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In your business, you’re probably a DIY type. You’re also wise enough to balance your hands-on approach with delegating authority to others in your enterprise. You know want to optimize your online real estate as much as possible. But no matter if you’re new to e-commerce or if you have some knowledge under your belt, there are a few things you need to consider while building or redesigning your website.
Accessibility Is Paramount
Accessibility means a lot of things. You might think of ensuring that disabled individuals can engage with your content, or creating a site that also works for low-bandwidth users, or using larger fonts and high levels of color contrast between text and backgrounds. And you’d be absolutely correct. While there are unique things to consider for each of these user groups, the basic idea is that your content should be readable, free of clutter and promote ease of navigation. Some things to avoid in your layouts include small fonts, flashy or busy designs and burying your most important information in hard-to-reach areas. This ensures that you don’t erect any barriers for audio screen readers, voice-activated browsing tools, slower Internet connections or even people with minor vision issues. They’re also sound advice for making sure that mobile devices and even users on older platforms can access your content. More specific information on accessibility guidelines can be found on the World Wide Web Consortium website.
Clean, Simple Layouts
A simple structure is also more likely to help most users find what they want and encourage them to stay. Most individuals will look for your navigation menu either at the top or on the left side of your page, according to expert Bryony Thomas in this article on small business web design from The Guardian. This structure is also friendly for multiple platforms and devices — but be sure you’ve included options for mobile browsers. If you plan to make your own website, the provider you choose should offer layouts that support ease of access.
Engage Your Visitors
Image-rich sites draw the users’ eyes. If your web presence is tooled towards e-commerce, seeing before they buy is more likely to give them a virtual shopping experience. Lots of color and detail encourage purchasing. If you go this direction, then you must decide how image-heavy your site will be. Also, be sure to include alternative text descriptions of your graphics for screen readers to read aloud to people who are blind or have low vision. Responsive websites also promote interaction and communication. Your “Contact” page should be readily reachable, for instance. Also, mailing lists are a great way to maintain relationships with your customer base. Email marketing services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact offer ways to promote your business and its products. Many of these are relatively low in cost, depending on the kind of subscription you select.
Do It Yourself, But Do It Wisely
You already know that spending too little or too much on your firm’s web presence is foolish. Finding the middle ground in your approach is a good idea. With some design basics as discussed above, planning and some useful tools, creating your online presence is well within your grasp.