The Internet is getting bigger by the second with more and more web pages and complete sites being added to the giant catalogue and that means that there are even more site and page designs being worked on, edited and published meaning that we all have plenty of inspiration for our own layouts.
As site owners it’s down to us to ensure that our site is as aesthetically pleasing as possible, while also maintaining the high standards of content that we produce. It’s a bit like giving a presentation – we dress for the occasion and try to speak clearly and fluently, and our websites should be the same. If people can’t find what they’re looking for or if their eyes are offended by the horrific colour schemes or overly-fancy fonts that make it impossible to read the content, they’re not going to buy from us or come back to the site for information in the future.
In fact, web design has become such an important part of the Internet that all kinds of companies are hiring experienced and full-time web designers to either work in-house or as an external agency looking at the design and functionality of the site. Some work from scratch on a brand new site while others will come in and modify what is already there, it all depends on the aims of the company along with their budget and what they want from the site. Web design company Visor Media from the UK list web design among their services, and even incorporate email signatures, newsletters and banner images meaning that sites can have a consistent look and feel throughout, something you often don’t get when sites have been designed by ‘amateurs’ who get the odd colour or font wrong here or there which can spoil the experience on the site.
If you think your site is in need of a bit of a design upgrade, here are five relatively quick and simple tips to help you bring it up to scratch and – hopefully – increase sales, clicks, likes, subscribers, traffic or whatever else you’re looking for from your site.
Keeping your branding consistent throughout the site is essential – not important – essential. If you’re going to put your name to something, whether it’s a product, document or website, you want it to look professional. As such, you need a professional logo that is on every page of the site – from the homepage to the disclaimers and contact forms. It can also be beneficial to include an internal link on that logo that quickly and easily takes visitors back to the homepage.
Ensure that your labels and categories are positioned in the right places where people can find them quickly and easily. Common practice is to locate the main categories for pages at the top of the screen, with drop-down menus inside them or appearing below. Should any further pages be needed, such as ‘new articles’ pages, locate this menu on one side where it doesn’t interfere with the content on the page, or even locate them in the footer.
If you are including social media buttons, such as links to your Facebook or Twitter page or making it so users can post something from your site onto their social profiles, make sure that these are located in the navigation bars too rather than appearing randomly across the site.
Ensure that there is an optimum amount of space between text, images and videos to avoid the site looking cluttered. You don’t want to go leaving so much space that the site looks empty, but at the same time it needs to look tidy and easy to read without one article blending into another or a video interfering with text.
It’s very easy to get confused between what is eye catching and what is messy. When you first build a website you want it to look great and exciting and your first thought is often around colour. It’s important, especially if you’re working on a company site, that you brand your website in your company colours to maintain your theme – but at the same time you don’t want too much, especially if your colour scheme is a bright colour. Quite often, it’s the subtle touches that appear the most elegant and a neutral scheme can be particularly effective in portraying a professional website.
Finally, if you don’t have the skills or confidence and you have the budget available, enrol the help of a professional web designer or agency. You don’t necessarily have to hire someone to do it full-time for your site, but a professional will be able to work on all of the technical, ‘fiddly’ parts that you may have no idea about. They’re often trained and experienced in this industry and you can liaise with them throughout the design process until you’re completely happy with your new-look site. Of course, quality costs money and it will all be dependent on your budget but in the case of a business it’s a particularly valid investment in the modern era when a website is arguably your most valuable and important asset.