Like other marketing materials, a
Web site should be designed to reflect positively on your company. The elements that make
up a professional-looking Web site are much like those of a well-run job site. It should
be clean and organized, with tools and materials that are readily at hand and clearly
labeled. Here are some important ingredients of a Web site with public appeal.
A good first impression. The home page should be
free from clutter, both visual clutter (like distracting background patterns or clashing
colors) and audio clutter (music that arrives uninvited).
Clear navigation. Use easy-to-read signals that
tell users where to go next and how to get there. Show them how to move backward, too,
both to the previous page and to the home page.
Small graphics. Big files take a long time to
download. The user-friendly Web site uses small graphics files so users don't waste
Tight and bright content. The information you
present should be useful and to the point. It's harder to read from a screen than a
printed page, so make the most of your space. No lengthy sagas, please.
City and state. Include your location up front.
If you're selling books on the Web, it doesn't matter where your office is. But remodelers
can't ship a new kitchen by UPS. Telling viewers where you are lets them decide quickly
whether to browse.
E-mail link. This should be a no-brainer, but
some sites don't bother providing one.
Take a page from this handful of remodelers' Web sites; they're some of my favorites.
- Absolute Remodeling
- The pros at ConAd, a construction advertising consulting company in Yorktown Heights,
N.Y., designed this site. It follows all the rules: It's clean, attractive,
well-organized, with good navigational cues, and it's pretty quick to download. Project
photos are small, and captions are short and snappy, but you can click to a bigger story
and picture if you want to know more. My only beef: You have to go to the fine print on
the home page or to the company profile to find out where the firm is located.
- Fred Parker Company
- Here's a beautiful site, designed in-house. The information about the company's services
is helpful and to-the-point. Newsworthy items, like the firm's participation in an
accessible-house project, are highlighted. The home page's main frame is a bit
graphics-heavy, but in the left-hand frame the designers listed all 13 areas of the site
so users can click to a topic without waiting for graphics to load.
- Seilhamer Remodeling
- Designed by the company's Internet service provider, this one-page site has an
eye-catching logo, a concise description of the company, a list of services, as well as an
appropriate photo. It even has a coupon for a special price on a Pella sliding door
that site visitors can print out and clip.
Ann Marie Moriarty, senior editor, Hanley-Wood Online