In this blog on Website design, we are letting one of our designers loose with her word processor…hang on tight!
DO structure the flow of the page and content; where your content lands on the page is important to the “viewer” and sites overall effectiveness.
DON’T use multi-size floating boxes, objects and text on a page unless you are writing a blog or presenting a portfolio with some sort of artistic appeal to your site that integrates different sized boxes and text.
DO, have quality content even if you have to pay a little extra to get it up and running. It will be worth while in the search engine optimization (or SEO) process for your website.
DO have a neat and simple navigation, clearly displayed and to the point on the page.
DO have an interesting navigation. Unique but to the point like this one to the below shows great usage of space!
DO have sub navigation menus for less important pages or content than the main navigation but still leads clients or viewers as a second alternative to Call to Actions (or CTA’s). By Sub Navigations we mean a second navigation system as apposed to drop down menus or select menus. Suppose it is a website for a hotel the main navigation would have “Home, Accommodations, Amenities, Contact us” and maybe something like “nearby attractions” or “what’s nearby”. A sub navigation would be displayed just above the fold with information like “View our brochure, Enter to Win contests, Employment & Careers”…and so on. Basically, “bonuses” or “extras” to the viewer of your website.
One of the most important pieces of content to have on your page is social media clearly displayed at the top in the header, or somewhere above the fold, as well as in the footer. One of the main reasons to a website being so popular besides search engine optimization and good quality key words is social media.
DO have social media icons, and I can’t stress this enough: If you DO NOT regularly update your Facebook or Twitter page with good content, content worth viewing, reading or even browsing through….DON’T link your website to empty pages of social media.There simply is no point unless you are just starting one and planning to update regularly.
DO use social media to get the client or viewer to know you personally. Don’t just post business related things; it gives the viewer an understanding of who you are, what you like and they feel like they know you; getting followers may not be easy but this should do the trick.
DO have someone who manages your social media, updates your statuses, introduces new products or deals/promotions to get viewers, potential clients, and most importantly: followers.
DO have a search bar on your website either in the navigation, above the navigation, or in the main page itself “above the fold”. It helps viewers search for what they are looking for either within your page or throughout your entire website as opposed to trying to find it, getting stressed out, and contacting your company by phone to ask where this information is located on your website. Or even worse, bouncing off of your website entirely. You want viewers and traffic; not more phone calls regarding “how does your website work?” or “how do I find this on your site?”.
DON’T over colour. The use of substantial amount of colours (we are talking: 15- 20 different colours) on your website just does not work.
DO use colour that corresponds with your page, company, and content wisely and correctly. For example: If you own a corporate website, you may want to use “conservative” colours such as royal blue, grey, white, red, or even beige. Think: Business attire. No hot pink, purple, yellow or rainbow.
DON’T use more than 3 fonts with exception to graphic designers and portfolio websites on typography. Your viewer will be distracted and will not know where to look or what to read first. From a designer’s point of view, you should have one main font across your entire page. So the Navigation should be the same font as the main text and the footer text with exceptions of bold or italic. Your Headers ( H1, header and H2, headers) can be a different font if you choose, lets say a script type font that adds elegance to your page, or the same font as your main content just different colour with different settings from your main navigation such as 2-3 sizes bigger and bold or italic.
DO choose images that clearly represent your company, product or service. Do not use confusing or misleading images or you risk alienating your viewers. Place the images neatly on your page in structured form and try to have one main image, possibly a slider introducing your website, product or service.
DO make your page visually appealing. As a web designer I look for creativity, uniqueness, and quality in a website. I look at websites and see if it makes me want the product, need the service, or simply have to have it because of a modern, sleek look and feel, or one-of-a-kind use of colour imagery and the way it has been designed.
DO pay the extra for a great graphic and web designer. It will be worth your while and you will be one of the people who wants to look at your website. There’s really nothing more counter-productive than representing your company in a bad way – with an amateur website, with poorly written content, or with images taken by your neighbour because he has an iPhone and Instagram. Your website is often the first impression a customer gets of your company and if they are put off right away you will have a harder time making the sale. Don’t assume most customers will tell you its bad…most will say nothing to you, but will say something to the business they buy from!
DON’T use Flash. Please. Okay maybe if you have to, but with modern programming tools you should not have to. Flash may seem cool, but it ruins the site for SEO. Flash is simply outdated, not current, complicated, not SEO friendly. If those are not reason enough for you here are some more: Rarely can or will your website be viewed correctly on a phone (certainly not on Apple iProducts), Your viewer will often have to update their flash to the newest version just to view your website, will they take the time to update their app first and come back to your site after? The load time for a Flash website can be ridiculous depending on how content and Flash heavy your site is. And lastly… Flash based sites cost substantially more than usual due to difficulty, the use of the “cool” effects that could potentially crash your browser, and because the guys building cool Flash sites are expensive. Save yourself the time and money and go with HTML, PHP or WordPress, so that everybody’s happy. The client, the viewers, your followers, the designers, your website with its good SEO, as well as most importantly…YOU!
Allow me to quickly rant about headers, what images to use, and how using them will benefit your company.
DO have a visually appealing header, something to do with your company. For example: If you are based in Las Vegas and you provide quality style haircuts for men; do not have a header of the Rocky Mountains displaying long luscious female hair! Your viewers will automatically assume they had clicked the wrong site or simply not pay attention due to lack of detail. Either way, it is most definitely not good marketing for your company.
Please do everyone a favour and DO NOT have your face in the header unless you are a musician, host of a TV show, news reporter, or a realtor. It’s just a huge No-No.
Editors Note: We let one of our designers loose in the Blogosphere as sort of a therapeutic exercise. She is doing better now.
Like most things in life there are always situations to break the rules and swim against the prevailing current; but if you listen to your designer and follow most if not all these tips, you will end up with a better site than otherwise. That said, keep in mind there is seldom a perfect design and even if you are lucky enough to have something that is pretty close, one of your competitors is working hard to come up with a better one!
DO Keep it fresh people!
And, if you have questions or want to discuss design, programming, content, marketing, strategy, or whose winning the Stanley Cup this year, give us a call at 1-866-588-8282.