The Often Forgotten Pillar of Web Site Creation

The WP Crowd

Andrew Killen

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Published: May 5, 2016
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All too often I read that you need both development and design capability to be able to create a website. While this may be true, these things can be mitigated by having a free/premium theme and just installing that. It’s not my choice but is completely possible to make a website that way.  And, jeez, people make websites with Wix and other builders without having a days training on design or a moments thought over code. Pop-out websites are terrible things and should be avoided at all costs.

Without Design and Development, What’s Needed? Wisdom

The most important part of any website creation is wisdom. Actually it should be written WISDOM. It’s that important.

Technically a developer can create anything needed, a designer can create any design wanted, but only WISDOM can create a great site.

By using your WISDOM you can guide your client through the maze of website creation to a place where they are getting what they actually need, which is not necessarily what you think they would like or what they say they need. Sometimes their needs are wrong and only your wisdom and experience can guide them to a better place.

Sites often get over blown before use, and then become a shell when in action

I bet you have created a few of these in your time, I know I have. It is so tempting to offer the world and then when in use the site owner can never maintain all that content.

My local hairdresser got a new site last year. I can be pretty sure it was the time that they wrote their first and last blog post. Clearly that option was not needed as they are hairdressers and not bloggers. Take a look for yourself http://www.gerardkapsalon.nl/kappers-nieuws/.  It is in Dutch but google translate will help you there.

The blog is only one piece that was not needed, I would venture to say that the whole site’s design/structure was not well thought out, with a menu that only promotes thin content much to Google’s displeasure.

Analyze the business, then decide what what is what.

Using the hairdresser as an example, we can see that the business is pretty simple and can be summed up in a sentence.

“We cut and color hair for Women, Men and Children, and try to up-sell occasionally with hair care products”

Must Have Pages

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy statement
  • Cookie policy (its a Dutch/EU thing)
  • Homepage

there are no other must have pages, only nice to have, or handy to have. However any content for those other pages could be put on the homepage.

Pages that people think are needed

  • The Team
  • About
  • Search
  • Contact with map, address and contact form
  • Blog
  • Products page (web shop)
  • Services price list
  • Online booking
  • Saving card information
  • etc etc etc

The three questions you should ask about every page.

  1. What is the purpose of this page?
  2. What do I want the visitor to do when they get here?
  3. Is it really needed?

If you can’t give a well reasoned argument for each of these questions for every page on the site, don’t include it.

Using the wisdom you possess

Single page web layoutIf the homepage was well designed, it could be the following layout and provide exactly what the customer needs right now.

– Header with logo, telephone number and links to on page content
– Statement about what they do
– The team
– List of services with pricing
– Map/Address
– Footer with legally required links

There:  Simple, short and to the point. When people come to them they are not looking to be persuaded that this is the best hairdresser, they are looking for the telephone number to book an appointment and possibly a picture of the hairdresser so that they can ask to have the same one they had last time.

You might have noticed last time you went to a local hairdresser that they didn’t use a computer to do bookings and are not on top of the computer system.  They were probably cutting hair and answering the phone.

In this case there is no need for a blog.  A web shop wouldtake forever to setup with no sales, contact forms would never get answered and why in the world is there a need to search?

There is less profit for you, but a better job is done

OK, if your going to make a site with 1 page it may be harder to justify charging lots of money compared to a site with many pages. However you should not be thinking about it that way, you should be thinking about how good of a job you have done and how they will recommend you to everyone else. You might have saved them some money, and maybe they will come back later for more parts or promotions. The main thing you will have cemented in their mind is the idea that you are a complete professional that knows how the web works and how to create a great site that fits their needs as a business.

TL;DR

WISDOM is your greatest tool. Use it to justify every page/site you make and you will create better things. Always ask the three questions of every page and expect a well reasoned answer or don’t make that page.

What is the purpose of this page? What do I want the visitor to do when they get here? Is it really needed?

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