Styling Web Links and How it Applies to You

February 13th, 2010

link icon b&w2Smashing Magazine has a great article on best practices for styling web links. It’s really a great read, so be sure to check it out.

After reading through the article, we realized that many of the principles driving these best practices are excellent principles for your business to follow in its online presence.

Here are a few of the best practices discussed and how they relate to an effective web presence:

Links should indicate where they will take the user.

People like to know where a road will take them before turning onto it. Think about how you would feel if you got on an interstate and followed the signs to Indianapolis, but at the end of your trip ended up in Dallas. Now, Dallas is a fine city, but it isn’t where you expected or wanted to go. That’s why it’s important to set proper expectations for your customers.

>Your website is the very first impression most people will get of your business. It’s important that what you present sets a realistic yet flattering expectation of your service or product offering.

Take a few minutes to look over your web site. Better yet, ask a few friends or colleagues to look at your site and tell you what they might expect. Then compare that to your real business offerings. Exercises like these can be invaluable to your business and the results you’re getting from your website.

Ensure Contrast – Links should stand out.

Are you truly standing out from your competition online? Ignoring colors and general layout, is your site all that different from your competition? Are you saying something different or more compelling than others?

Take a look through the lens of an outsider at a few competitors’ websites. If you aren’t sure your’s is standing out, take some steps to change that. It may be as simple as taking a look at what your company really does well and stating that boldly on your home page. Or perhaps it’s even as simple as stating exactly what it is that sets you apart. Don’t be afraid to tell your customers exactly why you’re the best!

Don’t Forget About Visited Links

Once your website has converted prospects into customers, make sure you don’t leave them out in the cold!

Many businesses think of their websites solely as a sales tool, or as a method for converting prospects. While this is a big part of an effective web presence, it isn’t all there is.

No matter how big or small, any company can benefit from offering some type of ongoing interaction with their customers. While there are many ways this ongoing interaction can positively impact your bottom line, one of the most compelling is maintaining top of mind positioning with your customers. If you can stay in touch with your best customers, you can turn satisfied patrons into raving fanatics!

Of course all of these ideas are based just around best practices in link styling on web pages. But it’s a great example of taking concepts from one arena and using them as inspiration for making a business or product better.

What inspires you to constantly improve?

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