Text is out... graphics are in
The role that media plays in your small business is becoming vastly more complex. For example, think about your favorite website. Although you might be initially drawn by the products or services the site offers, you probably stick around because of the layout and the design elements that make it worth your time. Every little click makes sense to you, and you've grown comfortable with the scroll-over text pop-ups, the dancing Ke$ha GIFs and the soft jazz that starts playing in the background. Even though this website's core function is still to sell you something or provide you with a service, the designer has made it a memorable and entertaining experience that works.
There's something about visual media that captivates an audience much moreso than drab text. Think back to your favorite website again and now imagine it without one of the common components, such as video, graphics and mobile compatibility, which are required for a modern website design. Is it still worthwhile? Would you still keep going back without the dancing Ke$has? Maybe, but there's also a chance that the perfect blend of media has been disrupted.
If you're trying to decide how to move forward with your website design, consider the following small business tips:
Know who you're trying to reach
If you're the owner of a company that sells beachwear, a website covered in snow flakes and interactive images of men and women wearing scarves and hats probably won't translate well to your intended audience. The people landing on your page shouldn't have to think very hard to understand what its purpose is. To that end, it's also up to you to decide how you'll keep these visitors engaged, beyond the simple act of online shopping. In keeping with the same example, why not include images of a nice tropical setting with sunsets and gently crashing waves? Whatever the basis of your design will be, try to make sure it makes immediate sense to your target demographic.
Consider adding different media elements
Text is important, but a website has so much more aesthetic potential than that. Consider adding video or other interactive components to help spread the word about your products and services. Most people these days would rather watch a video or skim an infographic to understand what it is your selling instead of having to read eight paragraphs of text. Video isn't your only visual option either - artistic and colorful graphics, charts and image slideshows are all visually stimulating elements that will keep your site visitors engaged and coming back for more.
People enjoy seeing your human side
Try not to think of your visitors as mindless drones, surfing the Web at random. Once you've determined who you're marketing to, remember that your site-goers are looking for an experience, not just a one-click service. That part of the page is already there, after all, and if you're hoping to grow your small business, this is an opportunity for you to reach out to your consumers. With this vantage point, you can interact with them by including a social media element or by sharing exciting company news right on the home page. No matter what you're selling, people are interested in knowing that they're spending their money at a company that values them. What better way to show them you care than by sharing news, providing updates, resources and making the overall site experience more human?
The goal should also be to have fun with your website design. When you're happy with your finished work, it will show, and your visitors will be all the more grateful for it.