By Monica Pitts
It feels a little strange to tell you what not to do with your website. It seems kind of counterintuitive, actually. Like when your kid’s riding a bike down the street and you say, “don’t run into that car!” Which ultimately leads to them running into the car…so usually it makes sense to tell people what to do. But like anything else, with web design there’s also things you need to stay away from to make sure your website is awesome.
1. Don’t use crappy photos.
There are lots of ways photos can be crappy. But when used correctly they tell an amazing story. You need photos of real things, of your great work, and experienced people to tell your company’s story.
• You don’t want crappy looking images of your work.
Clean up your job sites and don’t use photos of ugly asphalt, unless it’s before and after.
• Make sure every photo you post of your crew has proper PPE.
The last thing you want to do is put a picture of your crew out there with a safety violation in it.
• Think through the crew members you’re photographing.
You don’t want to photograph people whose positions turn over a lot unless you don’t care if they’re on your website.
• Don’t use stock photography unless you absolutely have to. A primary goal of your website is to build a relationship with someone you don’t know right now – a potential client or employee. Either way, they need to see the faces of the actual people in YOUR company.
2. Don’t skimp on your services page.
Your services page needs to be more than just a bulleted list. You need a services section, notice I said section and I didn’t say page, because you are going to have a page for each one of your services on your website, not just one page with a bulleted list. Google will be more likely to show your website for each of your services if you have a page for each one.
3. Don’t alienate your visitors.
Believe it or not colors can be a sticky situation for some folks. 8% of men suffer from color blindness. The most common form of colorblindness is red/green color blindness.
Many paving and construction companies use red or yellow as one of their company colors. Some colorblind people see red and/or yellow as gray. If you’re using those colors on your website, they can’t tell items in red or yellow apart from the things surrounding them.
4. Don’t forget about your careers section.
Many websites just lump their careers section (or lack thereof) into the about section or the contact page of their website. If you hire regularly you need a page, maybe even a section of your website focused on careers. Tell visitors what it’s like to work for your company, your culture, benefits and how to apply for a job.
Don’t call the page jobs. That’s confusing because “Jobs” is often what you call the projects you work on every day.
5. Don’t forget about your mobile visitors.
Mobile traffic is at an all time high. Many people are working from wherever they can right now. If your website was built years ago, it may not have a mobile template, load slowly or look terrible on a mobile device.
At this point, not having a mobile site is like not having a bathroom in your house. You’d never dream of owning a house where the only lavatory is an outhouse. So remodel your website and make sure it’s mobile friendly.
6. Don’t get creative with your navigation.
Put your navigation at the top of your site in a logical place. Don’t put it down below a huge slideshow, or at the bottom of the page. Visitors go to the top of your site to find links to all your content. And that’s what your navigation is for. It’s like the guide for your cable TV, or all of the apps on your phone. They all help you get where you need to go within the different systems.
Also, don’t get creative with naming your pages. The page names in your navigation need to be intuitive, logical things. When pages aren’t named intuitively one of two things happen. Either no one ever goes to the page or lots of people go to it, but then they leave immediately because the content on the page doesn’t match what they thought would be on it.
When it comes to navigation, we want to conform and follow the trends others are using. We want to welcome visitors into our website and make them feel like they’re in control and comfortable using it. If they have to think about how to work it, your website isn’t working.
Are you doing one of these things? Give your website a look and use this list as your guide. If you make sure to share photos of your company, explain your services fully, appeal to new hires and consider users of all types, and devices and you’ll be on track to building an awesome website.
Monica Pitts is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MayeCreate Design. She spends her days constructing a marriage of form and function; creating art with her design team to grow businesses through websites and online marketing. Monica considers herself an artist, marketer and web dork with the ability to speak geek and English.