I am currently building a website and am debating whether or not I should include information regarding everything I offer - a biography, etc or if is essentially a waste of time? When I go to a website I don't read more then I need to know. For example, if I were looking for custom cabinetry for my kitchen I would essentially just search for that. When I view the websites I should already be aware that they offer what I am looking for as that is what I searched for. I don't busy myself with reading. I look at the pictures and see the types of jobs they do.
I feel as though you can tell a lot about a company just from photos. If the jobs look expensive maybe they won't be in my budget. If they look cheap then maybe they won't be able to give me a quality project. If they have a large variety of simple jobs and complicated jobs then that's probably my best bet. My thoughts are that we can sit and write anything. We can write a bunch and it doesn't mean anything. Aside from that, we could always write a blog if that's what we feel will help sell ourselves. I guess the question is, is it more professional to fill the site up with mumbo jumbo people may not even read, or fill it up with photos and let the work sell itself?
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor K:
Give viewers a choice. The quick scanners like to get bare bones info quickly without searching or going through page after page. Some folks will want to know more, or the quick reads will get interested, slow down and want more. Microseconds matter - button hover/abandonment is a real issue of study in the world of website development.
While my site is an ever-ongoing-work-in-progress, I think it is wise to have the short story right up front - in pictures. The viewer can click on that to find out a bit more - either more work in that range or more info about that work in particular, with more text and more pictures. Then you can have the in depth story, with images of rough sketches, some shop in progress, and close-ups for those people that want further assurance you can do the work. Keep this format consistent throughout the site so it is easy and predictable as they look around.
Wordpress is the dominant format in use today, an exceptional bit of software for all of us to make use of. Everyone from New York Times to sawmills have found ways to utilize its very flexible nature. By all means avoid the blue text on black background or similar that is currently so prevalent and entirely unreadable. Remember - it is a visual media.
That is a lot like what your presentation should be. Very little verbiage, lots of pictures. Even so, people can barely be bothered to look at the pictures. Scrolling down also seems to be a task many can't handle. The first rule is keep it simple. Every single word that doesn't absolutely need to be there is a detriment to your purpose, which is generating interest and inquiries. Lots of white space, make what's there easy to read (compare the way this post is formatted to your post starting this thread).
Avoid the need to scroll. No stupid bells and whistles. As in moving/scrolling stuff, flashing stuff, frames, weird colors, strange backgrounds, etc. Always use a white (or very light color, if you insist on color) background (note the practice of the site you're now on.) Pick one dark color for text (blue or black is good) and stick to it. Hold bolding, other text colors and caps for emphasis to a minimum.
Include approximate pricing (and keep it up to date) for common projects. If you don't give people some idea of what costs will be most of them will keep looking until they find it. It will also stop morons who don't have two nickels to rub together from bothering you for quotes. Provide as much more detailed information as you want to in the form of links for those who want it. Few do, but they'll follow those links and vacuum up every single tid-bit you want to give them. For that type of buyer, the site can make the entire sale, they'll call or e-mail wanting to know where to sign (they'll already know how to pay because they followed your link to your terms of sale.)
Make sure that there are absolutely zero typos, grammar/usage errors and the like anywhere on the site. Nothing makes any intelligent potential buyer run away faster than sloppiness with something as simple as English. Any hint of sloppiness is not a good thing on any web site, but especially not on a craftsman's site.
While you note that you are building your own site, that may not be a good idea if your original post is any indicator. Without some experience, it might be better to hire someone. Finding a good web site designer/code writer is at least as hard as finding a good cabinet shop, maybe harder. It could even be two people, design and code are two different things, not many do both well. Be wary of any claims made. Get references. Also might be a good idea to have your lawyer look at any finished product so you can add a link to the voluminous disclaimers and caveats that need to be there.
The way to get around this is to write quite a good deal on the early pages, but also provide links and buttons that allow the visitor to skip it. The search engine spiders are machines and cannot see pictures (though they can read picture tags and alts.). They are counting key words and phrases to see what the site is all about. And they tend to deprecate meta keywords since these are so easy to spam. So what you write and how often you say it is very important.
You should also subscribe monitor your raw logs. By doing so, you can tell how long visitors stay on each page and the path they take through a multiple page site. This can be very enlightening. Our doorway page, for example, takes about three minutes to read. Visitors typically spend less than ten seconds on it.