An enthusiastic small business owner recently asked me whether or not I would trust his business, based on his site design. So I took a look at the site. The first thing I noticed is that the name of the same (and the domain name) was “free gold watches.” This was my first clue that something wasn't right with this site. If you're trying to sell an item, you don't want your visitors to think that you're giving it away for free.
When I arrived at the site, the design instantly reminded me of those old Mac computers from the mid-90s. It was all shades of gray and really bad, blocky graphics. Not a bad thing for a mid-90s computer — but certainly nothing that would give anyone a reason to buy from this guy's site.
After questioning the business owner, I found out that he just thought the old Mac style layout was really cool.
Do you see the problem with this picture?
You can't design your website so that it looks cool to you.
You can't put your kids pictures all over it, even if they are the most beautiful kids in the world.
You have to remember this #1 rule: Design your website for your target market. Design it so they understand what you're offering and what you want them to do. You can figure this out by surveying your market, checking out your competitors and asking for feedback from buyers.
And then just remember that you can have fancy graphics, you can have an awesome color scheme — but every element of your website needs to send one message to your target market: “You need to buy what I'm selling!”