By Dmitry Buterin, an EO Toronto member.
Building custom-tailored websites is what my company, www.Bonasource.com, has done for more than six years. As experts in our field, we know that there’s a lot more to a Web project than sexy technology and online gimmicks. And yet, nowadays, people tend to ignore the fundamentals of solid Web design.
When it comes time to tackling your next Web project, here are some tips to help you along the way:
1. Start with a clear, measurable goal in mind.
Before you do anything, sit down and think about what it is you truly want to accomplish with this Web project. Why do you want to build or redesign this site? How will you measure your success? The more you prepare for this project, the more results you will see in the long run.
2. Be careful about what you measure.
IT professionals like to throw around Web-specific lingo, such as “hits,” “traffic” and “users.” The number of “hits” your website generates is always the most impressive one— but it is actually pretty meaningless. One person who spends five minutes on your website and goes through a dozen pages might be counted as 1,000 hits! Measuring the number of visitors, newsletter subscriptions and completed online applications are examples of the things you should be tracking.
3. Deliver a great user experience.
User experience is simply about helping people do what they want to do— quickly, painlessly and enjoyably. Successful websites marry the business goals you have with the tasks, needs and goals of your visitors. It is never a one-way street. On the other hand, if you meet every whim of your website but do not have clear objectives as to what they will do for your business, you aren’t going anywhere.
4. Write in simple language.
Many webpages are written in pompous, empty, technical language. The best websites use simple, friendly language— they talk to you in a human voice. If your website cannot be understood by a child, chances are that sophisticated adults will not
“get it” either.
5. Launch, rinse and repeat!
Rarely – if ever – can successful websites be built in one go. Instead, launch something that is good enough. As soon as you get the chance, listen to what people have to say about your website. What pages are the most popular? What are their complaints? What words are they searching for? Fix the problems, address their needs and update the website accordingly.
Notice that the latest and greatest technology did not make it into my top five. Technology has become a commodity. If you have the right team and approach your Web project the right way, you can be successful, regardless of your Web tools.