When you are creating a website (or hiring a web/blog designer to create one for you), there are some simple rules for you to follow. These Do’s and Don’ts help you to avoid the common pitfalls and to create a site which your customers will want to return to time after time.
DO: Focus on the appearance
Websites make an immediate impression from the very first moment they are seen. The audience judges your content by the professionalism of your homepage. Try to keep it as uncluttered as possible and make it obvious what your web page is about. A good web page is an easy web page to read.
DON’T: Flood it with writing
Nobody wants to look at a site which is just a page of writing. This isn’t meant to be a Word document. You might have something very important to say, but one long screen filled with continuous text is not the way to go about it. Good web design will utilize your content and still make it look highly presentable.
DO: Create a page structure
A well-designed website will allow users to navigate easily between pages and content. This will involve a menu system and a uniformity to the pages. The same header or side menu system should be displayed on each page. It gives the user the knowledge that they are still within your site and they don’t have to think about learning a new system for each page. Make like easy for them.
DON’T: Just place boxes everywhere
We’ve all seen these types of websites before – 20+ boxes, all different sizes, nothing lining up properly and not on piece that actually grabs your attention because you’ve just ran into a whirlwind of craziness. if you’re a web designer and you cannot properly place items in a structured environment, well, I would’t really call yourself a web designer.
DO: Focus on what’s important
Are you building a website for a business that sells one specific product? If so, make sure that’s the focus of the home page. Allow yourself space on the inner pages to place calls to action for that specific item. If you’re building a blog that gives out freebies or writes tutorials, make sure they’re getting the proper amount of focus and attention.
DON’T: Flood your page with ads
If you’re going to try and make money from your website/blog, do yourself a favor and lay off the excessive advertisements. If your page loads and has 70% ads and only 30% content, odds are high that people will leave and never come back. Making your ads the #1 priority is a bad idea. Try blending them in and making sure they don’t take away from the content.
DO: Choose the right color scheme
Knowing what your readers emotions are will help you in choosing the proper color scheme. You won’t want a bright and ‘loud’ color scheme if your website is in the meditation niche. You’ll notice that most punk rock bands have CMYK color schemes (pink, yellow, black and blue), while a doctor/medical website will generally stick with a lighter, more ‘open’ color scheme.
DON’T: Overdo the colors
This isn’t a school project and you are not getting any marks for the number of colors you use. A rainbow or a splattering of colos might be appropriate in a few instances, but it’s rare. Choose two or three colors and design your website around this theme, subtle colors work well in a professional scenario and still create an outstanding web design.
DO: Choose the right fonts and sizes
Fonts are the highly important aspect of web design. Making your section titles the right size and making sure the fonts you’re using will greatly effect the experience your visitors have when viewing your websites. Generally speaking, you should use one main font for the content and then you may switch the titles of the pages to a different font.
DON’T: Have 5 different fonts in 10 different sizes
Picture this: Page titles are in times new roman, content for those pages are in Arial, navigation links are in comic sans and the sidebar is in impact (yes, that impact). How ugly does that look? Now, remember that vision the next time you want to build a website with 5 different fonts.
DO: Set your navigation up properly
If you’ve got a sign up page on your website, maybe you’ll have your main navigation in a blue color, while the sign up button is in a green color. Regardless, you’ll want to make your navigation easy to spot and easy to use.
DON’T: Make your readers search to find something
Your readers shouldn’t spend 30-40 seconds trying to find a contact or about page. They also shouldn’t have to click through three pages just to get to a sign up form. Get the important things out in the open. For the items that aren’t required to have a strong focus on your website, you might want to invest in a search box – Users HATE when websites don’t have a search box.
DO: Make it unbelievably easy to use
If your site is over-complicated and asks for too much input from the user, then they will shut it down and run away. When designing a website, you have to try to make it as simple to use as possible. If you can, keep any data entry forms down to three input options – name, email and comment.
DON’T: Overload it with pictures
A picture tells a thousand words, but too many pictures will look amateurish and like a spam website. When you design your website, you should consider what you actually need and want to put out to the viewers. What should you put on the site that adds value to your content?
DO: Optimize your load times
DON’T: Make everything on your page an image
DO: Display your company’s identity
A website is the public face of a company and the first place a customer will go to if they need a product or information. A well-designed website will reflect the image of the company, from logo through to color scheme. Utilizing the company’s brand colors will cement the association for the customer and help build brand awareness.
Following these simple Do’s and Don’ts of website design, will allow you to avoid the common mistakes and, instead, focus on designing a great looking and functioning website.