The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So what really makes a good website? 

Graphics?
Branding?
Video Content?
Design?
Interactivity?
Popularity?
Blogging?

Exactly what makes someone come, and actually stay on a site?

First and foremost, you have to create some kind of intrigue or interest to direct your audience to your digital public relations campaign.

How effectively you do that is anyone’s guess and probably varies from experiential marketing campaigns to the kind of solution you are offering your potential visitor/client. However, once you have caught them, the important thing to do is bait them. To catch good fish, you need delicious bait. So your virtual hook better be endowed with killer content while simultaneously be aesthetically pleasing, so when you throw that line out to sea, people actually swallow the hook.

First:
CONTENT.

Content. Content. Content.

The first and of course most vital component of any good website is having qualitative content, which matters much more than its quantitative sidekick. If people are as good at reading websites as they are at reading social media statues, your audience will be equipped at picking the real deal from the wanna-be-actors.   This means that you have to be able to stand out from your competition in the long-term.

Second, when the masses are inundated with design elements from the geniuses who implement subliminal messaging in advertising and who have figured out text readability and negative space ratio to complimentary colour theory, you have to be super conscious of design elements that can make-or-break your audience. People need to be distracted from the other distractions, and to do this you need to know how to coerce people visually. With the prevalence of image-heavy media such as Instagram and SnapChat, you need to be worthy of peoples constantly disappearing time. Peoples eyes will instantly pick out the little things that you glazed over, so make sure that you run your website past some undergraduate art or design students.

Design Rules

Some excellent website examples include: NYTimes.com, Magnum Photos, National Geographic, Steven Mengin, Apple, and Netflix.

The bad ones have your eyes darting all over the place and just look like a house you don’t want to walk into. For some time-wasting examples, please check: Yale University’s Art Program, which is truly ironic given the prestige and productive value you assume a Ivy League institution would possess.

The best websites are aesthetically pleasing to the eye with geometrically aligned distribution of material, have readable fonts that are easy to consume on a computer screen and use images and colour to their advantage. Minimalism is an underlying theme in brilliant sites while distraction and an overwhelming amount of data is present in ones that are part of the “ugly”. Sites that are also easy to navigate are better than ones that confuse an audience.

I, personally, have incorporated many of these DOs and DON’Ts in my own personal brand site, [ Picture Forever Photography ] and I hope that becomes transparent to my audience.

Thoughtfully,
Melissa L.A. Bishop

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