Website Tips – 1. Have a strong Brand Message on your Website!
Your website should project an image of your business that you want the world to see. The great news is that through good web design you can control that image.
In terms of physical design this means positioning your logo or key message in the top left hand corner – the part of the screen where the eyes of the website visitors are most naturally drawn to.
Website Tips – 2. Provide a clear navigation system for your website.
A good web designer will ensure that they use design techniques to lead the user around the screen and site. Clearly differentiated sub-sections and even a site map can ensure a concise, easy to follow navigation route, while good use of position, colour, contrast and size can all help focus the eye. Stick to one main navigation menu, remain consistent throughout the site, use sub-navigation and keep it uncluttered by avoiding drop down menus.
Website Tips – 3. Make your web intuitive and extremely easy to use!
Website visitors can be fickle and if a website is hard to navigate (or slow to get around) they’ll be off.
Ensure your website navigation buttons are obvious and easy to identify.
Towards the top of the page is a good place to put your navigation buttons and they should have appropriate links directly linking from page to page so the user can quickly and easily switch pages when something catches their interest.
Finally, ensure your website adheres to the functionalities that people have come to expect from modern websites.
For example, if text is underlined your user will naturally expect it to be a link so don’t user underlining unless it is a link.
Website Tips – 4. Keep your website design consistent throughout your website.
Website users like to know where they are within a website and if the style of your website pages change dramatically or somehow feels different, your website visitors will become disengaged and could start to feel lost.
Maintaining consistency will prevent this and will give your website a professional image.
Ensuring that everything matches, from heading sizes and typefaces to design, colour and style of image.
Website Tips – 5. Keep your website design simple!
The whole draw of using a website is that it should be quick and easy to use.
To this end simplicity is key.
At the touch of a button, succinct and useful information should be available to your users.
Today’s Internet surfers won’t hang around, so you need to make sure that the page is scannable.
This means not being afraid to use or leave in plenty of white space.
There is a theory that our eyes do not naturally work in a linear fashion. Given the chance they will take in more and then zoom in to an area of interest from the bigger picture.
Website Tips – 6. Ensure your website and content is easy to understand.
Visitors coming to your website typically won’t want to spend much time so ensure that every aspect is easy to understand; from the navigation to the copy. There are design techniques that can help make the information on a page easier to understand – think shorter sentences, larger font, sections differentiated by contrast and colour and, as previously mentioned, good use of white space. To this end, there are some common rules of thumb: never use more than three typefaces, or more than three different point sizes for a font and keep lines of text to 18 words – 50-80 characters – max!
Website Tips – 7. Ensure that your website degrades gracefully!
Not everyone has the latest pc and the fastest broadband so you should make sure that your website and the code used, is as simple as it can be without compromising on the elements that you require.
HTML code needs to degrade gracefully and not slow down or cause problems to lower spec computers.
If you cause an IT issue on your visitors pc, you can be sure that the customer won’t be back again and would also not be recommending your business or website to anyone else!
Website Tips – 8. Write your content with your target audience in mind and keep it jargon free.
When writing or commissioning the copy for your website, you should bear in mind your target audience.
Tempting as it is to use the medium to bombard the user with all the information you can, so need to keep it succinct in style and use laymen’s terms if appropriate.
If you have to use technical terms include a glossary.
If you are hoping to attract visitors through search engine optimisation (SEO) you will need to consider the “key words” people will be using in their searches.
These “key words” should be weaved into the copy as often as is appropriate to help propel your website up the search engines page rankings.
Website Tips – 9. Consider the usability of your Website!
At the end of the day if your website isn’t usable visitors will be off – as quick as a mouse. So, when working on the web design, consider the end user’s experience of the site.
It can be a good idea to make a list of the things a user will want to use your site for and then checking that these are easy to achieve and if necessary are readily available from the homepage – e.g. Start shopping, Current offers, Book an appointment etc. Then test early and throughout the process test and test again. The only way to really check that your site is as user friendly as it can be is to test it out on people who know nothing about your business.
Website Tips – 10. Make sure that your new website is compliant.
A good website should adhere to certain guidelines. For example, all websites could comply with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This ensures that websites are suitable and accessible for people with disabilities and cover aspects of web design such as screen flickering – line with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
There are many other guideline that should be looking in to.