One of the most common mistakes when building is to forget who they’re creating their website for.
It’s easy to get carried away with beautiful graphics and state of the art technology. However, if the website isn’t’ designed around your visitor or your audience then you’re efforts are wasted.
When designing your website make sure each element:
What will your website visitor gain from the design element, feature or function? Will it help them? Educate or entertain them? Will it make using your website easier or more interesting?
If the answer is no, then skip it. Everything on your website should ultimately support your visitor’s experience.
People have a short attention span. If they have to spend time figuring out how to use a feature or a function then they’re more likely to click away. Each element of your website should be easy to use and/or figure out. It should be intuitive.
And keep in mind that what seems easy to use for you may not be for someone else. This is when it helps to have outside advice.
Supports Your Goal(s)
Before you started creating your website you planned it out first, right? And one of the first things you decided was the goal for your website and each subsequent website page.
For example, the goal of a sales page is to motivate a purchase. The goal of an opt-in page is to get an email address. The goal of a landing page may be to motivate a click deeper into the website. And the goal of a page of content may be to inspire a click on an affiliate link.
Each page has a goal and therefore each element of your website needs to support that goal. If it doesn’t, let it go.
Also, when designing your website for your audience consider elements that help build a community or inspire action on your page. For example, allow comments on content or give people the opportunity to rate them. Make it interactive through polls, questionnaires or quizzes. Integrate social networking and other interactive features as well.
Your audience is your primary consideration when designing your website. If they enjoy the experience and find value in it, they’ll come back. They’ll tell others. They’ll link to your website. You’ll be successful.