Building an effective web presence begins with a good site design. Here are some general considerations to take into account when deciding on the overall look and feel of your website.
- The most effective designs are clean and concise. This means not too much and not too little; a balance of images and information that conveys your intent without overwhelming the viewer. If possible, try to avoid cluttering your site with a torrent of bells and whistles. You don’t need endless animation accompanied by music that could accompany a battle scene in a summer action flick.
A well-designed website is clean, simple, and most importantly, allows visitors to easily find what they want within a timely manner. Excessive bells and whistles not only make it harder for visitors to find what they looking for, they also have a negative impact on loading times, which affects your search engine optimization.
- Navigating through the pages of your website should be intuitive. This means buttons appearing in logical places, links that are easy to locate, and dividing your website into sections so as not to overwhelm the user with too much stimuli. In general , this means less than ten buttons at the top of the page, clearly defined sub menus, and creating sections of information that are easy to follow logically. Remember, if the user can’t navigate around your site, they won’t see any of your oh-so-carefully-crafted content.
- Choose a color scheme that doesn’t overwhelm the viewer. Contrasting colors are fine in moderation, but using several shades of neon green on a backdrop of electric pink won’t get you anywhere. Choose colors that go well together, that complement your company as a whole, and that convey the feeling you want your users to have while navigating your site. With color, less is always, always more. When in doubt, use a color wheel to help guide your decisions.
- Choose images based on their content value, not for the sake of having images. This is a common mistake, because many people assume that website design should mimic print design in its use of color and imagery. The truth of the matter is that too many images—especially irrelevant or misleading images—can have an adverse effect on the way readers view your website. Unless you’re a photographer, having too many images can deter people who only want to read what they’ve come to your site to read.
- Include a Call to Action. Before doing anything else, you need to determine what you want visitors to your website to do. Then design your site so that action is obvious. One popular call to action is requiring users to fill out a form to request more information about company products and/or services. If this is your goal, place the form in a prime location on the web page and size it prominently. Make the form straight to the point and quick to fill out. Utilize pre-populated selection buttons when possible. If you need more than two or three pieces of information, it’s probably best to request it in follow-up email rather than a complicated signup form.
Because web coding is such a specialized field, it can be difficult for programmers to accurately convey their level of expertise to clients who don’t understand the lingo. However, if you consider the following questions before pulling the trigger on your new website, your site should be a success even if you still have no idea what PHP, Java, or an SEO strategy for your new website are.
- Will the site work across all major internet browsers? It used to be difficult if not impossible to guarantee that your website would look the same across all of the different internet browsers without extensive code changes for each and every one. Fortunately, technology has come a long way over the years, and it is now easier than ever to ensure that your site will remain consistent across all browsers. Creating a brand name for your company is important. Having a consistent website translates into having a consistent brand image, which is the hallmark of a truly well-run business.
- Will the site be developed on a Content Management System? In the past, the only way to edit your website would be to pay your design company to do it, racking up the costs of maintaining a vibrant and relevant web presence. But with Content Management Systems like WordPress, your website can be built in such a way that you can easily make changes yourself.
- Will the site be optimized for search engines? A lot of search engine optimization (SEO) can be handled in the actual coding of the website, since it is that information that the search engines will see first and foremost. Your website developer should begin with a comprehensive SEO plan and then apply the website design and marketing to it, rather than the other way around. If your designer can’t handle it, choosing a good SEO company can help.
- Will the site be optimized for mobile? Google began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in April of 2015, so having a site that’s optimized for mobile is more important than ever. You have the option of either creating a separate mobile version of your site on a “.m” subdomain, or upgrading your site to responsive design. Both options optimize your site to be more appropriate for smaller screens. While creating a separate mobile site is less expensive than upgrading to responsive design, a separate mobile site is not as good for search, and can dilute domain and hurt organic search traffic. However, a separate mobile site is better than nothing and can be a quick and easy way to comply with the new search algorithm. Talk to your web developer about which option is best for your business.
MARION Marketing is a Marketing Firm, Advertising Agency and Graphic Design Firm based in Houston, Texas. To find out more about our Houston web design and SEO services, give us a call visit our contact page.