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General Web Design

The Dos and Don’ts of Designing a New Website

It can be hard to tell if your company website is a success. There are two important metrics to measure: one, the amount of web traffic the site receives and two, if those visitors are spending time making purchases and inquiries.

If they’re simply stopping by for a single visit, this could indicate that they're visiting competitors’ sites for their needs.

No website is perfect. A 100% conversion ratio is obviously a fantasy. Still, wanting to improve is natural and healthy; even if you're satisfied with your website's success, you can still find something that needs work.

Getting the attention of your consistent users is an entirely different task than attracting new users. Additionally, visitors to your site don't typically read content in the same way as they might read a newspaper, magazine, or book. These are all aspects to consider when designing your site.

The modern web surfer wants thorough information as quickly as possible. Your site has only a few seconds to catch a user’s attention and sell them on your service or product. If users don’t find your site attractive or easy to use, they’ll move on—most likely to a site with better UX and UI.

Keep your website’s design simple and clean. Make sure the copy is concise. These two things can greatly improve the functionality of your website and help your business.

What to Do and What Not to Do in Web Design

Your web design can be one of the most important aspects of your business. Users make judgments on sites very quickly, so effective design should be a major part of your business plan.

There are some key aspects of good website design. Normally, these elements aren’t something the average person considers when looking at a site, but as a designer, you have to be aware of what can make or break your page.

Some of your basic dos and don’ts:

Choose an effective color scheme, but make sure you don’t go overboard.

When choosing the color scheme for your website, think first about the site’s purpose. You want a color scheme that matches this purpose and doesn't jar users.

Neon colors are very unexpected on a medical website, for instance, and most child-oriented websites are not done up in neutral tones.

Colors need to blend well and complement each other. Colors should be selected depending on your reader’s emotions, as well your site's nature and purpose.

Keep the page structured, arranging content in a disciplined manner. Your site should remain focused on the information that actually matters to your users.

Organize all the content with user-friendliness at the forefront. Too much content can make the site look cluttered, untrustworthy, and unprofessional. Everything on your site should be relevant.

Make sure every piece of content is effective and provides a great first impression. This may be your only chance to impress new users.

Pick an effective font that blends with the site design; keep your fonts and sizing consistent across every page.

You need to be consistent; this keeps users confident in your site as they navigate the pages. Your typography makes a serious impact on viewers' trust as well.

User experience is heavily impacted by the style, size, and color of your font (on a nearly subconscious level).

Establish direction on the site to make sure users can easily find what they're looking for.

Easy navigation is vital. Provide clear direction on every page. Use noticeable calls to action to help users find things and move easily from page to page.

Customers want to get in and out of a website quickly. Getting stuck on a website can be very frustrating and will drive users away. This will also create a negative impression of your brand.

Create a website that makes a visual impact, but do so in moderation.

The snap-judgment people make when viewing a website depends a lot on icons, textures, and other visual elements .

Use visuals and text to guide a user’s eye, not confuse them. Every visual should have a purpose, and visuals should be implemented economically. Too many visual elements are distracting and unprofessional. Remember, less is more.

Important aspects of your site design

Now that we have covered the basic dos and don’ts of website design, it’s time to take a look at a few other important aspects of site design.

Direct Flow and Focus

Users don't scan websites in a linear manner. They aren’t taking the time to read every line carefully or study every image.

You need to capture their attention quickly and then direct it to the most attractive or important part of the site.

When designing your site to flow like this, also remember your mobile users. People are starting to view more and more websites on mobile devices, and an optimal mobile site design will ensure your site's mobile success.

Keep It Simple, Clear, Distinct, and Visible

These four traits are the key to having an effective, well-made website. Keep them in mind to make a site that is user-friendly, pleasant, and navigable.

Successful startup websites understand this thought process. They know they need to make everything simple and clear, in order for visitors to convert.

Write Effective Content and Avoid an Information Hodgepodge

Keep in mind that all your copy and text should be centered on calls-to-action.

Always ask yourself where you're directing your visitors. No matter what you're selling, your site needs to have accurate and attractive descriptions.

Make sure you do not annoy your viewers. No one enjoys having pop-ups that don’t go away. Poor content will drive users away from your website.

Invest in High-Quality Content

Everything depends on the content.

Make it clear that you are offering something beneficial to visitors.

Design should complement and aid content, not overpower it. The style is less important than substance.

Make Your Page Visually Appealing

How your site looks is often your only chance for a first impression, so it better look good.

Use textures and gradients to give your site depth. Doing this will also attract viewers to the best parts of the design.

Make Sure the Navigation is Set up Properly

A website that is difficult to navigate will quickly drive users away.

In fact, visitors may not even consider your product if navigation is a challenge.

Use drop-down menus wisely; while designers might love them, users often don’t.

Avoid Over-Using Keywords

Optimize for SEO as much as possible, but avoid going too far. You still want your site and content to feel organic, rather than forced.

What's more, too many keywords can make the text difficult to read.

Overuse of keywords can also cause red flags for the bots responsible for crawling (and eventually ranking) your site.

Conclusion

Web design is vitally important to any business. Follow these basics, and you can’t go wrong when getting started.

Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He's reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

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