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Smell that? It’s a steamy savory saucy meatball sub heading your way on a plate of goodness and you’re running to it. Meatball subs—they symbolize the joy of eating. A disappointing sub however, one that taste like tennis balls and tarter sauce, will destroy one’s desire to have another. That’s my story, one meatball sub let me down in 1986 and I’ve haven’t had one since.

Thus is the life of a website produced by the many non-profits and good will organizations. These sites are meant to be good and tasty but far too often they are made with cheap ingredients and nuked in a microwave. We all remember the days where people spent loving time in the kitchen creating meatball masterpieces—seasoning the ground beef, brewing the sauce for hours, hand rolling the bread and letting the yeast rise. Rise yeast rise.

That’s the meatball sandwich people want and that’s the sandwich people will come back for again and again. Make a pledge with me today people; “I (state your name) will never make a meatball sub using bologna and ketchup again. My website will be an unforgettable experience.”

Web users are used to good eats.

The days of quick and amateur website designs are over. People are no longer patient with malfunctioning sites, confusing layouts, and distasteful designs. Today’s internet users are savvy and use to dining on multi-million dollar websites like,, or If you have a bologna website, unless a web users= has a strong stomach, they might loose their appetite when visiting.

We all should be good stewards of our resources and I know is is difficult to think about spending money on quality design. The numbers can be surprising. To design, develop and maintain a state-of-the-art website is a five figure deal and far too often organizations sacrifice the design due to a lack in funds. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here today preaching about preparing a five course meal full of the fixings. I’m just simply talking about a meatball sub. A website that is prepared with thoughtfulness and a dash of creativity.

Let’s talk about where to begin. You’ll need a recipe (site map), with all the ingredients working towards the same goal. Think about why you’re online and what are you trying to achieve — everything from the navigational scheme to your messages should support this goal. Don’t try and do everything because it dilutes your purpose and confuses your audience.

Starting Recipe

Now the spicy ingredient. Your design is where you show the love you have for your audience. I’m talking L O V E. Be kind to them, show them that their eye sight is important to you. A quality website is essential for repeat visitors. Not sure you have a chef inside you? No worries here is a simple recipe to follow:

  • Unify all your elements (photos, graphics, colors, and text)
  • Create Neutral Space which will attract the eye and give some visual rest
  • Hierarchy— bring order to your messages
  • Balance, balance, balance, otherwise known as “equalized tension.”

In short my friends, your audience will know quickly whether your site was thrown together or carefully and lovingly assembled for them. Remember a website is for viewers to enjoy. Let them leave full and satisfied.

Photo by VeryGreen.

Michael Schafer
Michael has spent the past 25 years applying his experience and superpowers to further the missions of social-good organizations, and has no plans to stop.