Website Design Best Practices – Part 1

Web design has improved over the years. There is no getting away from the fact that the early sites bordered on primitive and possibly a little crude in their operation. That said, even some of the websites that are being built today aren’t that great. Given the sheer volume of people searching online and the competitiveness of pretty much each and every business area you would think that all websites would be fantastic. Sadly, that isn’t the case. To build a great website you really need to follow some of the website design best practices. In this blog we will take a look at some of them and explain why they really do matter!

Who is Your Customer?

First thing’s first, before you get building a new website you should stop to understand who your target customer or visitor is. Sounds simple? Unfortunately, a great many website owners haven’t thought about this and design sites that potentially conflict with the target customers. An example here is that if you were a solicitor you would want to make sure your site gave an air of professionalism and purpose. Whereas if you were a t-shirt supplier you would almost certainly want your website to be more graphically persuasive. The take-away here is spend some time thinking about the users of your site and the way that they want to absorb information.

Important Content Above the Fold

Without wishing to get overly technical, it is important to make sure your key messages right at the top area of the screen. Google refers to this content area as “above the fold”. Put simply this is the area that a website visitor sees before they have to start scrolling down the page. It should make sense that more important messages are closer to the top of your website, right?

Mobile Friendly

Another really important area is to make sure that your website functions properly on different screen sizes. Just because you designed it on a 20” screen doesn’t mean that your visitors will be using the same size to view it. In fact, quite the opposite is likely. Google and the other search engines now suggest that over 50% of visitors use some form of mobile device when accessing web sites, these include:

  • Mobiles
  • Tablets

If your website isn’t optimised to suit these smaller devices you will almost certainly be losing customers to sites that do offer an improved user-experience.

Tell Visitor What to Do

The final section in this brief overview of good website design is to keep things really simple. Some designers even say that they go so far as to tell the visitor “what to do”. Remember, most website visitors are busy and don’t stay on pages for too long. So, it works much better if you provide them with the information they need and then tell them how to go forward with it. For example, if you were a real estate agent you might want to have several call-to-actions (CTA’s) on your page for someone to either make an enquiry, or make a booking of a certain property.

Look out for part 2 when we examine the power of social media and blogs in good website design practices.

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