Designing Your Website for Success
Daniel Rostenne, EyeCarePro.net
You have one second to make an impression on visitors who view your web site. Are you making the right first impression? When someone views your site, that first impression should:
Is your web site is achieving these goals? You can improve your site and make changes today to help achieve those goals. Here’s how:
-- Choose a style or design theme that reflects your practice. Do you want visitors to feel a sense of calm and comfort? Will you focus on luxury lifestyles and high-end products? Is your style family-friendly or oriented to busy career people? Perhaps your design theme emphasizes state-of-the-art technology and attention to detail. Once you’ve decided, create your pages by conveying that theme with the right design elements, colors and photos.
-- Let function drive style. Since design is what grabs your visitors’ attention, design your site to support your practice goals. What areas do you want visitors to notice first – your services, your exciting range of products, or your experienced doctors and professionally trained staff?
-- Stay consistent. Every aspect of your practice should reflect your branding – your office decor, logo, letterhead, business cards and uniforms. Your web site is one more aspect of your “design family” and should match your branding theme.
-- Make quality a priority. Your logo and images should be clear, high-resolution, properly sized and easy to read. If you don’t pay attention to detail on your site, what other details might be missed during an exam or contact lens fitting? Anything less than perfect reflects poorly on your practice.
-- Use repetition. Repetition reinforces your site’s key messages. To advertise a product, for instance, never start with a contemporary template followed by a traditional logo and then a cartoon-style icon. The result is confusing. Instead, use similarly themed items – if you’ve chosen a contemporary style, support that style with streamlined icons and illustrations.
-- Focus on photography. Use stock images or actual photos of your practice, doctors and patients. While stock images are generally more professional, personal images give your site a “homier” feel and can also be successful. Whether you decide on stock or actual photos, the most impactful images should:
-- Choose non-photo designs. Although photos are used most often in practice web sites, illustrations, line drawings or even a light-hearted cartoon image can communicate the appropriate feeling. Slide-shows of images and video clips can also make a huge impact. Again, your theme and style will help guide your choices.
-- One size fits all? Not when it comes to screen sizes. Internet stats show that the majority of people use a 1024 by 768 monitor size. Size your web site design and images appropriately.
-- Less is more. A tastefully designed site with clear and readable content is more effective than one straining with design “tricks” (rotating icons, flashing arrows and spinning logos). If there are important points, simply highlight them.
So how do you know if your improvements are successful? Your key web site statistics will change because people will spend more time in your site and will view more pages. At best, they’ll find the services and products they need, and will fill your appointment book with exams.
Make that one second count – with a better design that’s more attractive and ultimately more effective.
Did you miss the first article in our web series? Read Want To Write Your Homepage Like A Pro?
Daniel is the Managing Director of EyeCarePro.net (http://www.eyecarepro.net), a preferred Provider of the American Optometric Association for building web sites for optometrists. Daniel also specializes in SEO for optometrists and is the Editor of Optometry Web, a newsletter singularly focused on helping optometry practices make the most of their web sites.
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