By Judy Vorfeld Are you one of those Web designers who design quite well, but don't have time to work on your own site? Savvy Web surfers looking for designers expect a great deal from a site offering Web development/design.
Here are some points you should consider if you offer Web development on your site:
It must say, first page, first screen, etc. It should say exactly what it intends to do to meet the visitors' needs. See BL Ochman's WhatsNextOnline.com site, and Mike Fortin's The Success Doctor.
It should be incredibly clean and clear. There should be sufficient white space to make everything look ambient. Keep text in boxes away from the edges. Take a look at Kelly Ward's Digital K website. Visitors must be able to read the text, and it must look appealing. Avoid placing tiny gray text on a black background, or putting text over such a busy background that it's not readable.
If it doesn't load quickly, you've probably failed. These days, all sites that sell well load quickly. See Jodi Diehl's Sunfrog Services for an example of good design that loads rapidly.
About us/Contact us
Your site must have an "About Us" area so people can check your credentials. Tell a bit about yourself. It's okay to have the mission statement on this page, but potential clients want to know about you and your philosophy. It must also provide thorough contact information. Visitors expect a business address and several ways to communicate with the site owner. Look at It's an Office for example, a site owned by VA Elsbeth Oggert.
Text links are great because they're quick and easy to use. amd search engines love 'em. If you use graphic links, also use text links, and make sure the graphics are optimized. Always have text links as a basic component. Notice how Grant Crowell and Shari Thurow use their text links to advantage at Grantastic Designs.
Building trust. It's important to provide information and possibly testimonials to show that you are a real person that others appreciate and respect. A good example is Jeannine Clontz, of Accurate Business Services.
Web developers have their work cut out for them. Every visitor will (and should) look for strengths and weaknesses in the developer's sites. How else can they properly analyze whether or not to hire the company?
If they see even one typo, they'll assume that the sites developed will have typos. If they see sites that take forever to load, they'll assume that this is the kind of site the designer creates for his/her clients, and so forth.
If you want your site to sell, focus on usability. References help, but most the important factor is that your site appears to be a model of efficiency and information. In every way. All of the above holds true for any business site, but is absolutely vital for designers and developers.
For more information, contact Judy Vorfeld