Ask yourself this question: “How often do I go to web sites because they are so good looking?” Most people will answer, “Never,” or so I believe. Some people will go to a site because of its brilliant look, but not many. And once seen, they don’t go back. There is no reason to.
Most people go to sites for reasons that have nothing to do with the look.
This isn’t intended as a shot at designers, by the way. Far from it. Design makes a site sing. But if that design doesn’t highlight and enhance content, it’s wasted effort and wasted money.
Yet design is what most businesses concentrate on. Often, in my experience, the content is an afterthought. I think this is because content is a lot harder. Not harder for designers. For them, design is probably the hardest part. But for non-designers, like most business owners? Design is easy.
They have brand colours and logos they can use as a reference. They have their own sense of what looks good and what doesn’t. (This is not always an accurate sense, by the way. But everyone feels they know what looks good. So in that sense, design feels easy. That feeling can lead to disaster but that is another post.)
Should that line on the page be a little thicker or should it be a little thinner? Let’s do a mock up of both and compare them.
But content. Oh my … I mean, who even knows what content is? Product information? Okay, how do I present it? What do you mean that’s too much information? What do mean it’s boring? How do I make it not boring?
And what on earth is that supposed to mean? “It’s not just what you say it’s how you say it.”
Give me colours. Give me layout. I understand that. My spouse just did a redesign of our living room. Believe me, I know design now!
But not content.
If you want to know what content should be on your site and how it should be presented because you would like to get people actually going to your site and staying there, stop thinking like a business. Start thinking like a web user.
Ask yourself questions. Why do I go to a web site? What do I expect to find? Why did I buy that product? Why do I use that service? Why am I doing what I am doing when I am online?
If you answer questions like that as a web user – not, I repeat, as a business – you’ll get some inkling of what kind of content should be on your site and how it should be presented.
And if you present it in a pretty way, all the better!