The ’90s were a great time, right? In 1990, Hubble launched a telescope into space; in 1992, the Cold War officially ended; in 1997, scientists successfully cloned a sheep; in 1998, president Clinton asked us what the true definition of “is” is; and in 1999, everyone freaked out about the Y2K bug and how it would shut down the internet and, in turn, the world.
Now, to be honest, I was born in 1991, so I had to look up a timeline for most of those events. However, I do remember what websites looked like “back in the day.” If you need a little refresher, just do a quick Google search of “Space Jam” and take a look at the first link. It is the original website designed by Warner Brothers all the way back in 1996.
Look familiar? Hopefully it’s familiar only because you have a sharp memory, and not because your current website looks like that. If it does look like that, you may want to ask yourself a couple questions. “What does this website say about my company?” “Is this really what I want people to think of my company?” “Was the person who created this site a middle-schooler in his parents’ basement, hastily creating a site on his Windows 97 computer so that he could get some spending money?” “Was he working on a Windows 97 computer because his parents were too cheap to pay for an update?” (I’m looking at you, Dad!)
If your answers to these questions were “Not anything good,” “No,” “Probably,” and a resounding, “YES!” then you probably have some problems. And it’s probably a good idea to get some outside opinions about your website. Don’t rely on your own eye. Treat it like an outfit for a Friday night on the town (or just a Friday night sitting at home eating ice cream) and ask your friends or significant other if it looks good.
If the answer is “No, it doesn’t look good,” or even “…Yeah, that looks fine…” then you should consider these tips for a successful website:
1. It should have a lighter background color (preferably white or light gray) with darker text.
Look at some of the more popular websites out there (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube). They all employ this tactic. Simply put, it’s easier to read dark font on a light background, rather than the other way around.
2. The background and text should not be too loud.
What I mean is this: If McDonald’s were to make the background of its website yellow (because it’s lighter) and the text red (because it’s darker), you would not enjoy going to the site for reasons other than your fear of clowns. It would hurt your eyes. If you go to the site now, you’ll find it’s a light gray background, with dark gray text, and red and yellow pictures and words sprinkled throughout. It’s easier on the eyes (much like pictures of the food are easier on the body than the actual food is).
3. It should be consistent with the rest of your company.
Make sure you use your business’ brand standards, such as logo colors, on your website Otherwise, it will confuse those who come to your site. Make the web design recognizably yours.
4. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SPELL EVERYTHING CORRECTLY.
Speling owrds incorectly iz teh simlpest way ot turn sum1 off 2 ur site (TRANSLATION: Spelling words incorrectly is the simplest way to turn someone off to your site). This is a no-brainer. It is so basic, yet so often passed over. Whether typing in shorthand (like most teenagers) or by accident, spelling words incorrectly is a huge mistake. You may have the best shop around, but if you have a misspelling on your website, it puts a hint of doubt about your store in the customer’s mind.
Pretty simple stuff, right? You would be surprised by how many websites out there don’t follow these tips. Please do yourself and your company a favor by implementing these tips on your next website. Your customers will thank you for it.
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