Stop Treating Your Website Like A Yellow Page Ad
Quality Content, Experience, and Design Create Results
As someone who builds experiences and environments online, I’m keenly aware of the various styles of websites I see when I’m browsing the web myself. There are the style-forward websites that are gorgeous and feel like visiting a modern art installation. There are the block pattern websites that follow a tried and true formula so consistent that I can almost see a pattern of graph lines behind the content. There are truly unique sites that range in aesthetic quality and layout, that ultimately serve the brand they represent. And, then, there is what I call “Yellow Page Style.” These are the websites that have enormous calls-to-action, phone numbers, addresses, maps, and other information dedicated to *hopefully* leading a consumer to the business’s door.
The problem with these websites is that they often sacrifice quality content, an inspiring (or even useful) user experience, and any sense of creative design. Either the brand that owns the website or the web designer (sorry, friends!), missed the bus on websites being an inspiring place that fosters brand awareness and customer interaction. The result, unfortunately, becomes a website that looks like a Yellow Pages ad.
Your Website is Not an Ad
Websites are so much more than ad space. They are environments where brands can share their story, sell products, book services, connect people with much-needed information, enroll people in programs, and so on. They are functional environments where important transactions can occur at any time, from almost any place. Brands should view their websites as an additional location or even employee. Not a billboard.
Don’t Let FOMO Drive Design
I think it’s fair that some entrepreneurs experience a level of anxiety about making sure all of the right information is made available online, including their business name, address, and phone number (NAP data, as it’s called). This doesn’t make posting NAP data everywhere in neon colors and 64px font acceptable.
The reality is that by simply listing that data on your website (and elsewhere) in a rational format, both potential customers and search engines will receive the data they need to keep moving a business forward.
Professional Web Design Builds Consumer Trust
In fact, when a website is well designed, it’s can engender trust in the user. Ultimately, earning the trust of a future customer through professional design and quality content will do more to inspire a conversion or drive traffic to your brick and mortar store than a phone number in a font size that is five times larger than anything else on your website.
What constitutes good design?
Visual cohesion and consistency is a start. Every page on your website should have a sense of symmetry, balance, and contrast.
Organization is equally important if not a close second (and first for some). Moving around your website should be simple and logical. To me, it’s all about plain language and consolidating content where possible. If necessary, a logical faceted navigation can help people break through large bodies of content.
Value might be last on this list, but it is by no means the least important. Every bit of content on your website should have value. That means only including images, video, graphics, and text that supports your brand message and the overall purpose of the website. Nothing superfluous should be on page.
Brands that invest in inspiring websites will convert more customers than those who treat their websites as listings. That investment starts with the decision to develop brand messaging and content and a partnership with a creative agency that can pull it all together.
TLDR: In-Your-Face style calls-to-action, names, addresses, and phone numbers make websites look like antiquated ads - professional design engenders trust.