Great website design doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, simplicity can make a small business website much more effective as a sales tool than a site filled with crazy fonts, music, and flashing images. A clean and straightforward website makes you look professional and trustworthy.
Here are a few “best practices” for design to keep in mind as you review or make your own website:
Pages that vary a lot in design can be confusing for customers, even sometimes making them think they’ve jumped to a new website. Examples of things to keep consistent: fonts, colors, image sizes, buttons.
Make it Easy to Scan
Attention span is short online and if your customer can’t find what they’re looking for quickly they’re likely to leave your site. Use “easy-to-read” fonts and make important information more obvious with images, bigger text, or colors. Align text to the left and use bold headlines to describe what paragraphs are about.
Whitespace, or empty space, makes your website easier on the eyes and helps your visitor sift through your content more easily. Break up large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs with whitespace in between. Also leave a bit of space around your images.
Consider Your Customer’s Setup
Remember that your visitor may view your site with a monitor that’s much smaller or bigger than yours, which can affect how your pages are displayed to them. By setting the page width to a common size, like 760 pixels, you make sure that your content doesn’t get stretched and hard to read.
The BIG GOAL is to Educate
Your customers come to your site to learn about you and your products, so remember that when you’re tempted to get carried away with your designs. Reserve your creative flare for less information-centric parts of your website, like the header or sides.
Following these web standards doesn’t mean that your website will be boring or just like all others out there. There is a lot of room for creativity, it just needs to be in the right places. Remember that your message is what’s important and if your visitor is distracted by glitz and glitter, they might not ever really connect with what you’re trying to say.