I am not a web designer. I openly admit that. I built my own website and a local salon's site (that I did photos for) but I used templates and really don't know any coding or advanced techniques. If you're interested in creating a website I can supply you with contact information for website designers I know and trust.
I do look at A LOT of websites, and I photograph for businesses and individuals who use those images on their websites, so I frequently talk with the person that "maintains" the website. That doesn't mean that they built it or even know much about it but they have been given instructions on how to update it. So I have learned some things here and there along the way.
Some of my pet peeves about websites I have seen.
Have you ever gone to a website and not been able to find information you were looking for? Or worse yet, couldn't even figure out what the business was offering?
I think many businesses get a website up and think they are done. Unfortunately it isn't that easy.
(a snapshot of my website above)
Some things to consider when reviewing your website or preparing to to get one designed:
Describe on the homepage what you do or what services you offer. Why keep them guessing?
Pick nice simple web designs that aren't too busy unless it makes sense to incorporate many design elements.
Of course I am going to say it. Have good PHOTOGRAPHY. Blurry photos and photos that are not sized correctly send a message that you may not really know what you are doing. If you don't know how to do it higher a professional web designer. It may not be as expensive as you think and the returns will likely be very beneficial.
If you have a website and your don't think it is working for you, have a trusted web-savvy friend look at it. Ask them to be honest about any specific changes they feel would be an improvement. OR I can do a free website evaluation for you. Just contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure your menu links work! Nothing worse than a blank page or error message coming up.
Too much text turns people off. Try to condense the information or have it inserted in relevant pages. I think websites have gotten much better, but I remember in the past looking at websites and thinking, Is this some kind of crazy manifesto by a deranged person or are they offering a valid service? I don't see many of those anymore, but think simple and concise. Leave some space around text so people can rest their eyes and not be overwhelmed.
Many websites have music. I have had it before but came to the conclusion that it wasn't necessary and can be a little irritating.
If you are a restaurant and have photos of your food make sure it looks appetizing. Bad food photos can really turn people off.
For small businesses some stock images are okay, but make sure you have some local content and location specific images too.
Have keywords in your website that will make your site more searchable on Google and other browsers.
Check your web stats to see how your site is doing. I use Google Analytics which gives a lot information. It sounds like there may be some debate on how accurate web statistics are but I think it will give you a general idea of how your website is performing.
It is also a good idea to have an editor to review your writing. Spelling and grammatical errors can turn people off. I definitely use help in that area. I can share my editor connections with you too.
I use my website all the time to convey information. I include links in my emails to webpages for pricing information, session information and examples of my work.
Just a few of my stock images below. Available for purchase. See my stock images galleries.
Many small business’s think that a web site is brochure to their services. It’s not, it’s the main advertising they do for their business today.
Westrum & Brown Inc
If getting into the search engines is important to you, be sure to have a blog integrated into your website (not an external blog on another server). Blog posts are going to be your least expensive and most effective tool to penetrate into the top of the search engines. 20 minutes of writing can yield years of targeted traffic. It's that powerful. - Scott Bernadot, Bernadot Studios, LLC