Creating a new site for your business or nonprofit is a big deal that impacts how your customers feel about you. When done right, it’s an investment that will bring in new customers and help you retain your current customers. Here are basic emotional concepts to keep in mind when planning for a new business or nonprofit site.

Hit them in the feels

Many feelings to cut and paste.

People are mostly emotional. Figure they are 60 percent water, 39 percent emotions, and one percent intellect (and some some people maybe not even that much). Website visitors will remember how a site makes them feel more than they will remember the information on the website.

If your website frustrates potential customers, confuses them or makes them sad, they won’t come back. When planning for a new site, it’s important to consider:

  • How the graphic design affects visitors’ emotions
  • Whether or not they feel the information is useful to them
  • Whether visitors feel it is easy to use the site.

Don’t be special

So grouchy after sleeping all night on a pea.

Minimal design is effective design. So many businesses come to us asking to make a “kickass” site, which usually means multiple video elements, multiple animations, an insane color palette and (dun-dun-dunnnnn) dramatic music.

But take a look at at Google: The biggest website in the world launched with one word on its homepage and after two decades it hasn’t added much more. The lesson here is that bells and whistles get in the way of your users’ experience but simplicity helps them, and that makes them feel good.

When you are planning your new site (hopefully with the help of a good web designer) keep these ideas in mind:

  • Cut down on colors.
  • Make your user experience elements (graphics, buttons, menus) minimalist and easy to understand.
  • Make sure your users feel like they are being productive while using your site, whether they are learning something, buying something, or downloading something.
    • Amazon is king here. MailChimp lets its users effortlessly accomplish several different kinds of tasks.

Prune your website’s garden

Pare down on the clutter.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is to put everything on the homepage and the site becomes cluttered, which confuses visitors. When every bit of information on the page seems to have equal weight they can’t easily get to what they need.

Break down big concepts in to smaller ideas and address them one at a time. Your customers will love you for this because your website will feel accessible and understandable.

Guide your customers through your site with distinct pathways to what they want

For example, if you are a clothing store and your customer is on a page that sells a particular shoe, show them suggestions for similar shoes—not T-shirts, belts or tennis rackets. Keeping the pathway clear helps the visitor to stay focused on the item that drew them to the site and more likely to make a purchase.

A thorny issue: Resist the urge to be political

Sure the board members will be super impressed if their names are in a long list at the top of the site, but will anybody else? It’s OK to have this information on your website, but take a second to think about how many people it will affect and who really needs it.

A gift – but not for you

Think of a website as a gift to your customers. Give them what they want or need, not what you want or need. When you take the time to rigorously edit your ideas for a new website and organize every web page before you build it, your customers will visit it again and again.