1. Think about the user
It is easy to get hyper focused on the look of a website and forget about who will be using it. When creating your website it is important to think about user experience. Is your navigation clear and easily accessible? Do visitors have to search too hard for relevant information? How quickly are they able to access it? Can a first time visitor know exactly what your website is about?
Websites should have a natural flow that coincides with human behavior. Give your website visitors what they want as quickly as possible and as easily as possible. Make sure you have a clear call to action that tells your visitor what to do. This will mean lower bonce rates and higher conversions for you.
2. Think like a robot
I know. I just told you to think like your user. Users are human beings. But there’s another visitor that is equally as important named Googlebot. Search engines need to be able to tell what your web pages are about when they visit so they will know how to list them in search engine results. So there has to be a balance between writing and designing for your user and informing a robot what your page is about.
Using appropriate heading tags, title tags and descriptions is the most important thing you can do to let those bots know about your website. But when it comes to website text, just write naturally. Trying to write for a robot (by over using keywords or repeating the same text) will not only be confusing for your users but can result in penalties that could make your website harder to find.
3. Use Appropriate Images.
Images can make the website. Proper selection of images that can represent your company is very important. Some studies have shown that professional stock photography can boost the trustworthiness of a new business. At the same time, it can reduce the trustworthiness of an established or well known business. So it’s okay to use stock photography. But if you have great, quality pictures of your own you should always use them. Just be make sure you have the rights to use whatever images you put on your website. There are plenty of stock photography providers like Adobe Stock. But there are great free options too. Search for images with a creative commons license. Or use websites like Pexels for royalty free images.
Choosing the proper image size is equally as important. Far too many websites have images that were once small in size, but have been stretched to fit into a slideshow or section. The images lose their quality and look very unprofessional when this is done. Improper image size is a dead giveaway that you designed your own website.
Always make sure that you are starting with the proper image size and that you will not be distorting it by putting the image where you need it to be. As a general rule, bigger is better. Large images that are made smaller will generally retain their quality. There are plenty of free options to help you resize your images. I recommend paint.net to my clients. It is much like your basic paint program on your home computer, with many more features. Many things that some will use Photoshop for, can be accomplished with this free software.
However bigger is better, doesn’t mean bigger file sizes. When using larger images, be sure to reduce file size by using an image compression plugin and by choosing the best file type. These things will help you to achieve faster page load times and an overall faster website.
4. Keep It Simple.
When in doubt..Leave it out. We all have good ideas from time to time, Sometimes when designing a website it can be tempting to try all of those ideas at once. A website should never be too busy or distracting. A visitors focus should be on the matters at hand, rather than the countless animated gifs (they used to be all the rage apparently) or overbearing backgrounds. Your message should be clear and there should be a call to action. Don’t make your customers search tirelessly for basic information and don’t distract or confuse them with too much of what they don’t need.
5. Use Fewer Pages
Ages ago, people wanted pages. They wanted lots of them. It seemed like the more pages you had, the more professional your website would be. Rumors were that Google liked lots of pages, so people started to create page after page, with useless content. They would have navigation menus with countless items and even more pages that were linked to from other random pages. There would be an about us page that linked to a “more about us” page. It was ridiculous. It was confusing. Luckily, technology has advanced, Google has evolved and overuse of pages serves no purpose.
Many companies are actually moving toward one page website designs. You’d be amazed at what can be done with one page. Not only is a more useful and informative homepage appreciated by your visitors, it is better for your overall SEO. Search engines want to see relevant and useful content. A one paragraph about us page doesn’t carry much weight with search engines, but an informative and useful homepage does.
6. Pick a Color Scheme
Using too many colors is distracting. Pick a color scheme (ie: blue,gray and white) and use it throughout. Consider your color scheme when choosing your images. The flow of choosing a color scheme and sticking to it, can help a website to appear much more professional and is much more visually appealing. You can use tools like Paint.Net (mentioned in item #1) to match your colors exactly.
I hope that these web design tips have helped you with the design and creation of your new website. There are so many more things that go into designing a website but hopefully, these few tips will help you get off to a good start. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We are always glad to help. Good luck with your new website!