Building An Effective Website For Your Group

In today's world, one of the most important aspects of your repertoire as a paranormal investigator is your group's website. It's a proven fact that the internet is the first stop for information. Forget phone books... Forget local ads; The Internet is where it's at. That's also where your clientele is. Building an effective website is not only a perk; It's an absolute necessity. But in doing so, don't fall into the pit that so many others before you have. Learn from the experience, and most of all, listen to those who are there or who have been there. 

The first mistake is designing your website to suit YOUR taste and expectations. Sure, we all want a cool looking website full of the latest and greatest, but remember this is a niche, and, it's not about you... it's about your clients. You have to put yourself in the clients and visitor's perspective. A good way to look at this is if you're shopping for a new TV, you might head to BestBuy.com. If you want info, you look towards Wikipedia. You want funny videos, you head to Break.com. And if someone is looking for help in dealing with a haunting, you want them to come to you. Website designs can vary based on your objective. For example, if you're promoting yourself or group as paranormal investigators and make it clear that you're doing it for research only, you have endless possibilities. But if you're there to help people who are experiencing paranormal phenomena, you need to be extremely careful. We're coming from the angle of the latter. 
 

Points to Consider:

  • Dark color schemes: Remember, your clients may have experienced a traumatic paranormal event. Dark colors in a website can convey a feeling of suspense, horror, fear, or discomfort to such people. And light text on dark will strain the eyes if reading heavy text.
  • Scary images: People are coming to your website to seek help. The last thing they need to presented with scary themed website.
  • Floating or static ghosts: It's amateurish and stupid and makes clients feel they're looking at a Halloween website rather than one they trust for help. This is so 90's old school and looks absolutely horrendous. DON'T DO IT!
  • Scary, suspenseful music: Music in general shouldn't load automatically on any website unless it's a media site. Once again, this conveys the feeling and image of horror.
  • Flashing Navigation: Just horrible practice in general. Make it easy for your clients, not more difficult.
  • Pleasant Layout: Any site that is visually "Too Busy" is a disaster from the get-go. Make your layout flow naturally in a way that's easy on the eyes. Keep it simple.
  • Mobile Compliant: People are busy with work, kids, family, extracurricular activities... and as so, they are turning to their mobile device now more than ever to get the info they need. Giving your potential client an easy way to access your site on-the-fly isn't only convenient... it's smart.
  • Labeling: Don't label yourselves on your website as "Ghost Hunters". It's a term usually associated with the amateur grave stomper. Plus, you'll just look like you're copying TAPS. The professional term is Paranormal Investigator or Paranormal Researcher. Some may see this a being nit-picky, but trust me, it does matter to a team that's trying to be professional. And it will matter to your clients and success of your website.
  • False Information: Don't do it! If you don't have 10 years of experience, don't say you do. If you don't have a team of 50 people, don't claim you do. If you've never investigated a haunting with a negative entity, don't imply that you have. Honesty will go far, regardless of your experience.
  • Contact Info: By all means, make sure clients can contact you. Have a VERY obvious, easy to see Contact Us link. Display it prominently on your frontpage. And when they contact you, get back with them quickly. Don't delay.
  • Overall Feel: You want the overall feel to be light, warm, and comforting. Do research on color schemes and you'll discover that blue is one of the most calming colors available and white implies purity and cleanliness.
  • Popups: By all means, DO NOT use popups. These are a pain in the ass and show that you totally do not know what you're doing. When I visit a site and am greeted with a popup I close immediately and don't look back. Wanna lose clients? Use popups.
  • Free web hosts and domains: Like blogger and Wordpress. Don't use these for your group. It shows the lack of dedication. if you're serious about helping people, invest in your own domain.
I'll continue to update this article on occasion, but this is some info and pointers that will definitely get you going in the right direction.
 
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