A website functions as the main headquarters for your online business, so it only makes sense that you want it to be both functional and enticing. That means sticking with the best possible principles of design to make it appealing to a wide range of persons. Here are a few tips for making sure your site rates high from the user’s perspective.
First impressions do count! The homepage must be the most appealing page on your site. 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 in less than 5 seconds, they’re likely to go elsewhere.
While we’re talking about navigation, simplicity is key. 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. Site search is a very important element on a website to add a search text field placed on the top of the web page.
Create a unique, trusting relationship with your visitors. Add testimonials from satisfied clients. Add contact information to your site footer so that visitors can easily find it. Provide a physical address, phone and e-mail options. Anticipate information like pricing that they need and make it easy to find. Transparency is good for your business.
Go easy on colors and images. Do not use more than 2-4 colors when designing to look professional. Consider using the logo’s color palate. Also keep in mind that 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.
Be careful with the length of pages. Big blocks of text are uninviting to readers. Seeing a solid wall of text on a page is one of the quickest ways to get a visitor to head off to another website. Instead, use clear headings and break your text up into smaller, easier-to-read paragraphs and you’ll find that visitors are more likely to actually read your content.
Always check compatibility across all the major browser platforms. Obviously, appearance is important. Your website might look perfect in 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 that have some pretty picture and the words “Click Here to Enter Site”. Avoid the flashy splash page! They are a waste of your bandwidth 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.
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 simply 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 just 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 they 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.
Use a sitemap to improve web page navigation and also search engine optimization. Listing the pages on a website is a user-friendly feature.
When it comes to building your brand, your website is one of your most powerful tools. Contact Dr. John Elcik at identityXperts to handle all of your web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.