and it will be completely different. Different stories, pictures, news, headlines—everything except the layout. Their layout is consistent so readers always know where to go for their information, but they constantly report the news. In the same way you should constantly be reporting the news to your members, constituents, visitors, etc.

Connects With Your Company

the ability for visitors to your website to recognize your company elsewhere. the impression your website makes about your company.

These are two important and yet distinct qualities. The first is important because you want people who visit your website to recognize your company when they see you at a trade show or walk into your office or see you on TV. When this happens they have remembered you.

The second quality of connecting with your company is all about “first impressions.” How do people feel about your company after visiting your website? If this is the only thing they ever see of your company (which there’s a good chance it will be) what does it tell them? What is valued on your website? What does it look like? Is it organized or cluttered? Is it fun, sophisticated, boring, engaging? And ultimately, the question visitors will ask themselves only a few moments after arriving at your website: does the website connect with my needs? If it does, they’ll sign-up, they’ll buy your product, contact your company, come to your event, bookmark your website, or at least come back again.

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Basic Search Engine Optimization

the bare minimum for making your website search engine worthy.

First it is important to note that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a completely different business than web design. Web designers are not usually great SEO’s and effective SEO’s are not great web designers. This rule is generally true. So if you’re designing a web site, you just want to make sure your designer or design company does basic SEO, this might include: placing keywords on your webpages, including a description for each page, adding alt text for your images, submitting your website to the major search engines, helping you think about who you have connections with that would consider linking to your new website, and reminding you to write your content in such a way that you continually include keywords you want other people to find you for.

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