One of my pet peeves is ugly websites. Now I know that not everyone has the time to put into a new site, but it’s worth the time and effort. Online visitors first impressions of your company is your site. If they like it, they’ll continue to look around the site but there are plenty of alternatives if they don’t like it. Lack of design may make the user feel there is also a lack of security, product quality and/or customer service.
One of the big things right now is that Web 2.0 look. Now I don’t know if you can really target a look and feel to Web 2.0 necessarily, but is the characteristics that make up some of the biggest Web 2.0 companies websites that are making up this look and feel.
What do you need for a Web 2.0ish site? Simplicity, color, larger fonts, nice icons or graphics and a beta logo never hurt.
Actually, WebDesignFromScratch.com has a great Web 2.0 how-to design style guide. Granted it won’t do the work for you, but it’ll point you in the right direction. Sometimes, incorporating a few items on the list can go a long ways and a whole site re-design isn’t always necessary.
Need a quick fix for you blog? Check out the Theme Viewer for WordPress or themes for your blog platform. Using the default theme is definitely a don’t do. Actually, any mass distributed theme is only a starting point. Customizing the look and feel for your site is a must in order to make you stand out.
Another thing to keep in mind is don’t sacrifice the search engine friendly aspect of your site for design. To many images or Flash can drop your visitors though the floor. There is no reason your design can’t be both stunning and search engine friendly.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Some sites can do just fine being a bit out of date. A good sales guy can sell no matter what. But it’s getting those visitors that just happen to come via a search engine that you want keep interested. Their first impression is your site design and you want to make sure it’s a good one.