Websites nowadays can look any way you want them to and do anything you want them to do – which is great! However it is very easy to get carried away with website design and this can be the difference between having a professional, high converting website which works for your business, and a website that YOU love but one which is not appealing to your target market – meaning they simply click on and straight back off your site!
As a web design specialist, I have worked with many clients that have a vivid idea of exactly how they want their website to look and during our concept meeting I have had to reign them back in when it comes to design ideas. Yes, you want your website to look good, but you need it to convert for you too.
Here are my web design tips to help you start planning the design of your new website:
1. What Colours Should You Be Using?
Keep in mind that certain colours just do not work on a website! Light colours on a white background or dark text on a black background can’t be read clearly. There is nothing more frustrating for a user than to simply not be able to read your text. Keep in mind what it is your company offers and pick your colours carefully to match the look, feel and branding of your company.
2. Avoid Popup Windows
If someone visits your website it is normally because you qualified for the search terms they entered into the search engine. So why do so many companies make the mistake of having a big, flashing pop up boxes appear as soon as the user clicks on to the site?
Personally I can’t abide by them and many website users are not keen on them either. Used in the correct way, pop up boxes are great to promote an item on sale or a special offer , but the user should be able to close the pop up box down easily and continue using your site as they had intended. But I beg of you, please don’t put them on your homepage the minute a visitor enters your site – this is very, very annoying and the user hasn’t even discovered what your site is about or if this is even what they are looking for!
3. Avoid The Famous Webpage Counter
This is mainly a mistake that people who decide to have a crack at making their own websites make, however I did have a request from a client recently to add one to the site and when I asked what relevance it had to there product or service they simply said “ because it will look good”. Well, not in my opinion!
If you have social network sites with a decent following then it’s great to show these on your website, but to bother displaying the amount of visitors who have physically clicked onto your site what’s the point?
Unless you’re guaranteed to get hundreds of thousands of new visitors every week, all you’ll end up doing is clock watching on your own site and panicking about trying to drive those numbers up – as low numbers will just end up making your site look unpopular. It’s just not worth the risk.
4. Is Your Site User–Friendly?
A very common mistake with first-time website owners is making your site too difficult for the user to navigate through. You need to keep in the back of your mind that your user may not know anything about the products and services you offer, so having a link to one of your products or services hidden 3 inner pages deep within your site is just going to be completely confusing – and will more than likely make it easier for your potential client to go and buy straight from your competition. Keep your navigation simple and effective and make sure you always include an obvious link back to your homepage.
5. Don’t Overcrowd The Screen
Think of it this way, in your own home you wouldn’t want people to see you living among a large amount of clutter would you? Well, the same applies to your website. Space is precious on your website, so you need to use it effectively to keep your site looking clean, tidy and professional.
I have seen many sites that use little animation GIF’s which are great fun if on a video game, but using them on your website is simply going to draw the user away from your content. It is great using videos and pictures on your website but avoid overusing them too.