Website design can be a hot topic for debate considering the many factors that go into making a good site. You want to make your website show up in the search engines, preferably on page one; and at the same time, you want your site to be aimed at your visitors so that they stay on it for as long as possible.
Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when you design your website so that it is appealing and keeps visitors wanting more.
If you visit some of the best websites on the Internet, you’ll see one common thread running through each site, and that is they are kept simple. A cluttered site will confuse your visitors and they will leave, looking for something better.
Make sure it is pleasing to the eye by having a simple design. A simple design does not mean that it cannot be very beautifully done; it just means that it is not too busy and distracting. Take a look at other websites in your niche that are doing well. You will see that their design is simple yet appealing at the same time.
You also need to make sure that it is free of any errors because it would either consciously or subconsciously turn off your visitors. A website that is full of errors will be a complete distraction because the viewer will have his attention fixed on these errors whether he knows it or not.
No matter how tempting it may be, do not have music playing on your site when it is first loaded. Most of the people that visit your site will move onto the next one as fast as they can as soon as they hear music blasting out of their speakers or into their headphones.
Similarly, a website that opens with somebody talking can be quite a turnoff to many people. You should instead consider having the control that can be used to turn on music if they want, or a video they can control for instructional material.
Pop-ups can irritate a lot of people, and many visitors will just press x on the screen as soon as it opens. Although pop-ups are common these days, a site designed for the average consumer should not have a pop-up on the main page.
You are risking your reputation by putting pop-ups on a page, and may even be considered a spammer by some. If you are trying to build up a positive reputation in your niche, drop the pop-ups.
If you are building a subscriber list, you could either put an inline subscription form on your site or use an exit pop-up so visitors can only view the pop-up once they leave your site (not while browsing).
While many people use Internet Explorer, those that are using another search engine – such as Firefox – need to have the website open properly for them as well.
When you design your website you will need to test it on different browsers to make sure that it is compatible with some of the major ones. At the very least it should work on Firefox and Internet Explorer, but getting it to work on Safari and Opera should be a goal as well.
Generally speaking, flash websites take longer to open and are not as search engine friendly as regular sites. If the website takes too long to open, the visitor will just head over to the back button, click it and then move on over to the next site.
Flash websites were popular when they first made the scene, and they can be very fancy and flashy, but they can be distracting and irritating at times.
If your focus is to impress visitors, then perhaps a flash website would be appropriate. But if your focus is to make money and build relationships (which is the aim of most website owners), then posting beneficial content and including some attractive graphics would do. Resist the temptation of using a flash site and remember to keep it simple.
Good navigation is the most important feature you can have on your site. You need to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to make their way through your site.
You can set up links with an easy-to-follow path on your site for the visitor, and at the same time set up some SEO friendly linking. Keep the navigation as easy to follow as possible. If your visitors get confused about where to go next, they won’t go anywhere next and you would lose them.
You have to maintain a careful balance between making your website appealing to both the search engines and your visitors. If you try too hard to make it search engine friendly, you may end up with a site that does not work for the general public.
Search engines generally love and appreciate any site that keeps the visitors in mind and is written for people, not machines. Proper SEO does not involve keyword stuffing or any other type of writing that is not written for the audience.
A good thing to do when you set up your site is to have it looked at by someone that understands website design. If you don’t know anybody personally, you can go to an Internet marketing forum and ask there. You can also offer to pay a small fee to someone that understands web design for a quick assessment. If you are designing websites for off-line customers you will have a lot of requests for fancy sites based on your client’s limited knowledge of how a site should be put together.
You will need to talk to your customers and let them know in basic terms why they should avoid some things. You will need to present this carefully so that they fully understand what you are saying without feeling offended. Keep these website design tips in mind when you are putting your site in order. Although they may seem simple, overlooking just one aspect of one of these tips can lose you a lot of visitors or customers in the end.
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