Many online entrepreneurs fail to understand the importance of effective website design. A poorly designed website will result in a poorly visited website. Using some of the most basic, but necessary, web design elements can be as important as the content on your website. If no one stays on your website long enough to read the content it matters little how good your content maybe. Here are a few basic tips for effective web site design.
Scanability: Most experienced web designers understand that most visitors to a website will first scan the information on the page. If you think that a visitor is going to sit and read every word on your page, “it ain’t going to happen”. As the visitor scans your pages he/she will pick the area of text which interests them the most and this will be the information they read. Your web design must make your pages easy to scan.
Site Navigation: Site navigation is one of the more important elements when planning your website design. Make your site’s navigation easy and consistent. Keep your navigation elements in the same location on each and every page. Use the same background color for your navigation bar as you do for your logo and theme header.
Design your website such that when showing your topics on the navigation bar you use the shortest version of your keyword for the related topic.
Limit or do not underline text in your content. Let you click able links be the only underlined text. This will improve the visitor’s ability to understand what a click able link is. You may also want to add a “click- here” link in your text links. A site that is hard to navigate is a site that most visitors will leave quickly.
Site Template: Good web site design revolves around your site’s template. Make your site’s concept and content match your template.
Website visitors are more receptive to a light background with a high contrast between background and text. Black is the preferred color for most text. Stay away from images on your background as they can be a distraction to your content.
A simple template can show your professionalism and enhance the value of your website. There are many free web design templates available on the Internet, so find one that works for your site’s concept.
Site Theme: Let your visitors know from the moment they reach your site, what your site is all about. Customize the top of your site with your site’s name, logo and slogan. A customized graphic can best accomplish this task. Your slogan should tell your visitors what your site has to offer them.
Site Uniformity: Your web page design should incorporate the same look and feel on each page of your site. Uniformity in design makes the visitor more receptive to the information you are providing for them.
Use the same font for all headlines and the same font for your content.
Your page margins should be the same on each page as should where you place your images.
Site Colors: The use of colors can enhance the look and feel of any web site design, however, not all colors are safe to use. Different computer systems and browsers do not show colors the same; therefore use only Web safe colors. You should also try to match your colors to the theme of your site, but do not use a lot of different colors. Pick only a few colors and be consistent with those colors through out your site. Using to many different colors can be a distraction to your visitors.
Above the Fold: If you are not familiar with the term “above the fold” it is the first part of a website that is visible without any scrolling. This is without a doubt the most important part of your website design. The area above the fold is your visitor’s first impression of your website. This is where you must grab and hold your visitor’s attention in order to have them stay on your site.
Place your best and most compelling text and images here, for you only have ten to fifteen seconds to capture their interest.
Content Separation: Make your content easier to read and more eye appealing by leaving “white spaces” between your content. If you are going to have similar topics on a page, which relate to the page’s main topic, then separate the content. Use headlines, sub- headlines or images to separate the different topics. If those different topics do not relate to your page’s main topic then move those topics to a separate page. The idea here is to keep related information about a particular topic on the same page. You want your information to flow naturally to your visitor.
Take time to plan and test your website design. It can be the determining factor between the success and failure of your website. You may want to visit some of your competitor’s websites. You can get some great free web design ideas for your site; however, do not just copy their site.