Have you ever walked into a party where you didn’t know anyone?
- And there was no one to greet you or take your coat …
- No one to show you where to get a drink or introduce you around …
- No one to make you feel welcomed or show you where to go next …
It’s an awkward, uncomfortable feeling, right?
Your first instinct is probably to turn around and walk right back out. I know mine is.
So why would you treat visitors to your website the exact same way?
Your website is a party, and you’re the host. So you better make your visitors feel comfortable and want to stay.
Otherwise the party will die long before the music does, and you’ll be spinning records (or are those your wheels?) all by your lonesome …
With no audience to respond to anything you say. (Cue: sad trombone.)
It all starts with ambiance
Ambiance is “the character and atmosphere of a place.”
We humans respond viscerally to venues that are inviting, that make us feel at ease, and that fit the mood we expect to slip into.
When an ambiance is right, we may not even realize it.
We get lost in the moment. Which is good, it’s what we want. It’s surely what whoever is planning the ambiance wants.
But when an ambiance is wrong — when the lighting is off, when the music doesn’t match the mood, when we feel stressed or uncertain — we do notice.
It shakes us straight out of the moment, and it makes us wonder whether we even want to be there in first place.
This isn’t just happening at restaurants, parties, or fourth dates at someone’s apartment.
It’s happening on the web, at every single web page you visit.
Here’s how ambiance matters on the web
The ambiance of a website can be described in many ways.
- It’s how your site looks on each device used to view it. If the mobile view is the same as the desktop view, your ambiance is driving away visitors.
- It’s how your typography choices influence the consumption of your words. If your content is difficult to read, your ambiance is driving away visitors.
- It’s how your page layout influences the eye movement of each person who sees it. If your layout is cluttered and doesn’t make eye movement effortless, your ambiance is driving away visitors.
I think you get the point I’m making:
If your ambiance is off, awkward, or obsolete (as in, not in line with design trends people naturally come to expect) … then your ambiance is driving away visitors.
And just like the pathetic party host spinning records and talking alone, you don’t want your website to turn into a lonely party of one.
Here’s how to deliver the perfect ambiance to your visitors
The good news is that getting your ambiance right on the web isn’t hard.
Even if you don’t know the first thing about design and can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a custom one.
What you need is:
- A responsive design that looks good on any device
- A bold homepage layout that welcomes visitors (and clearly directs them where to go next)
- An uncluttered page layout that tracks eyes down the page while focusing them on what you are saying
And you need typography — the nuts and bolts that will ultimately construct your content — that is a foundational element of your design, rather than an afterthought.
Oh, and if I may step into your shoes here for a second, you probably need (or at least want) all of this for under $100 … if possible.
You just need the brand new Ambiance Pro theme by StudioPress.
Why Ambiance Pro?
Ambiance Pro has everything I described above.
See how you get an optimized user experience for both?
And see how in each view you are welcomed to the site and immediately know what to do next?
None of your visitors will ever have to feel like the out-of-place partygoer from above — which we’ve all felt like before and never want to feel like again.
In addition, the single page layout that Ambiance Pro delivers is sublime (see for yourself: go back to the demo and then click on an image).
- Notice how the image enlarges to draw your eye …
- And then how the thumbnail and post title take you by the hand and lead you down the page …
- And then how the utter lack of clutter on the page allows you to sink yourself into the post — like stepping inside a quiet room at a loud party with someone you can’t wait to have an intimate one-on-one conversation with …
Ambiance Pro gives you all of this, including the ability to easily customize your header and create landing pages.
And yes, it’s less than $100.
You may not be able to plan a memorable party with that amount of money, but you sure can turn it into a design for your website that captures attention, keeps it, and converts.
Host the online party people want to attend.
Do it right, and you’ll even have them checking their inbox for your next invitation.
Here’s how to do it right (now):
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Nina Zed (illustrated by Jack Mathew)