24. April 2012 · Comments Off on Web Site Templates · Categories: Business Issues · Tags: , , , , ,

“80% of what we perceive is visual information.”

A Web Site is Mandatory

Today, if you have a business, you need a web site to be taken seriously. Everyone realizes it and everyone wants a web site. But paying for a web site is expensive. It costs a lot because a skilled professional spends a lot of hours collating materials, creating a design, and programming the code behind it all.

Cutting Costs

There are less expensive alternatives to hiring someone to build you a custom web site. You could use WordPress to create a web site,  write a blog, create a Facebook page, or use a template. This post investigates the pros and cons of using templates to create your web site.
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On March 15, 2012 I attended the Web Site Demolition Derby panel at the South by Southwest Music Festival. On the panel were:

The purpose of the panel was to critique musicians’ web sites.  Following  are my notes.

Biggest Mistakes

  • Text is too small
  • Auto playing music or other sounds
  • Built in Flash animations – Flash never looks as good as the first time you see it, the novelty wears off, and it doesn’t work on mobile devices (you’d know this already if you read my blog!)
  • Your name or what you do is not immediately clear
  • Audio or video players don’t work
  • People hate you for putting them through extra clicks

Best Advice

  • Keep it simple
  • Build your web site to change frequently – treat your web site as living and breathing
  • Implement a 30 day, or less, news cycle
  • Make it unique – branding and identity are important
  • Reflect who you are
  • If you’re a performer, always provide a date your fans can look forward to
  • Immediately give your visitors something to play or watch
  • Text is just as important as photos

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Internet users are more and more sophisticated these days and aren’t granting businesses any slack when the web site is less than professional. The Boston Globe article When Bad Web Sites Happen to Good Restaurants highlights common complaints people make about restaurant web sites. Those complaints apply to all web sites so I’ve made a checklist.
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