The project was a success. The web design studio did an outstanding job. Everybody was happy. Yet, a year later your company website is already starting to look weird, inconsistent, and the new content you’ve added is all over the place. So what went wrong? Read on and find out how to avoid such awkward and costly situations.
As with anything you use regularly, a website requires both maintenance and care. A website with careless administration is like an email inbox full of unread and unsorted messages, or like a computer desktop clogged with hundreds of icons. It gets difficult to use, things are hard to find and every interaction with it becomes a major pain. And that’s what it feels like for each of the website visitors.
Added to that, you might find it frustrating to add a page or create a new photo gallery, or add something to the homepage of the website. But, you simply don’t know how to do these things! After all, you’re not a web designer and it’s not even your job to know how this is done properly!
So what is the solution? It’s a combination of three aspects you should always take care of: the style guide, content strategy and proper imagery. All three have a common goal – to keep your website consistent and relevant. Now, let’s look into each of these aspects.
The Style Guide
After finishing a website or web application, good web design studios can supply you with a thorough document called a style guide. There you’ll have a list of set rules on how to style your content – which fonts, colors and text sizes to use; how to add buttons and links; how to create new content elements, and where they may fit within your website’s layout. Additionally there may be guidelines about ways to expand your website based on the current design.
You should always follow these guidelines when you update or expand your website in any way. If you’re uncertain about anything, it’s always better to call your web design studio instead of guessing. They should be more than happy to give you advice, free of charge. This way you’ll make sure your website is consistent between all pages, and everything you add looks like it was made by a professional web designer.
Your website should have its own unique voice and tone. A voice that is precisely targeting your best audience and the most likely prospects. You also need to have a good understanding of what content you have and will have in the future. Your site’s structure and navigation must be suited for this content. All of that is called Content Strategy. It should be planned and decided upon by cooperation between you and your web design studio or interactive agency.
In addition to adhering grammatical and stylistic rules, every piece of new content should follow the general content strategy of your website. Every word on your site should sound like it’s spoken by the same person. Only by doing this, your website could keep its own consistent voice, dedicated to a single goal – your business goal.
Whether your website relies on product photography, staff profile pictures or stock images to set the mood, they should all be consistent in terms of style, composition and color throughout the whole site. It’s very easy to make an otherwise excellent website look unprofessional – just use a random collection of images vaguely related to your site’s purpose, each with different proportions and style.
Each image you use should be selected to complement the content it sits next to as well as the rest of the images on the site. The proportions and image size should be consistent between all images. Same is true for the depicted objects – if you have photos of products, make sure they’re shot on the same or similar background and that each photo’s composition sticks to some predefined rules. Aspects such as lighting, color and sharpness should also be corrected to fit well with you website’s design and visual style.
It’s easy to have your site look professional years after it was designed, even without having a web designer work on it regularly. The key is to be prepared from its launch by having a style guide, a clear content strategy and a supply of quality, suitable imagery.
All this can be provided by an experienced web design studio or interactive agency. Your job is simply to observe and follow the rules set for you by the professional web designers, UI/UX experts and marketing or PR gurus. A lot of thought, expertise and research are put into these rules so it’s entirely in your business’s interest to adhere to them.
Share your thoughts