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Design Web Pages for Art’s Sake or Data?

August 5, 2017

Should your home page be a work of art, or should it concentrate on providing useful information?

As shown below, the answer is both. The web page must first have sufficient information for the search engines to index it and show it in the results of a search, but also be sufficiently attractive to encourage the visitor to read more.

Compare web pages with other media:

  • A brochure is picked up by the reader, or handed to the reader, and therefore a search is no longer necessary. A brochure’s cover page may be a work of art with no information, but it already has the reader. The information can be all inside in great or little detail, or the inside can be all pictures. It doesn’t matter because it’s already in the reader’s hand, without any search.
  • A print advertisement is already in the publication the reader has purchased. Readers are usually unable to avoid seeing them when turning the page.
  • Television and radio advertisements find all readers who are watching or listening. Readers don’t need to search for them.

Satisfy the search:

A web page must first work hard to find a reader by being relevant to a search. This relevance is only achieved by words which the search engine can index, not pictures.

Only the most relevant are seen:

It must be more relevant than possibly ten million other web pages containing the same search words. Who would think to look for that web page on page 99 or page 999999 of the search results. Usually, if the web page is not on the first 2 or 3 search engine pages it won’t be seen by the average internet surfer. The effort spent making it a work of art is wasted if nobody sees it.

Look good:

The web page must then encourage further interest by looking professionally designed. A visitor won’t care if your favorite eleven year old nephew sacrificed a lot of time to build it, instead of going outside to play. If your website doesn’t look professional these days, you lose the visitor.

Be easy to follow:

But having reached the visitor in front of ten million competiting web pages, with an attractive website containing all the words the visitor searched for, the information on the website must also be clear annd easy to navigate. Visitors want to see at a glance whether you have the answer to their query, whether you have the product they are looking for, with price and delivery. A brochure or print advertisement may have all those, but the visitor can always put the brochure or advertisement down to read later. A web page must engage the visitor there and then, in case they get distracted and do not find their way back.

Conclusion

A web page should be both attractive and information rich in order to do its job, but if it’s not found in a search it’s a waste of time and money.

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