Will your new website pass its eyeball test?

Posted3/26/2018 5:00 AM

You've decided, as graphic designer Traci Jendo suggested in last week's column, what the basic message your new website will send to your business' marketplace should be. In that process, you've decided whether enhancements such as chatbots and video will matter.

You also know that your new site must work easily on cellphones and tablets, because, as IT professional Jason Burton reminds us, more than half of web traffic comes from mobile devices.


"The younger generation," Jendo agrees, "may not even have a desktop."

Jendo is principal of Chicago-based TJS Design, Inc., which you can find at www.eyecatchingdesign.com. You can reach Burton, who provides tech support to a handful of small businesses, at Jason@chicagotechnologyconsulting.com.

But whether you like your new website depends on an eyeball test: Your eyeballs, because even with all the enhancements that will make a website more likely to grab and hold a visitor's attention, you -- the business owner -- must like the way the new site looks.

It also will be nice if you can make the relatively simple text changes that every site periodically requires without calling in (and paying for) graphics or tech support.

Chances are that if you don't already know WordPress, you soon will. Born in May 2003 as a blogging platform, WordPress today is popular for two essential reasons:

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• WordPress offers hundreds of site templates that come with the coding necessary to make individual sites function already in place. The existence of what essentially is pre-installed coding matters even to experienced website creators such as Burton and Jendo.

WordPress, Jendo explains, "comes with all the bells and whistles installed." You, or your web designer, can make adjustments, but the basic coding is there.

The coding isn't always perfect, but the process nonetheless is easier than building a site from scratch.

WordPress templates aren't free; however, the cost generally is below $100.

Once the site's framework is in place, the next step is for your site creator to develop graphics so the site takes on the look you want. The developer probably will want to search for royalty-free graphics that work with your written message.


• The other benefit to business owners is that WordPress provides the capability for you -- or an in-house staffer -- to make text changes yourself. In other words, you likely won't have to call for help for your designer to replace one paragraph with another.

In that sense, WordPress is a great DIY resource.

There are options to WordPress. You can explore those options -- in web jargon often referred to as content management systems -- with a simple web search for WordPress alternatives. Website Magazine (www.websitemagazine.com) may be worth a look.

The professional you choose to put your website together may have her, or his, own preference. That's OK. Once the site is up and running, about the only attention your site is likely to need are the copy changes you can do yourself.

• © 2018 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Read Jim's Business Owners' Blog at www.kendallcom.com.

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