FACT: Your web site ... can make you ... of dollars OR it can kill your business - DEAD!Why is it so crucial? Given a choice of ... which one would you enter? The one with the ent
FACT: Your web site appearance can make you thousands of dollars OR it can kill your business - DEAD!
Why is it so crucial? Given a choice of restaurant, which one would you enter? The one with the entrance under construction, the bizarre color scheme and the hand written menu? Or the one with an immaculately dressed host standing in the doorway welcoming you to a table where even the color of the menu coordinates with the rest of the decor which is, well, just right?
Lesson: the first impression has tremendous IMPACT on how visitors to your site perceive it from there on. The exit is only a click away for the unimpressed!
Take a minute to review my story and see if it rings a bell with you. Above all, learn a VERY important lesson:
I started on the internet about a year ago full of enthusiasm to get my first web site up and running. I dabbled with FrontPage. The first results were encouraging - so I thought. Then I started noticing other web sites out there - professional ones. Hmmm. Now I was not quite so content. Compared to some other sites I saw, the whole thing began to look rather 'amateurish'. After countless frustrating hours fiddling with various programs, kicking the computer and feeling more and more frustrated, my site still looked like the work of a greenhorn!
I liked the color scheme of black, red and orange for some reason. After a couple of months some thoughtful person who had visited my site sent a brief message: "Sorry to say, I could hardly read a word on your site! Your body text is orange, one of the worst choices you can make!" I was shocked. The page looked so nice in my Internet Explorer window. So orange was a big mistake! Time for a redesign.
OK. Off we go again. I changed the colors to red and grey with the body text in a dark grey. Very smart I thought. After hours and hours laying out many pages and formatting the paragraphs I was well pleased with the results. I came across a copy of Netscape's browser and decided to install it to see how my site looked to a large chunk of the internet community who did not use Internet Explorer. HORROR! What a mess! The page that looked good in IE4 was totally disjointed in Netscape. The paragraphs were all uneven and the tables didn't even line up. Picasso would have been proud!
My dissatisfaction was growing. On top of that, I read a comment from a savvy internet entrepreneur who said there was only one design program he was aware of which delivered clean html code which looked good in all browsers. Which one? Dreamweaver from Macromedia. Gulp! You mean I had spent the last four months sweating with FrontPage only to be told that the design program of choice is a different one? Could I stomach another sharp and tedious learning curve?
Around this time I received an interesting offer from a guy named Micah Cranman. He owns a web design firm, Sybren Design and is also a subscriber to my ezine The High Achievers Journal. He had taken a look at my site and suggested a total reorganization. I was skeptical. After all, I had given birth to this thing, we were bonded, it was mine! Anyway, his offer sounded good so I accepted.
After a couple of weeks the new site was ready for my first appraisal. With great curiosity I opened it up. First impression? Nice!
The colors of blue and grey were just right for complementing the site theme of goal achievement and personal development. Serious and business-like - that's the effect I wanted.
The menu system and categorization were brilliant. It made navigation so easy and piqued a visitor's interest to investigate further from any page. Instead of the previous mish mash of doorway pages, ads and serious articles mixed into an undefinable soup, there was now purpose and order to the site.
Now began an intensive period of communication with Micah as we worked together on the small details. His input was invaluable.
Out went some 'cheesy' looking bullet graphics to be replaced by plain but professional list items.
The body text color was changed to black.
A small paragraph introduction was added to the top of each category section.
The color and formatting of the hyperlinks and article boxes was fine tuned.
At the end of the day do I miss my very own do it yourself web site? Quite honestly NO. I now have a professional web site I am pleased with and one which is now set up to accomplish my business goals.
Have I got any results to boast about yet? Yes. My visitors' behavior has changed radically. The tracking records show visitors are now hitting an average of 4 pages per visit as opposed to 1 before. The navigation system with categories has made sure of that.
If you've got a minute, just take a look for yourself and make your own appraisal. http://www.vitalstop.com/index.htm.
What is my recommendation? Do it yourself web site design is good to a point. It may satisfy your desire to get under the hood and tinker with the engine. It can give you a working knowledge so you can fine tune things later. But quite honestly you can save yourself days and weeks of sweat, frustration and grief. It took me about six months to learn this lesson. You can learn it in five minutes from reading this article.
THE LESSON: If you want to get a professional web site up and running quickly which will be a spring board for your business, do yourself a favor - Get the help of a web site designer and GET SERIOUS!
99% of responses to this article so far related to the experience and agreed with the conclusion.
One reader however related her nightmare experience after employing a so-called professional web site designer. In her own words, "The design that was presented to me looked like the work of a 5 year old." She is now attempting to get her money back.
If you decide to use a professional web site design service, check it out first!
Mike's web site at VitalStop.com is a great information resource for Internet Business, Communication Skills, Computer Proficiency, Creative Thinking, Goal Achievement, Image Building, Power Vocabulary, Speed Learning and Time Management. Receive a monthly notice of new content by sending a blank email here: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org