How to design your research or evaluation business website

Web design, for most researchers and evaluators I know, includes a good bit of DIY.

I recently had the opportunity to work with my friend and fellow RTP evaluator Karen Peterman on an update to her business’ website design.  I helped with the overall design, provided some input on the text and added a set of illustrations.  Karen wrote the content, picked the theme and added the images.

Given how many of you do this kind of job on your own I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from the infographics and give you some basic pointers on site design.  If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Focus on your target audience

Your target audience is the audience that you want to speak to, not the random website visitor.

If the majority of your work comes through proposals or referrals then your target audience should already know a little about you before visiting your site.  Build off of that and speak directly to them.

Your site is not the destination

You don’t want your site to be the end of your experience with a potential client or collaborator.  Build it as a stop along the way to something else.

Lead your visitors to a contact page, a newsletter or some other type of interaction deeper than a website visit.

Tear down your click walls

Click rates (the number of times anything is clicked when someone visits a web page) are usually in the single digits.     Your audience needs to be convinced that clicking on another page is worth their time.

If there is a next step you really want them to take, put it on every page.  Don’t assume your audience will click around your site until they find it.

Simplify your contact page

Name, Email, Message.

There might be some other things that you would like to know, but you can get to that later.  For now you need to reduce friction or the form will never get filled out.

Make your site visual

Most contemporary web designs are “visual friendly.”  It’s the images that you put into your pages and posts that actually make the site visual.

Include at least one picture or illustration on every post and page.




1 Comment

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