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The truth of the matter is that web design is a very broad topic. What makes for a great designed website?
Should your website be cutting edge, innovative, with the latest graphics? Or should you focus on the basics and stick to a more text based, easy to read website?
Most web visitors decide what the think of the business, the trustworthiness of the business, based on the look and feel of the website.
So the main takeaway here is that design is important.
An interesting point about the visitors, or consumer to your site, is that they can not tell you what a good website is or what it feels like. But your customer can tell you what a bad website experience is like because it leaves them frustrated and confused. We have all been to sites that made us feel like this or worse, made us feel agitated or angry.
In this article we are going to give you some good pointers about internet standards, where to put your contact info, and how to use social media icons, as well as basic principles that can often be overlooked.
1. The Importance of Branding
Just like in the real world branding matters. It gives folks an unconscious image of your business in their mind. You need to be consistent with your branding. And this consistency need to be across the internet, not just on your website. Actually your branding needs to be consistent across all forms of media.
The guys that run Web Design Pearl White Media told us that this basically means that you need to use the same logo across the website and social media, the same slogans, and even the same imagery. What do we mean by imagery?
Basically, if you are a doctor and there is a picture of you wearing a doctor white coat and a stethoscope on the homepage of your website, then you also need to have “doctors clothes” on in the rest of the images on your site, as well as these similar images on social media.
Also, now this is a bit harder, you want to use the same typography if you can. The same font, saying your same slogans, with the same imagery, helps to get your story planted in your customers mind. It builds trust as well.
2. Mobile Friendly Is A Must!
We doubt this will come as a surprise to you, you are probably reading this article on a mobile device right now, but it is absolutely critical that your website is mobile friendly. It has to not only look good on a mobile device, it has to be easy to use. This is often easier said than done due to the limitations of the small screen size on mobile devices like phones and iPads.
If you site is not mobile friendly, any visits you get will immediately leave your site. This is known as “bouncing”. And search engines keep track of your bounce rate. You do not want a high bounce rate.
You have to be mobile friendly, it is not optional. You can go to Google’s website here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly and test your site to see if you pass the mobile friendly test.
The good thing is that most websites are responsive. This means that the website will slightly alter it’s composition to fit the size of the screen it is being displayed on. This is a great option that works, but you still need to test your site to make sure.
Here’s a good article if you want to learn more about this.
3. Intuitive Navigation
Intuitive is another way of saying simple, and easy to use. You want your visitors to be able to quickly find the information they are looking for.
How can you do this? Start with making the most important pages on your site, the easiest to find, or navigate to from the homepage.
Place the navigation bar to your site at the top of the page. This is the most popular way to do it. A horizontal top level navigation bar is basic, standard even, and everyone is familiar with this layout.
Give your most important pages links on the main navigation. An example of this would be a “Services” page.
Make sure that your contact info is in the top right corner of your homepage. English readers read left to right, they expect for important contact information to be on the top right, so make sure that you do this.
Search bars can be helpful if you have a larger website. You don’t really need one if you are a small local business like a roofer or a chiropractor, unless you have a blog that has a lot of resourceful information in the posts.
Breadcrumb navigators can also be useful. This one is up to you. You might want to test how breadcrumbs to see if you like them, and to see if your visitors use them. Breadcrumbs are a simple way of showing you where you are in the website, or how many clicks you are from the homepage.
Breadcrumbs are not a “must have”, they are a “up to you” decision.
These are some of the basics of design. You probably didn’t learn anything earth shattering. But the thing is, so many people and business skip the basics. They don’t worry about the basics because they are too basic! Lol.
Then they wonder why they have a high bounce rate and it’s because their website is too fancy and no one can understand it.
Start with a simple site, follow the basics, then you can add on more complicated features as you see fit.