Is your website design ready to go global?
You may (or may not) know that the “www” at the start of your company website stands for World Wide Web but, if you do, you may think that’s all the “global” thinking you need.
After all, the beauty of the internet is that your site can be seen by the whole world BUT does your site feature global thinking? I’m not talking about “aiming high” or planning for world domination (cue nefarious laugh in the style of a Bond villain!), but the elements or features of your site which will appear in multiple places. To the technical among us, these are referred to as “global elements” and they can make all the difference to the success of your website.
As an example, how many times have you visited a website homepage and experienced a simple, few-choices menu bar to access the remaining pages of the site – only to find that clicking through to one of those pages then delivers a completely different looking menu that leaves you lost? Or perhaps you’re using a site and about to click a button that said “order now” on the previous page, but this had suddenly changed to ”enquire now”? What happened there?
The truth is, it is SOOOOO easy to lose a customer or potential sale from your site simply through a lack of consistency. Human beings are creatures of habit, with most of us favouring the well-known names (and websites) we trust and have visited before. This presents your new website with numerous challenges as you battle to reach the top of the pile, but it all boils down to one fundamental thing – building familiarity FAST!
And the key to that is a smooth, consistent journey through your website.
I’ve written before about the importance of ease of navigation so you don’t lose people on their way through your site (read the article here), which all comes down to your site’s structure, but the design plays a separate and equally important role in this. Changes between navigation menus, text sizes, even colour choices – all of these can disorientate a visitor quickly, and that never ends well. Making sure your call to action is easily recognisable regardless of which page it appears on is a basic, but you can also control the size, position and style of your images so they all match on every page – anything that protects your website visitor from the “jarring” experience of a sudden change is vital to make them feel right at home, and therefore ready to engage with your products or services.
But manually checking each and every one of these things on every single page of your website will take you FOREVER!!!
This was exactly the challenge faced by an international charity who came to us with a website that had outgrown the original incarnation and suffered from bits and pieces being added “here and there” as the organisation grew. When carrying out our website audit (to identify all issues including technical, security and usability), we discovered that their main navigation menu was not coded as a global element, but was independently added to each page of the site. As a result, it appeared in wildly varying versions on different pages with some links missing altogether! This not only caused frustration to the in-house team trying to manage the site, but rendered the site barely usable for the public visitor.
We corrected this by identifying the global elements – which elements (such as page navigation menus) needed to appear consistently throughout the site. The difference has been phenomenal! Not only is the site easier to use and makes it far easier to access all of their great content, the maintenance hours required to keep the site updated has been drastically reduced now that any site-wide changes can be carried out easily in one central place.
When planning your website, take the time to consider which bits you’d like to see on every page / some pages / particular sections. Be this the position of the links to other pages, the style of the buttons you want users to click, or that familiar “Ready to contact us?” Enquiry block – they can all be controlled by global elements and save you valuable time (and money) as your Company website evolves. And that’s a whole new wwworld 😉
p.s. Further insights can be found in my Website Insight Video Series on YouTube, including:
Want 5 easy ways to make more money using skills you already have? Grab your FREE copy of my eBook, Leverage Your Expertise Online, today: www.fatpromotions.co.uk/leverage and discover how to create new income streams by unlocking the hidden profit in your business through your website.