Why did Facebook beat MySpace and how did the defeat get so humbling that MySpace now has a Facebook Connect button as there primary method of user registration? Also, why is the word Analytics synonymous with web traffic analysis and sheer awesomeness? Keep in mind that an affordable website design doesn't need to be a ugly website design, there are many things you can do to give yourself a boost.
So... What makes a good website become magical and how can you give the magicians touch to your own website in an affordable way?
The answer is the following 4 points of interest which might very well interest you!
As you might have imagined, it's vital that whatever is on your website actually needs to be of interest to the people visiting your website. This helps in many ways as the following items will greatly use the statistics gathered by users who are clicking around your website.
So not only do you want to create truly valuable content such as this article, but you also want to advertise to the exact people who can use the information or services you provide. No more mass advertising because it's cheap. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it'll give you a better bang for your buck.
The term “Usability”; as defined by Wikipedia is “the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object.” As it applies to websites, the term is the holy grail for any true to the art web designer. This means, you follow the path of least resistance. If 99% of your target demographic is used to their being a horizontal menu bar at the top of the website, you might want to consider having one. Although, it's important to add spice as well as evolve web design, as it will always progress, just remember to keep track of how it's effecting your users behavior.
In addition to knowing your audience, there are a few tips of general usability. The first is the focal point of a website. This is where a users' eyes will be drawn to first. In order to find the focal point of your website you can do the following. Take the instantly-visible area of your website (also known as above the fold), and go 1 third of the way from the top as well as stay to the right side of the content. The focal point is where you'll want to place the primary action item of your website. The second tip is to use colors according to your intention. If you want to get somebody to feel excited and click “BUY NOW!” make it Red, or Yellow as we're instinctively afraid of these colors. So Red & Yellow will draw our eyes to action zones.
You might see the term “User Feedback” and cringe at the idea of listening to a hundred people tell you why you're not good enough. Although User Feedback can come in all forms if you're open to it. Google Analytics; as mentioned in the beginning of this article gives you an obscene amount of user feedback without the user ever being aware of it. It will tell you where the users go, where they leave, how they got there, how long they're spending on each page, etc... All of this is extremely useful and you can analyze the information in more ways that you can image. So keep your eyes open to all the ways your users are giving you feedback. Also, don't be afraid to talk to them, as it gives you volumes of data that can't be derived from graphs.
This one is obvious, although visually pleasing is a matter of opinion. For example; in the book “The E-myth revisited” he states how their particular target demographic is naturally drawn to navy blue as a color that is trustworthy. Who are you targeting and why? You can do a search and find all kinds of interesting studies that will help you identify the information needed to visually please your target demographic. Keep in mind, that people are generally on the Internet to be entertained, so if you can relax on your normal reservations about first impressions and just enjoy doing what you do, it will probably accomplish that.
Facebook beat MySpace because of usability and Great Content. They made it much easier for people to share the information that others cared about and eliminated the profile by profile color explosions. You might remember all those teenage color themes, it was a bit over stimulating.
Here are a few more tips on what makes a good website.
If you do have the funds, you may consider hiring a website design agency to assist you with all of this, as they usually have many case studies and experiences to fall back on.
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