Have you ever told someone about a favorite restaurant or store that you really love — and when they go they have a horrible experience? Perhaps the service was different or below their expectations. Or the thick grilled filet was not as good as you described. There are so many factors that have to be the same, or the experience doesn’t stack up. The same can be said for your website.
Perhaps you’ve never considered it before, and I hate to be the one that breaks it to you… but… your website is not your audience’s favorite website. Or at least, chance are, it’s not. If it is — write your own blog!
What this means is, the experiences that your audience has on their favorite site has to be similar on your website or people will become confused or angered. We’ve all been on sites that “do it differently” — I don’t stay for long. It’s frustrating.
The top 5 websites (according to some research I read awhile ago — and may be obsolete now) in the US are myspace, yahoo, msn, ebay and google. They represent about 30% of American’s time on the internet. So if they do it a certain way, and you’re trying to do something similar to them, you should do it the same. Makes sense, right?
So that means that your links should follow the web “standard” interface — usually blue and/or underlined. Menus at the top or on the left. If you master similar surfing style to the “big guys”, no one will ever complain about the experience. Well, there’ll always be one or two, eh?
That compares your website to other external websites. And… I can’t believe I have to say this, but make your web pages consistent in your own website. Follow a consistent palette of colors, same fonts, same grid (more on this in Commandment 6) and same tone of writing. It’ll all add to the experience.
At PinPoint, our current branding positioning is “Communicate. In Unison.” We believe that everything that a church or business does (from Print to Email to Web) must be done consistently. It’s our mantra. It’ll scream professionalism and ensure that the audience tells others about your site. Who knows — your website may even become their favorite.