You ever see a website or blog that looks so fabulous, you think, that’s what I need for a kick-arse web presence? You know those sites with a billion cool looking social bookmark plugins & apps, mini Flash animations, crazy animated navigation bars, video, audio, really cool dynamic picture galleries, very shiny design, funky tag displays and so on. I admit, as a web and blog designer, I suffer from “site envy” whenever I stumble upon a really great, dynamically jam-packed site or perusing the amazing site designs posted on sites like CSS Remix. It’s natural to feel a little envious. But, I remember what I need to remember before the envy erodes my common sense: simplicity and distinction trumps complicated and shiny.
You ever noticed that the most simple ideas are the most profitable? Shoe laces? First generation of MP3 players? Netflix? Underwear? The point is, no matter how dynamic and full of bells and whistles, your site visitors need one thing above else, relevant and easy to find information about whatever they’ve come to your site to read, see, purchase or hear. Of course, giving them a little somethin’ extra, goes a long way too. But, don’t over do it. Focus!
I was talking with a friend the other day who also happens to be an independent business woman like myself. Well, she works as a sales rep for a high school year book company and she teaches belly dancing at Gold’s gym in Oakland. Interesting combination, huh? She’s planning to take her belly dancing to another level by dancing at events as well. Maybe twice a month. She mentioned that in a few months she’d be interested in having me design a simple website for her with her contact info, what she does (belly dancing) and video of her past performances. She’s a smart woman with focus. Think about it, if you’re interested in belly dancing and don’t want to waste your money or time interviewing fat or rhythmically-challenged belly-dancers before hiring one for your event, you’re more likely to hire my friend who has a website with all the information you need to know about how fabulous a dancer she is, as well as animated proof of her talent.
With that said, only after you cover the basics should you delve into the possibilities of adding a little somethin’ extra that entices your visitors to stay or do whatever it is you need them to do in order for your site to be a success. You should plan your website or blog with the basics as foundation and the extras as enhancements. Most importantly, your extras should be relevant to the purpose of your site and reflect the personality of you, your business and to some extent, your average site visitor. A nice extra I imagine for my friend’s belly dancing website would be a resources page of places to go to buy belly dancing clothes and other accessories. Or maybe a dynamic calendar of all her upcoming events. Or perhaps a blog with articles that feature tips on how to belly dance.
So, what have we learned?
Again, you should plan your website or blog with the basics as foundation and the extras as enhancements. Also, focus on your needs and dress it up with your wants without adding irrelevant and superfluous elements.