I get asked all the time:

Erik, where does your inspiration come from to build the websites that you do? The look and feel of something is important. I care about aesthetics, and I find a lot of my clients do as well.

But what’s more important: When you design something, is the inspiration coming from how something looks, or how something acts?

The form of what you’re building has to follow its function.

What do we mean by that?

If you’re trying to sell something, do you create a website that looks pretty, or do you create a website that’s really designed to sell the thing you’re trying to sell?

What I like to do is to remind all my clients of three basic questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you selling?
  • What’s in it for your client?

If you can bear those things in mind, and design a website that can clearly communicate the answers to those questions, you’re going to make a very effective website.

The design then comes after the function.

So,once you’re able to communicate the answers to such questions visually, only then can you start to work on how to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

I find the inspiration for the effective, converting websites that I build from other websites that have been tested and that we know, for a fact, close sales.

What’s really good is to look around the internet–not at design sites–but rather at your competition. Look at the websites that already exist that have been built for very successful businesses, and emulate those practices. Building on something that you know for a fact already converts, gets you three quarters of the way there, and then you can improve upon it.

A lot of people make mistakes when building a website–I know I’ve made my share–that’s why I wrote an e-book. It’s called, “The Top Ten Mistakes People Make When Building A New Website (and how to avoid them!). There’s a link to that free e-book below. So just download that at your convenience and it’ll be yours for the price of absolutely nothing. That’s right. Absolutely zilch!

I’m Erik Contzius, Make Tech Better, Inc. Bringing a Human Touch to a Silicon World.

Music: AcidJazz by Kevin MacLeod

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