While styles, tastes and trends may change, the fundamentals of a good recipe always stay the same. This holds true whether you’re whipping up a magnificent manicotti to serve your guests or an impressive voice-over website to serve to the millions of potential customers on the internet. When I went through a website revamp earlier this year, I started to really pay attention to the different ingredients that went into an effective voice-over website – along with what to leave out and avoid.
Unnecessary Ingredients to Avoid on Voice Over Websites
Just like some ingredients in a recipe, some elements of a voice-over website are better off left out altogether. Most folks would probably be OK if a recipe didn’t contain duck beaks or MSG. And I am certainly OK if a website doesn’t contain any type of video or sound that starts playing the second you arrive, particularly if it gives no indication of where it’s coming from or how to turn it off.
I recall one site I once visited that even featured a little hologram of a sales person that appeared at the bottom of the screen, walking back and forth and prattling on about how I needed to buy whatever the site was selling. Instead of drawing in visitors, such tactics are more likely to repel them. And yes, I fled immediately.
Too Much Fat
When it comes to the design of voice talent websites, the “fat” could be considered any extraneous elements that add confusion, unnecessary noise or otherwise get in the way of the core message your brand is trying to convey. This overload could come from too many different fonts, colors and styles. It can also come from an overly complex design that doesn’t give the viewer a clear focal point or path to follow.
Another buildup of fat can come from too many navigation options, too many options, period, or way too much information crammed into one place. Trimming the fat eliminates the clutter and lets the real message get through.
Ever sit down to dinner, look at your plate, and immediately wonder: “What the heck is that?!” The same sensation can arise when website sections, navigation options or video or audio clips are not clearly labeled to let viewers know what they’re going to get.
I ran across an entire section of samples once that had absolutely no indication what I’d be viewing when I clicked on the video clip. Website visitors are often busy people looking for a specific solution. They typically don’t have time to be guessing what they’re going to find if they click on an unmarked section or clip.
We’ve all been in the midst of enjoying a tasty dish when – bam – we end up with a different texture, taste or other strange thing we had not been expecting. Prime examples include a bone in our tuna fish salad or a hard kernel of anything in our soft pudding. The experience can be rather unsettling.
The same thing can happen when sites pull their visitors away from what they’re viewing to suddenly look at something else. Pop-up menus that pull visitors to other pages and sites are one example. In the voice-over world, another example is audio or video demo options that open to an audio or video player in a different window.
Visitors may not appreciate being pushed and pulled to unfamiliar or different areas. They’re much more likely to appreciate a consistent, stable experience that becomes familiar and comfortable instead.
In this day and age, web formatting for phones and hand-held devices is as important as it is for desktop, if not more so. To attract visitors wherever they may roam, voice talent websites need to embrace responsive design, which is the ability to conform to the size and capacity of the device on which they’re being viewed. Having a site that only translates well on desktop is like have a great lineup of delicious foods, but not letting customers eat it when and where they please.
While there are tons of other tips, tricks and ingredient suggestions for creating an effective site, I just wanted to stick with the top issues I’ve seen that can really ruin an otherwise good recipe.
And perhaps unlike a special recipe you’ve totally mastered, a website is a work in progress that you never really complete. There’s always room for adjustments, edits and other improvements that can make it more and more effective and delectable over time.
For more useful information on this topic, please also read “How to Make Your Voice-Over Talent Website User-Friendly for Producers” which I also wrote and you’ll find that over on the Voiceover.info Blog site.
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