When you plug in a URL and find yourself on a website, you might not know that the creative feature typically found at the top of the page is called a masthead. The masthead has a pretty big job in that it not only has to catch the visitor’s attention, but also relay important information in the fastest, easiest and most memorable way possible while maintaining brand identity. On a deeper level, it must also reflect what the company owning the website represents – its mission and values. There are plenty of obvious and not-so-obvious mistakes people make – often with the best of intentions – that can wind up having a detrimental effect on the website’s overall success.
First and foremost: the masthead of a website needs to convey the necessary information a potential customer or client is looking for – including the company logo so the consumers know they’re in the right place. Next, clearly display contact information such as the physical address for an establishment or a phone number where customers can either place an order or find more information and assistance if necessary. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Sadly, there are plenty of websites out there that would lead a first-time visitor to believe that he or she is not even on the right site. The result? They click the back button and move on.
Another factor to consider is the overall look and color scheme of the masthead. Companies should think about the product or service they provide and how that product is viewed by the customer.
For example, if the website is for a day spa, the company should typically stick with calming colors, a more flowing font and perhaps images such as candles, flowers or even a person receiving a massage. The role of a spa is to put customers at ease, relieve their stress and achieve an overall feeling of relaxation. It might be counterproductive for the website’s masthead to have large, bold block letters, loud, primary colors and flashing interactive components.
However, if the company is one that desires to excite the consumer in a different, perhaps more impulsive way, bolder colors and flashy graphics might be more suitable. Car dealerships are big fans of louder mastheads – and typically with good reason.
Also think about the images and pictures that are included in the masthead. Sure, you might love your Cocker Spaniel and take him to work with you every day, but if your company isn’t in any way involved in the pet industry, it might not be effective to include his picture on your website’s masthead. That’s not to say he can’t appear anywhere else on the website, but it might look confusing (and even a little silly) to new customers who haven’t yet met your friendly pooch and don’t understand why his face is the first thing they see when they visit your website.
Lastly, when using images, say a picture of the storefront or the products sold, it’s important to make sure the images are of the best quality so they don’t appear fuzzy, pixilated or amateur. This can certainly make a customer second-guess the quality of your products and services.