Most business people recognize the need to have a website, but few outside the world of web design understand what’s required to make that site effective and ensure that it represents a good return on your investment.

A good website should be a balance between usability and attractiveness. A site that looks gorgeous but is hard to use is just as bad as one that’s easy to navigate but looks like an explosion in a paint factory.

Usability

Let’s take usability first. It’s important that visitors understand how your site works quickly and that they don’t have to spend time finding their way around. You’ll find if you look around at other sites that most of them have a menu along the top or down the left-hand side, because that’s where people expect to see them.

There’s nothing to prevent you from adding other options to your site, but it’s vitally important that the basics of navigation are clearly visible. This is even more important now that more and more of us are accessing the web via mobile devices. Sites need to use responsive or adaptive techniques to ensure they display properly on all sizes of screen.

If you’re choosing to launch your business with a firm who offer web design, you need to be sure that it will be available to the maximum number of potential customers.

Attractiveness

Your site needs to work well, but it’s also important that it looks good. There’s a lot of competition on the internet, and even for businesses within Bristol web design is crucial to make yours stand out.

Colors and fonts need to be chosen carefully. You want your site to stand out, but you also need to make sure it’s readable. There’s a very good reason that most major websites have white or light-colored backgrounds, and you depart from that at your peril.

If you have an existing style on your printed stationery – invoices, letterheads and business cards – then you can use that as a starting point for your web design by using the same colors and fonts. With a small business, you don’t need to go overboard to develop a “corporate image”, but it’s best if you can be consistent as ultimately customers will feel more at home, and familiarity leads to reassurance.

If you have images on your site, they need to be carefully chosen too. Images appeal to the emotional side of the brain, so get them right and they will help with your site’s impact. There are plenty of stock photographs available that you can use for a modest fee. However, they can often look too polished. Pictures which relate directly to your business, such as ones of your shop, workshop, van or staff, will give a more individual touch. You may also want to have a gallery of work that you’ve done, perhaps linked to comments from satisfied customers.

A good website can boost your business by giving it a wider audience and a more professional look. Start by getting the basics right, and the increased profits will surely follow.