Houston wants great website design, but you can’t make an impact if you don’t put what you know about your audience into action.

Visitor centricity means knowing what a visitor wants to see. Your ideas of what a website should look like may not be what visitors want. Think of it this way.

What makes you leave a website quicker than a jack rabbit?

Popups (but not so much anymore, since the blockers are very effective nowadays). Flashing print in a color clashing with the site’s color scheme? Or more like flashing anything? Overcrowded sites and navigation links that don’t work?

Optimized for your keyword, but the site doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re looking for?

Which colors do you gravitate towards? Blues, reds, or plain old black and white?

Does color really matter?

Now think about what makes your audience leave.

People think of website design mostly as visual impact, meaning color and graphics. Color and style are important, but there are many other things going on behind the scenes to entice people to visit, stay a while, and return time and time again.

When people linger and revisit, your chances of making a sale increase. You have one chance to get it right. You have one opportunity to make an impression.

If you’ve spent any time surfing, you know that the sites with high visitor count and conversions have one thing in common. They all capture our interest.

Just how do all the great website designs intrigue us?

Visitor centric websites have 9 things in common. For starters, they

Make good on a promise. A visitor clicked on you in the search results for a reason. Whether they want to buy your product online, read the latest news from your company, or find a how-to, they have a purpose for visiting you.

Are easy to navigate. Navigation should be intuitive. Words used in the top menu and side menus, as well as in the footer should be logical. The visitor should get exactly what he assumes he’s clicking on.

Provides instant gratification. That’s why most of us use the internet. We want something, and we want it now. Make sure what your visitors want is there.

Six design elements ensure that you have the first three.

Don’t make visitors think too much. Everything you put on your pages, from nav bars, to photos and graphics, to text should be logical and obvious. Everything on your pages should be relevant to each other. You don’t want to talk about dogs when your site is about cats.

Have scan-able content. Most people eyeball pages than read read verbatim. This means what a viewer sees should be easy on the eye. Graphics and photos should be appropriately sized and the same goes for text. Not too big, not too small, but just right.

Scan-able content also means unclutter. Uncluttering is a good use of white space. Don’t try to cram everything on one page, because it is information overload. Break up the important, pertinent information, making it easy for your visitors to find.

Make sure links aren’t broken. Nothing frustrates a visitor more than clicking on a link and seeing “page not found”. How many times do you think that a visitor will return, much less share, your information or recommend your company if you can’t make your links work?

Make sure your contact, whether a form, email address or phone number, is on all your pages.

Great content means not only the writing, but a good use of keywords. Don’t be misleading with the keywords, otherwise a visitor will leave angry at your trickery.

Test, test, and test. Invite your current and entice potential customers to visit a prototype before you go live. Ruthlessly ask for feedback on your social media sites. How do you like the color? Were you able to find everything you needed? What did you dislike? What do you want to see? Then adjust.

Designing a great website isn’t hard if you build your website around visitor needs and anticipate their wants. Simplicity and ease of use are really the tricks keep visitors exploring your pages.

Why be ordinary?

Houston’s Directory One can help you be extraordinary with that critical first impression.