In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you do not stop once your website starts generating traffic. In fact, establishing your online presence is just the start of the journey. Your next task is to make sure that the traffic on your website stays.
One way of doing this is by reducing the bounce rate on your site. This means that you’ll have to work on something that will make your visitors stay and navigate through the pages of your website, not just enter the site and then leave. So what should you do? Improve your website. Make sure that visitors will like what they see – because first impressions almost always matter.
Here are five tips to help you come up with an exceptional website design, one that will make your visitors want to visit your site everyday.
Tips for an Exceptional Website Design
1. Spice up your site’s overall look.
It is important for your visitors to like what they see the first time they enter your site. Thus, you should pay careful attention to the
- typography and
- layout style.
The number one rule in choosing colors is to avoid using or mixing too many different shades. Don’t try to create a rainbow out of your website. Visitors will find the jumble of colors too messy for their eyes. Use just two to four colors. And make sure they don’t contrast each other. Go with conservative colors.
Content is an important element in creating attractive websites, but if you do not use the proper fonts, font sizes and colors, every entry on your site will be put to waste. The rule is to make your website as legible as possible. Don’t choose black text for a dark background. In addition, to make your visitors’ reading experience convenient, use section headers and bullet lists. Avoid long paragraphs as they tend to bore a lot of people. Make your paragraphs short and precise. As most content specialists would say “KISS!” – Keep it short and simple!
Font should be easy to read, so avoid using those that appear illegible or too complex. If possible, use only one or two font styles so that your text will flow easily and everything will be easy to read.
Proper organization is the secret to a good layout. Don’t put too much in one space or page as this can create confusion for some visitors. To avoid clutter, follow the grid format in arranging the elements of your page. This will not only make your site easy on the eyes, it will also make navigation a breeze.
Use just one layout for the whole website. Also, allow your pages to breathe. So don’t be afraid of white spaces.
Along with colors, typography and a good layout, the kind of animation/graphics and media that you use will also matter. Do not use animation just because you think it looks cool; or because it’s what everyone else is doing. Think of your content and the message that you want to convey. Does it require you to use Flash animation? Or video? Or background music? Use only what’s necessary. Remember, less is more. Too much is distracting.
Putting large media sizes can also drive away visitors because they take time to load. The same thing goes for background music.
2. Choose and use proper images.
Make sure that the photos you use are those of real people doing real things. In other words, as much as possible, stay away from stock photos! Your pictures have to tell a story or carry a message. That is why you need to choose them well.
Moreover, take note of some things before posting photos on your website:
- The image size should not be too big. Large images tend to load slowly and your visitors might not be willing to wait for the photo/s to come out.
- Use only animated GIFs if they are relevant to your website and the information you are sharing. Some people find GIFs distracting, especially when they are trying to read something on your page.
- Make sure that you use only high quality images, not the blurred or out-of-focus ones.
- If you plan to post links to images, make sure that they work. Visitors will be disappointed if they find out that the link you provided is broken.
- Use the “alt” tag in case your image fails to load.
3. Have a convenient navigation system.
Visitors want a website that they can easily navigate when looking for information. Make the user experience truly worthwhile by using a simple navigation system that does not require too many clicks or too many pages to open.
Be sure to put a search box on the top portion of your site as this will help visitors easily find the information they need using keywords. Your site’s footer should also include navigation. And to help your visitors keep track, use breadcrumb trail on each page.
4. Improve your content. It should deliver your message.
Yes, you’ve heard it said time and time again: “Content is king!” If your website looks good but the content does not tell visitors anything new or important, your site won’t work. Good content is equivalent to relevance, proper grammar and organization, the correct choice of words, and clear and concise structure. You wouldn’t want to visit a site that uses broken English and garbage talk to explain things, would you?
Why is content important? Simple. Because content is the information that the visitors need. Imagine yourself navigating through a website for dog lovers and then finding only information about weight loss pills in the pages. How would you feel? Terrible, right? You wouldn’t want that to happen to your visitors.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that you only post content that’s relevant to your site, Furthermore, it has to be content with proper spelling and grammar. Check and double check your content before posting it on your site. There are a lot of online grammar and spelling checkers. Use them to your advantage.
Most of all, do not copy content or use content that’s owned by somebody else. There are copyright laws that protect the owners. If you want to use part of an article or review, cite the source. The same thing should be done to photos.
5. Stay consistent!
Consistency is the name of the game. Be consistent in the design of every page of your website. This means you should maintain regularity with regard to the colors, font styles & sizes, layout, organization, navigation and placement. It’s better to use just one color, layout and font structure for all pages. This will help leave an image and permanent impression on your visitors.
When designing a website, remember that you are not the star of the show. The visitors, your intended audience, are. Therefore, you should create your website with them in mind: their needs, their preferences, what’s convenient for them and what will satisfy them. Only when you understand this will you be able to come up with an exceptional website design.
Photo courtesy of erokCom.