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Tips for Creating a Seriously Good Looking Website Design

July 26 2013

If you are thinking about designing a website or redesigning your current website, there are certain do’s and dont’s that you should be aware of. Web design can be a complex process for any business owner. Some web designers may want you to have a flashy, bling style website, whilst other may look for the understated, corporate looking website. There are so many choices it’s just so hard to decide. However, following are some golden web design and interface ( UX) rules you can follow to ensure that you have a seriously good looking website. All these web rules will culminate into an effective and powerful sales driven website that not only looks creative but will work for your business.

Try to keep your page structured

Having a simple page structure allows the user to navigate the site without getting side tracked by complicated navigation buttons or lost amongst other site wide distractions. Website designers can have the tendency to design to showcase their skills rather than for your customer, so make sure that they know that you want to have a very structured website.

Keep website boxes to a minimum.

We have all witnessed these types of websites before. Hundreds ( well maybe more than 10) of boxes each with flashing images, all going crazy. A total distraction for you and for your clients. If your web designer recommends these boxes that are all over the home page, then perhaps you are with the wrong type of web agency.

Be focus driven.

If you are designing a website for a specific purpose or product then the focus should be in that area. Especially on the home page. Internal pages should also be designed to have strong CALL TO ACTION BUTTONS that direct the user to the inquiry or buy area. Web pages, blogs and articles highlighting a specific topic should never deviate from that subject. Web users need to engage with your page and if anything is unclear or ambiguous, this may result in a lost sale. Having a professional copywriter look at your content and an experienced web developer working on your interface is a great way to keep the website on track and focused on your market.

Are you thinking about placing ads on your site?

Nothing kills the integrity of a website more than adverts placed on it. Especially on the header and the side bars, unless they are done in such a way as to minimise distraction. You may be thinking that it’s a good idea to have adwords or other companies displaying adverts on your site, but if this is an absolute must have then make sure they are static ( not flashy), and nicely designed.

Choose the right colour style.

Pay close attention to this point. Know your audience and use colours that will appeal to them. A law firm will want conservative blues and a yoga studio may want earthy colours, whilst a surfing company may use racey reds or greens. Having the right colour palette throughout your website will work better for you than colours chosen randomly without any graphic design input. Also keep colours to a minimum. Using the whole rainbow is going to dilute your brand, confuse your clients, and turn people off.

Make your website easy to read.

People scan from the top left and corner down to the bottom right hand side. Make sure all important and relevant information is place at the top part of the page. This includes; phone numbers, logos and the H1 headers ( important for search engine optimisation). The bottom part of the page can have content that relates to testimonials, past work history, videos and services you offer. If people scan the site from the top to the bottom, the way that this information is presented to them will be the difference between getting those calls and not. If a person has to stare at our site for 10 minutes trying to work out what you do, then something is definitely wrong.

Write short informative paragraphs

Long winded extensive paragraphs are not conducive for a good read. Make paragraphs short and succinct with key headings. This is especially the case if you are writing blogs or articles. Each heading should relate to the main topic and have no more than 10 sentences.

Make things simple

People hate having to fill out forms, sign up or leave information. If this is a must limit it to 3 fields at the most. Name, email address and phone number is all you need. Pretend a 8 year older is using the site. That’s how easy you need to make things for people. Even if your site has an ecommerce function, make the buying process a 3 step phase. Using the KISS ( keep it simple and stupid) principle is the only way to go when it comes to the web world.

Boring blogs = zero followers

People are just getting to know, especially in the business community, what a powerful marketing tool blogs are. However, they don’t understand how to write engaging blog pieces. In some cases they outsource their content to students or cheap third world countries. These types of blogs, with no thought or planning are going to kill off your readership. Boring ramblings of some uni student will not work. Make sure all your content, including your web page content has been fully thought through. If you must get someone else to write it then for gods sake use a copywriter with past experience. These guys will get to know your business and be able to write suitable copy that will over time, get a loyal following.

A copy writer will also be able to draft words for your website that sell. For example choosing the right content for inquire now buttons, page titles, navigation icons can be the difference between 30% sign up rate and a 80% rate. Investing money in a copy team is one of the best moves you can make to have a successful website.

Use social media.

Social Media now plays a massive role in the business world and having these displayed on your website for people to like, retweet or join, will be a huge bonus for user engagement. Get a Facebook page and post articles, sales or promotions, join Instagram and post cool pictures of your products or business. Social media is there to help you reach out to a new audience and should be placed prominently on your home page.

Keyword stuffing is a no no.

If you are writing for the search engines, and think that repeating your main service will help in your rankings, then forget about it. Google knows about this and keyword stuffing will not only have zero impact on your rankings, but will just annoy people coming to your site. I always tell clients to write as though they are speaking to a friend. Being natural in your content and the way it is delivered will work better for you in online conversions and rankings.

Site speed should be super fast

This one is a no brainer. Large images with massive download times or over complicated animated introduction are bad for business. Users landing on your website want it to load within 2 seconds. They can wait at a bank a supermarket or an airport, but never your website. Ask your developer to test this out and keep al the megabytes down to a minimum. Test each page for downloads speeds and do what you can to make them as fast as possible.

Keep fonts and text sizes uniform

Random font sizes and various texts will make the site look disjointed, not to mention ugly. Consistency and uniformity with all type is a must and should never be compromised.

Optimise your website for mobile phones

Ask your designer to make sure that your site can be fully viewed on all hand helds and tablets. It's called responsive web design and it is a MUST HAVE component of the web experience. Simple to implement and not overly expensive.

Do you know the difference between a designer and a developer?

A web designer usually has a good understanding of the graphics process whilst a web developer spends their day coding. When presented with a design issue the developer will freeze up and pass the buck. Hence, most businesses should start out using a web designer and not a developer if they are expecting a creative looking website. Check their online portfolio to spot the difference. For the untrained this can be hard, but a good tip here is to see the variety of work styles that a designer will have. Case in point; the hopping mad designs portfolio of work. See how all our sites look different. This is the tell tale sign that we are designers.