When we land on a web page, we make a lot of assumptions about a company or brand based on whether we like how that site looks and is put together – and we usually aren’t even aware of the factors that fuel our response! These tips will get you started, and you will have a lovely, simple website that will not embarrass you.
1. Use the right font, size, and color for your website
- Use Verdana, Arial, Tahoma or Georgia, as these have a consistent appearance across most web browsers. This article uses Tahoma.
- Make sure your font size is not too small to read, or so large that your website looks amateurish. Use a 10 or 12 sized font.
- Use black or dark grey text on a white background for maximum contrast.
2. Make website navigation easy
- Leave lots of white space and use links to make navigation easy.
- Keep your site tidy and uncluttered. Do not fill every inch of white space with advertisements.
- Keep the navigation menu simple. Resist the temptation to use complex flash or drop down menus.
3. Keep the website template simple
- It was once common to have different colors, fonts and designs throughout different parts of the site. This makes navigation difficult, and makes your site look outdated.
- Keep the same design, look and feel throughout your website.
4. Load Quickly!
- Studies have shown that if your page takes more than 2 seconds to load, then you’re rapidly going to lose visitors. With the availability of public high speed internet connections, people are less tolerant of slow loading pages than ever before.
- Test your pages on a dial up network. Seriously. There really are people who still use dial up or DSL, and how quickly your site loads at these low speeds is a great indicator of whether it is fast enough to hold visitors’ attention
5. Make your website “sticky”
- Related to “load time” is the need to accommodate today’s short attention spans. If visitors cannot see a benefit to staying on your site for more than a few seconds…they won’t!
- Put all your most important content, navigation links, and most attractive image at the top where they can be easily seen. Keep external links to a minimum, or open them on a new page so that when visitors close the external site, they will still be on your page. Once a visitor leaves your page, they may be enticed by something more compelling and forget your site ever existed.
- Use apps, widgets, or videos and other interactivity to keep the site interesting, but only enough to enhance content, not distract from it. For example, if you have a Facebook page or Twitter account, you can use widgets that will enable visitors to sample your content from those sources. But avoid animation and excessive flashiness.
- Provide an opt in box so visitors will get on your list, but don’t make them opt in before they can even see your site. Unless you have something to give them that is so amazing that they will be glad to put their address in to have access to it, this will just annoy them and they will almost always enter a junk email address. Give away something of value that someone will want badly enough to give you their real email address so you can contact them again.