What a long way we’ve come in the past few years. From websites that invested heavily in words and told the visitor EVERYTHING to a more sophisticated, image-led approach that tempts the user into finding out more. This is a broad overview of how websites have changed but of course there is so much more and, importantly, much more to come…
You’ll know an older website design as soon as you see it – boxy, contained, no scrolling and lots and lots of pages. The new trend is for image heavy sites that have a wonderfully long home page with lots of access points to key places on your site. It will be fluid and not restricted to a box template and, importantly (but still not adopted everywhere), websites that work on every type of device.
Older sites are clunky and hard to navigate. The user experience can be frustrating but equally so for the website owner – you should be able to get in to your own website and make at least basic changes without incurring costs from your web provider. There will be probably always be a need for support at a higher level but the ability to change opening hours, typos and update crucial information should be at your fingertips.
Images versus words
We were crazy for telling the user everything – now you should hold back, create a breadcrumb trail to tempt your visitor to find out more (and preferably by picking up the phone and talking – the basis of all good professional relationships). Images include real photos (avoid stock if you can although they are powerful and useful if relevant) and video if you have the resources. Videos are perfectly acceptable at phone video standard and the rawness of an unprofessional film can be charming and honest.
Increasingly Google has started to shape the way we choose websites. It favours websites with fresh, changing content. It likes https to indicate the security level of your site. And it likes websites to have good content, relevant and informative. This doesn’t mean it should be long and unwieldy – just enough to make sense and satisfy a Google search. Also don’t try and outwit Google, we promise they are cleverer than all of us! Duplicated pages, hidden pages or even association with some SEO providers can result in your site being banned from their index.
Websites are amazing, they achieve so much for the businesses they represent but it’s easy to get left behind. Talk to us if you need some guidance at any level - we can help or signpost you to someone who is more specialist if needed.