Have you ever visited an internet site that had at the very least 5 different fonts or even a back ground color that made the font very difficult to see? (i.e. white back ground with yellow font)
This type of website is a disaster--the kind of website that may immediately send an email to your web visitors that says, "Our company/organization is not professional enough to have a decent website" ;.The underlying message is, "Our company does not care that much about your business" ;.
This is the last message you intend to send as a business owner, so look over these ideas to be sure you are incorporating the basics of professional design.
1. Develop a professional feel for your advertisement/website.
What does this mean? It means having one consistent font that's an easy task to read. It means labeling your links clearly so that others can very quickly navigate your site. It means having a consistent theme to your entire pages which means your ad/site features a unique style and feel--one that's not cluttered by unreadable fonts!
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It means balancing images, text, and empty space; a lot of pictures or an excessive amount of text makes your ad/website look a lot less appealing; remember that it is GOOD to own some empty or white space.
Don't forget the basics: grammar, punctuation, and spelling--nothing can make you look more unprofessional faster than poor written communication! Get your work proof read by way of a professional.
2. Organize your information concisely.
A lot of people searching the net want to get what they require quickly; they don't want to pay hours and hours studying long paragraphs on your website to get what they are looking for. Use bullet points or break up your information into small paragraphs. Use bold text to emphasize the really important ideas or products. If someone only spent a few minutes on your website, they need to have the ability to browse the bold text and have a fundamental notion of what it's about.
Have others look at your website/advertisement and ask what their first impression is without reading any one of it; you may well be surprised to get that people are overwhelmed by a lot of words and not enough white space. Stick to the basics and present your information in ways that anyone could easily understand. This leads to the next tip:
3. Communicate your information at the 5th grade level.
Yes, it's true. Even on the internet we still need to help keep things as simple as possible. Avoid big words or fancy language--even if your ad/website is catered to an educated audience. A lot of people just want the basics about your company or product--if they need additional information, have them contact you via email or phone.
4. Work with a Professional Color Scheme.
Dark backgrounds with light text tend to appear the most professional. When you yourself have to use a white background, work with a dark font that's easy to see like Navy or Black. Red might not be dark enough unless it is a richer shade. If you are trying to incorporate a shade theme to your advertisement/website, try using as few colors that you can (i.e. 2-3). If you design a business logo yourself, incorporate the above mentioned tips. If your logo is on a business card make sure that your name and contact information are the largest and boldest thing on the card.
5. Always ask others to offer feedback in regards to the usability of your website.
Learn how to make a survey as you are able to post on your site to gather this information. Yahoo sitebuilder makes it very easy to add forms and gather information. You might want to take into account switching to this program if your sitebuilding software is not user friendly.
Especially, remember this: Your advertisement/website sends an immediate message to your web visitors about how exactly professional you're, so spend the time to make your work the most effective it can be.
Jill Stewart Tabatabaei graduated from Brigham Young University in 2005. During her last semester, she worked as a PR intern for Intermountain Health Care where she was responsible for designing adverstisements and promoting events.
She learned a great deal about design in her Computer courses at BYU. She received the most truly effective score in her class on a newsletter she made out of Microsoft Publisher.