If you are building a website, early on in the process you need to settle on a general direction for the design. This will partially depend on your goals for the site, but it is also important to consider the user experience and how you plan to monetize the site. SEO also plays a role. Whether you are doing it yourself or using a site builder like Joomla or WordPress, you have control over the site’s design. In this article, we will discuss a few basic styles and some important concepts to keep in mind if you want to design a website.
If you plan to use your site as an online store, then you need to use the ecommerce style. The best way to do this is to use a site builder, and there are many. The reason you should use a builder is because of the sensitivity of the financial information and transaction data that will flow through the site. You don’t want to design and implement payment processing on your own without some experience. The good news is that these site builders tend to be good, although they produce somewhat homogeneous results. Do your best to make it your own by incorporating distinctive colors and graphics. Create a brand for your shop and make sure it features prominently. Although it might seem like extra work, be sure to make full use of all the social media tools. Social media is important for marketing and communication. It is a powerful outreach tool as well as a way to inform loyal customers of deals, sales, and new products. The ecommerce style is minimalist, but that is good, because this is a site with crucial functionality.
Blogs are near-ideal ways to deploy content. They are easy to navigate, have many appealing features and social media connections, are SEO-friendly, and are flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of different kinds of sites. There is a lot you can do with a blog to make it your own. Blogs have very good content panes that dedicate much of the screen to your content. At the same time, however, they leave potential room for whitespace and images. The navigation bar comes in a few different forms, but it tends to be simple and easy to use if you set it up properly. Consider a distinctive header image to function as the blog equivalent of a landing page. You should also use one or two colors that set your blog apart. Again, much of it comes down to your goals for the site. That determines what you will choose to emphasize and how you should present your content. If you are planning to publish in a specific niche, look up your main competition and the leaders in that field. See what they do in terms of design, note which elements are effective and which are not, and then learn from that to optimize your own design.
The Value of Clarity
One of the most important guiding principles of your design should be clarity. Whether it is a store, a blog, or some other format, it needs to be easy for users to find the information they need. Conduct tests by choosing a page or a piece of information on your site. Then ask someone you know to try to get to that page or that information. Make note of how long it takes and how many clicks they need to make. The more time it takes, the more likely you are that visitors will give up and leave, and needing to make clicks also functions as a barrier. Your nav bar should be in the same place on every page of the site and should have a consistent appearance and function. Do not give in to the temptation to make it context-sensitive, because that is confusing. Use one, or at the most two fonts. Make it easy to find every page. Arrange pages so that users need to do a minimal amount of scrolling or clicking to get the most critical content. The main idea is to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and make that experience as smooth as possible.
Remember Mobile Users
When you set out to design a website a few years ago, all you needed to think about was the desktop and laptop users. Now, mobile users consist of more than half the global population of Internet users. In addition, Google has implemented their mobile responsiveness standard, which strongly rewards websites that display well on mobile devices. In short, it is critical to have a plan for mobile users. Fonts should not become blurry on small screens. Images should automatically resize. Columns should also resize without distorting the text. The links and buttons need to be spaced apart so that a user can tap them with a button or a stylus. There are many little touches that make a site easy to use on a mobile device. If you have them, then you will gain access to a huge potential audience. That is why designing with mobile users in mind is now one of the most important design goals. They are so numerous that you cannot afford to ignore them.
Site design depends on the site’s function, but there are some overarching principles that point you in the right direction. Your site needs to be clear and easy to use for any user. Run tests to ensure the design is as good as it can be. Constantly experiment with new changes to see if you can improve bounce or conversion rates. Do not think of design as something you do once and then ignore. It is a constant action to make sure your site is accessible, clean, and useful. That is the best way to showcase your brand and your content.