Websites: art or ads?

by Web Designer on 23/04/2009

in Website Design Basics

So you’ve got a website. Great ! (if not – stop reading and go here !!)

And how is this pinnacle of marketing genius judged  by friends and family?

By it’s looks! Let’s not be so shallow people!
That’s like judging the best Olympic swimmer by her looks rather than her ability to swim ( oh wait we do that as well!)

I’d just like to say here and now for most people a website is a business tool. It’s job is to inform people of what you sell or do, create a desire for those services or products and then facilitate the getting of these.

A business website is an ad! So why the obsession about FLASH animation and delicately drawn pictures over ease of use and good copy?

Try this experiment:

Recall the best ad you have ever seen on TV?

Got it? Great. Was it funny? Emotional? Catchy?

Now what was it for?

Cant remember?

Most people cant.

Try another one…

Many adverts fail to even mention what product it is they are advertising, never mind telling you how much it is or why and where to get it.

And so people think that this is what an ad is for. To look good or entertain.

It’s my belief that advertising is not all about looking good and being clever or funny and winning awards for “best ad” .

It’s about creating and fulfilling a need.

And if you can do this whilst also looking good or being funny your onto a winner.

A website is no different. It doesn’t have to be ugly – indeed it should have some aesthetic value to it.  But do you think Ebay or Amazon are good looking sites?

So when you get a website built please think function before form. Ask yourself

  1. Is it fast to load?
  2. Is it easy to navigate?
  3. It is clear what its main message is?
  4. Is it easy to maintain and update?
  5. Is there a call to action or some way to take the next step easily?
  6. Is it well optimised for google and friends so that it ranks well in the search engines?
    And finally
  7. Is it pleasing to look at?

And how is this successful website assessed?

Not by its looks but by how well it reaches its target audience and gets them to take a desired action (such as emailing an inquiry, or by sales generated.)

Give me an ugly site that sells over a beautiful award winning graphic masterpiece that sends me broke anyday.

Or come to me and I’ll give you both; a nice looking site that sells !

Rant over!

Ronald Sayegh
Web Design Specialist

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