That’s right, your business web presence is for your users. It’s easy to forget your business website or blog may be about you, but it’s still not for you. Any business web presence should put user experiences first and allow those experience to drive decisions about how a site looks and functions.
When it comes to your business web presence, check your ego at the door. Being a skilled professional doesn’t necessarily translate into web design genius, so it’s important to listen to web professional(s) when it comes to many components of design. For example, insisting on your favorite font doesn’t help your website/blog much if it hinders readability. This is not to say you can’t bring any of yourself to your site—just don’t let your sensibilities get in the way of your message.
An effective website or blog grows out of strong content (very important and often overlooked) and good design. Design is more than aesthetics—it includes layout and function. Read Smashing Magazine’s excellent article entitled “Clear And Effective Communication In Web Design” for a great overview.
Whether your web presence goals include getting new clients or expanding your professional partnerships, develop any web presence with your users in mind. Google implemented this principle beautifully right from the start. Although Google’s search did return better results than its contemporaries, it made the biggest splash because of the easy-to-use interface. At the time of its launch, search engine websites were overly cluttered and not at all easy to use. Compare AltaVista’s homepage from 4/29/99, and Yahoo!’s homepage on 4/28/99 to Google’s homepage from 4/28/99. Google’s is simple–what you want with no other distractions.
So remember—when your web pro tells you that your favorite shade of bright yellow can’t be the dominant color on your site because it’s blinding and will induce headaches–it’s not about you.
This is an updated post from February 2009.