A website functions as the main headquarters for your online business. Thus, it only makes sense that you want it to be both functional and enticing. That means sticking with the best possible design principles to make it appealing to a wide range of persons. Here are a few “secrets for pragmatic web design.” Use these ideas to make sure your site is hitting on all cylinders:
Site Navigation Secrets
Make the site navigation system as clear as possible. Visitors should be able to find their way around your site with ease. Avoid complicated flash menus; you want your navigation to be simple enough for a child to understand. If visitors aren’t able to find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to go elsewhere.
While we’re talking about navigation, make sure that site users can easily see where they are on your site. If they’ve browsed themselves down a few levels deep, you want them to be able to see where they are to avoid confusion.
Go easy on the images. Your site will load more quickly with fewer pictures, which means potential customers are more likely to stay on the page. Any images that must be on the page should be optimized for size using an image editor. Make the image file size as small as possible to speed up your site load time.
Seeing a solid wall of text on a page is one of the quickest ways to get visitors to head off to another website. Big blocks of text are uninviting to readers. Instead, break your text up into smaller, easier-to-read paragraphs, and you’ll find that visitors are more likely actually to read your content.
Browser Platform Secrets
Check your page across all the major browser platforms. Obviously, appearance is important. Your website might look perfect on Firefox, but if it looks bad on Chrome and Opera, visitors will be hitting the back button – meaning you’re losing out on potential earnings.
Do you know what a splash page is? These are those pages you see on many websites with pretty pictures and the words “Click Here to Enter Site.” Avoid the flashy splash page! They are a waste of your time and a time-waster for the visitors to your page. When someone comes to your page, they want to see the value right from the start, not fancy graphics.
Banner Ad Secrets
Avoid using an overabundance of banner ads on the header and sidebars of your site. Most people don’t pay them any attention, anyway – in fact; it’s been shown that as the internet matures, web surfers are developing “banner blindness,” where they don’t notice banners anymore. You’ll be better off supplying your followers with epic content that has relevant text links to your affiliate offers.
Finally, think long and hard about using audio on your site – and then say no! There are two big reasons for this. First, many people do their web surfing at work; unexpected audio can get them in trouble. Secondly, even when surfing at home, people multi-task. They may be watching TV or listening to music while visiting your site; your choice of music might not be as enjoyable for them as what they were already listening to. What’s more, if they spend more than a couple of minutes on your site – which you hope they do – having the same tune loop over and over can get really annoying. If you absolutely must have audio, make sure that the controls for muting it are easy to find.
Dr. John P. Elcik, IV
The Pragmatic Web Designer