Have you ever been to a website that had at the least 5 different fonts or even a back ground color that made the font extremely difficult to read? (i.e. white back ground with yellow font)
This kind of website is just a disaster--the type of website that will immediately send a message to your customers that says, "Our company/organization isn't professional enough to have a decent website" ;.The underlying message is, "Our company doesn't care that much about your business" ;.
This is actually the last message you want to send as a small business owner, so look over these ideas to make sure you are incorporating the basic principles of professional design.
1. Develop a professional feel for your advertisement/website.
What does this mean? It indicates having one consistent font that is simple to read. It indicates labeling your links clearly in order that others can simply navigate your site. It indicates having a constant theme to all of your pages so that your ad/site features a unique style and feel--one that is not cluttered by unreadable fonts!
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It indicates balancing images, text, and empty space; a lot of pictures or an excessive amount of text makes your ad/website look much less appealing; remember that it's GOOD to possess some empty or white space.
Don't forget the basic principles: grammar, punctuation, and spelling--nothing could make you look more unprofessional faster than poor written communication! Get your work proof read by way of a professional.
2. Organize your information concisely.
A lot of people searching the web want to locate what they require quickly; they don't want to spend hours and hours reading through long paragraphs in your website to locate what they are looking for. Use bullet points or separation your information into small paragraphs. Use bold text to emphasize the truly important ideas or products. If someone only spent a few momemts in your website, they should be able to read the bold text and have a basic concept of what it's about.
Have others look at your website/advertisement and ask what their first impression is without reading any of it; perhaps you are surprised to locate that folks are overwhelmed by a lot of words and insufficient white space. Stay glued to the basic principles and present your information in a way that anyone could easily understand. This leads to the next tip:
3. Communicate your information at the 5th grade level.
Yes, it's true. Even on the web we still need to help keep things as simple as possible. Avoid big words or fancy language--even if your ad/website is catered to an educated audience. A lot of people just want the basic principles about your business or product--if they need more information, ask them to contact you via email or phone.
4. Use a Professional Color Scheme.
Dark backgrounds with light text tend to look the most professional. When you yourself have to use a white background, make use of a dark font that is easy to read like Navy or Black. Red might not be dark enough unless it is a darker shade. If you want to incorporate a shade theme to your advertisement/website, try using as few colors as you are able to (i.e. 2-3). If you design a small business logo yourself, incorporate the above mentioned tips. If your logo is on a small business card make sure that your name and contact information are the largest and boldest thing on the card.
5. Always ask others to offer feedback in regards to the usability of your website.
Discover how to create a survey as you are able to post on your website to gather this information. Yahoo sitebuilder causes it to be very easy to incorporate forms and gather information. You may want to consider switching to this program if your sitebuilding software isn't user friendly.
Most importantly, remember this: Your advertisement/website sends an immediate message to your customers about how exactly professional you are, so spend the time to produce your work the best it may be.
Jill Stewart Tabatabaei graduated from Brigham Young University in 2005. During her last semester, she worked as a PR intern for Intermountain Health Care where she was in charge of designing adverstisements and promoting events.
She learned a good deal about design in her Computer courses at BYU. She received the very best score in her class on a newsletter she constructed with Microsoft Publisher.