One of the most common comments I hear from clients is, “When I am surfing the Web, I don’t like when a site has…” The truth is your personal opinion doesn’t really matter.
Just because you don’t shop on Black Friday or even think about Cyber Monday, doesn’t mean those are not the most significant days in retail. Just because you never use PayPal to buy anything doesn’t mean your target audience won’t. Just because you don’t like a color, banner, button, right/left hand columns, don’t assume your target market feels the same way. It’s not about you.
When designing your site for web usability, your personal preferences need to be put aside. Focus on the target audience, what each page needs to accomplish and then test different designs to determine which converts the best. Sure, you should look at other sites and see what they are doing to help identify options for your site but be careful of your personal biases in the design process.
I believe that there are still many business owners out there that are stuck in the early 2000’s when it comes to web design. Just look at the number of sites that still have the stock photo of the multi-cultural, mult-gender team in suits and standing in a white conference room. Ugh! Who are these people and what the heck do they have to do with your business?
We, as business owners, still spend too much time on getting the look of our sites just right. Then, we spend too much time looking at our own site after the design is complete.
In today’s Web, it is more about what is going on outside your site than on your site. Of course, take care of the basics. Yes, you need to have your product or service complete, you need to be able to take an order or provide information.
Then, move on. Get relevant traffic to your site. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and news sites are a great place to start building your own social media channels. Let your target audience decide what changes need to be made to your work of art based on click and conversion patterns. Test, test, and test.
With data in hand, you can then determine which conversion rate you like best. At that point, go with your personal preference. 😉