It’s good to be busy but it can often mean that important business development tasks are neglected.
So, at the end of a busy few months, and as a new year begins, it seemed like a good time to write about the importance of focus.

All graphic design, in print and on screen, is about communication. Clients have something to say and it’s up to designers to make sure the message is communicated successfully. This is what I enjoy most about web design; taking information from a client and working out the most effective way to convey it to their customers.

But if the original message is not clear then no amount of design magic will enlighten the end user. This lack of direction often reveals itself in two ways: trying to say too much and trying to say too many different things at once.

Saying too much

A major problem with many websites is that businesses feel they have to use them to explain everything about their company or their product. This does more harm than good as important details are lost in the noise, causing users to either miss vital information or get bored and move on.

If it helps, go through all your content and ask yourself (or more usefully a couple of honest friends) these two questions:
- is this useful,
- is this relevant.
If it’s not, leave it out.

A copywriter can provide a professional perspective and help you develop a clear strategy to follow over time. This strategy can bring consistency and clarity to your marketing materials, and in turn strengthen your business’ identity.

Another tip is to use images instead of text wherever possible; a picture does speak a thousand words after all. Of course it needs to be the right picture but this is something your designer can help you with.

Saying too many things

Another issue businesses have is trying to communicate multiple messages at once. “We’re a family Company”, “we won’t be beaten on price”, or “we’re the experts in this, that and the next thing”.

An extreme approach, and one I’d encourage all businesses to at least try, is to limit your site to one message. If your biggest selling point is price then have your prices at the forefront of your site. If it’s customer service then have clear routes to support information and get some testimonials on there. As I said, it’s an extreme approach but a helpful one to prune unnecessary content.

If that doesn’t work then at the very least prioritise. Make sure minor points don’t obscure your key aim.

Ideally these issues should be identified and resolved before you embark on a web project. However, the points above can be used as much for a redesign as they can for a brand new site.

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