Herding Cats: Why Simple Is Always Better
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein
Preach it Albert!
The other day I was doing some research when I came across what has to be one of the worst websites I have ever seen. It wasn't that it was terribly ugly or had blue background with green text. Rather, it had a horrible layout, I couldn't find anything, and what I did find was outdated information. It really irked me off and I ended up leaving the site.
Have you ever tried to find some simple information on a website and found it absolutely impossible to find it? Something as easy as contact information can sometimes be more difficult to find than the actual site.
Did you know that it takes someone less than 3 seconds to form an opinion of you and your book when they see your website? THREE SECONDS! Your website is hands down the most important aspect of your web presence. Having a bogged down website with way too much or too little information, is difficult to navigate, or even sites (like Flash sites) that don't work on every device (like an iPhone or iPad) can leave a fan (or potential fan) with a bad taste in their mouth.
That is why we always preach: simple is always better. Not just simply stylistically (because your product or service should be the stand out feature of your site...not all the bells and whistles) but simplistically in function and ease.
Consider the following points:
1) Is your website easy to navigate? Meaning is it easy to find the basic information that everyone needs to know like an about section, your contact information, your store, blog, etc.? Remove yourself from the situation for a minute and ask, "If I was visiting my website for the first time, would I be able to easily find the information I'm looking for?" Ask a trusted friend or family member to critically look at your site to make sure it is easy to use.
2) Is your information easy to read? Don't try to get all fancy shmancy and use a bunch of crazy fonts. Use clean, clear, and easy to read fonts that are large enough to see and clear enough to read.
3) What is your color palate? Are you using colors that are harsh or hard on the eyes, like neon or incredibly bright colors, that almost make you wince when you look at them. Consider your overall brand and use colors that fit in with your brand and use more muted colors. Remember, you want to use those same colors everywhere as a part of your branding. It's not just your website that you need to consider when it comes to colors.
4) Is your copy engaging and drawing in new fans? There is nothing worse than a boring and uninformative website! Good content is more just as important to consider.
5) Do you have your information hidden within other pages which makes it difficult to find? Have you edited and streamlined your website down so visitors aren't bogged down or overloaded with information? Ask yourself, "Is what I have on my website helpful, informative to my fans, and easy to find?"
Always think about herding cats on your website. Cats aren't easy to direct where to go (as can be your fans/customers) and we need to make things as easy as possible to find, discover and enjoy. Make your website a pleasant and useful experience. And don't let your fans walk away frustrated, confused or overwhelmed.
QUESTION: What are the most important aspects of a website for you? Leave a comment below!
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