When was the last time you asked your customers to analyze your sign company’s website? Chances are if you’ve ever done it, it has been far to long. In all likelihood you relied on a professional to make your website, and while you probably needed his expertise, his lack of insight into your sign business and clientele may result in a website that is less effective than it could be. Usually, what the company owner and the website programmer or designer has in mind isn’t exactly what the customer is looking for. So, take the time to ask your customers what they think of your website, and what they hope to accomplish by visiting it.
With your clear vision in mind, get down to it. Just make sure you don’t make these 4 mistakes – no matter how killer your design, these errors can be lethal.
- Do-It-Yourself. A major trend in business right now is self-service. Businesses are trying to save time and money by offering online message boards, support forums, and giant FAQS, rather than having live customer service support. In reality, most customers prefer having both: the option to make a quick phone call or search the website for the information for which they are searching. If you aren’t offering phone support to save money, than consider setting up a “premium service” that offers phone support for a small monthly fee.
- Complicated URLS. Search engines are watching your site looking for a number of things, including the URL. The weight the keyword in your URL has depends on the search engine, but all the same you want to make sure that your URL is using keywords rather than a string of words and numbers to mark the page. If the page is for your contact information, use the word “contact” in the URL. It makes things clearer for your customers and for search engines.
- Wireframe. Before you present the site to your design team for development, wireframe the site by making a prototype of the site’s look and feel before you ever start writing the code behind it. If you don’t have a clear prototype before the programming stage you may end up with a site that looks little like the one you designed. However, by the time the first draft has been programmed you may be too tight on time and money to fix the disaster.
Obviously, there are tons of other errors you can make while making your website, but take heart, most errors are not fatal and can be reversed. Remember to ask your sign clients what they think before you get started, and take into account their ideas when building your website. After all, they are your target market.