Beauty in the eye of the web beholder

They have always based the romantic notion of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, a way of showing that everyone has something that is beautiful about them, on somebody. With this ringing true for dating and romance it may have been time to consider how this can apply to our viewing on the internet.

Subjective beauty is everything on the web

My site isn’t beautiful

If you are looking at this blog post and seeing your site as ugly then you need to ask a key question, does it make money, if it does then you actually have little to worry about, other than to maybe consider running a little experiment to see if that website can make more money if it was prettier.

With a website that is already making money it can be difficult as a web designer to actually break this to business owners that their site might make more if it had better graphics, better text sizes, fonts, and that smooth look and feel.

It is not therefore about what you make currently but what you can make with a site that follows a few key tips, such as being media rich, smooth when transitioning between images, correctly formatted and consistent text, and it overall pleasing to the eye. Economics calls this the opportunity cost and marginal costs of doing something and not doing something, each has points that make it worthwhile.

Beauty in the eye of…

Subjective beauty is everything on the web, what works for a business is not what works for a consumer, and sometimes they are the same person, which can make this even more complicated. For those in business the site should have an ordered layout, with nothing to get in the way of the business objective, which is often this “What service do you have and how do I call you to get more information/buy?” There is a beauty in order, and a cluttered business to business site that does not do this for a user is not going to get the hits that are needed for them to make money, simply because the user will loose patience.

For the consumer it is okay to have website that looks more at the experience that they want, often they are surfing in free time so don’t mind the extra clicks that take them to something that looks good and is interesting, just as longs as they get there in 4 or 5 clicks. A consumer is also exploratory in what they are looking for in their lives, and therefore they are will like the time take by a company to create a micro site that has a game where you throw paper into a bin.

Each time a person looks at the website they are going to make their mind up in a couple of seconds, if not microseconds. To have something that looks good from the outset may keep them there for that millisecond longer, enough for them to see the message you wanted them to.

How to apply the make up

So what can be done to a site to make it pretty, it depends of course on who you are dressing up for, are you dressing up for the customer, which means a new skin or reordering, or are you dressing for a search engine, where your code has to look good under the hood.

For a Google dress up everything has to be nice and orderly, they are after all a little particular about who they will like, in what order, and whether you will be their number 1 favourite. With this in mind make sure the code is clean, meta tags in the right place, alt tags saying exactly what they need to, and not masquerading as something else. When this is complete there is a chance that you can become close to Google, no company can guarantee this success rate, no matter how many links they make. It is all about the complete picture.

So what of the dressing, the top of the site, the skin in which your content lives. Does it make you think that it is a nice site, and what do your customers’ think, have you even asked them? They are after all like your close friend, if you do look fat in certain clothes then they will tell you not to wear them any more. The same goes for your website.

So what can be done?

Advice is free from many companies, such as us, who have people who assess sites through the eyes of the customers, our audit is free, and if you do like what we say then you can take it further and we can design you a bespoke site, it is what we have been doing for years now.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder yes, but what is important for a business is does that beauty translate to the right customers, and furthermore does that beauty get the leads in.

This blog post was written by Nicholas Jones at Coretium

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