Websites are no longer optional for businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve. They are also typically the first place consumers go to find out more about private and public organizations. Is it any wonder that everyone is looking for the “secret sauce” that produces an incredible site?
The truth is that there are many different ways to design a website, and each method may work better or worse depending upon your industry. However, there are basic web design best practices you need to keep in mind no matter what field you’re in.
Have an Intuitive, Straightforward Navigation
This is a biggie, and it’s one that sometimes falls by the wayside. Web designs can occasionally get too creative, leaving the navigation a mess. If visitors have to hunt around, they’ll just leave. The same holds true behind the scenes with website crawlers, which are designed to prefer streamlined coding that makes logical sense.
Before web design takes shape, map out the architecture of the integration and flow of each web page. Keep your target audience in mind, too. What are they most likely to want out of your website? For instance, if you have an online retail store, they are going to need to know what you sell. Then, they should quickly be able to jump to your products. From there, filling a virtual shopping cart and checking out should be convenient and easy to follow.
Don’t make your visitors guess. Do all the work for them with your intuitive web design.
Offer Images That Set the Tone
Great images may be hard to find, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to have compelling photos on your website. As part of your web design, think about the pictures that most represent your corporate culture, and the relationship you have with customers. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes: What would you need to see to make you click beyond the landing page or home page?
You don’t have to get professional photographs taken, although they may work well for your business. If you decide you would rather choose stock photography, be very careful. You can use free software to discover who else has used particular images. This will help ensure you aren’t picking the same stock photography that is being used by a competitor.
People are driven by emotions. Provide them with images that tap into their feelings.
Give Content That’s Exceptional
So much of the content on the web is pure fluff. But you can rise above the rest and deliver outstanding content that will actually be useful for your target prospects and current customers.
Think about how your content is laid out on the page. Do you offer irresistible headlines and bold passages that can be skimmed? Are you just keyword-stuffing your content, hoping to get a big search engine optimization (SEO) pull, or is it both keyword rich and valuable?
Great content is essential. It positions your company as an expert in what you do, and it gives visitors a reason to browse and return.
Check Your Mobile Site Regularly
You already know that mobile is a hot topic among web designers, but what you may not be doing is regularly checking the way your site looks on mobile devices. New devices with differing screen sizes are being developed and pushed to the public regularly. Be certain you explore your site on as many as possible. That way, you can discover glitches and issues before your audience members do.
Yes, it takes time to be sure your website looks awesome everywhere, including on mobile platforms, but it’s definitely worth check-ups.
Aim for Unique, Not Messy, Typography
It’s tempting to pull from all the new typography available. And why not? Typography can become synonymous with a brand or experience. There’s just one dilemma: It can also get a bit messy.
When playing with the typography options at your fingertips, always resist the desire to be too revolutionary. Plenty of otherwise-good web designs are ruined by illegible fonts or too many differing typefaces on one page. In general, it’s best to stick with one readable, unique type, and then supplement it with a tried-and-true font.
Use cleverness, but in a cautionary way, to manufacture web design “eye candy.”
Keep up With Web Design Best Practices
Finally, it’s important to know that web design best practices can evolve. To remain educated on the topic, get on an email newsletter for a trusted web design and development source. That way, you’ll always get accurate information to keep you at the top of your field.