To build an engaging effective website you must use certain features and ignore certain other practices.
What to Use
A clear and concise home page. Your home page is like your front door–it must be attractive and inviting, without being overwhelming. Too much information all at once shuts most people down. And a confused mind says “No” and “Goodbye”.
Most people can’t and won’t drink from a fire hose. So if your home page has everything you offer in grandiose detail, they will leave before they even understand what it is you are trying to tell them. We call these “Shotgun blast” home pages. They may be chock full of great information but that is not engaging. (Think of all the people that leave a movie while the credits are rolling at the end eh?)
Make the color palette appropriate. You wouldn’t make a website for an Italian restaurant in grays or black right?…They’re a colorful passionate country. Black is good for Performers and musicians (stemming from formal and elegant)
To get the visitor to dig deeper, you must entice them with questions, or excite them with stories or offers. Words like “Advantages of”, “Benefits of”, “Powerful” offer more engagement than “We offer”, “Serving the best of”, or “We provide”. Remember, the webmaster’s job is to DRAW VISITORS IN AND KEEP THEM.
Finally, each page should have at least one call to action. What is it that you want your reader to do next? A clear statement is vital at keeping them on your pages.
What to ignore
- Vertically stacking text and pictures
- Taking the visitor off focus–like moving backgrounds (not the sliders, but absolute backgrounds)
- Thin (frail?) websites that don’t make use of the real estate of the monitor. Nobody owns a monitor that is 900 pixels wide anymore
- Wasted real estate. This one is tricky because it’s a thin line. Whitespace (and I don’t mean white) is good because it is easy on the eyes, but too much content is overwhelming and disconcerting
Next read: Why are Storefronts so important?