A look of a website can make or break your business. First impressions always count. Here are some tips to create a better an attractive functional site.
Color – A black background is not recommended. It is hard on the eyes. I do not know how many people have problems reading white or colored text on a black background and with that said; do not go neon pink or glaring orange either. Generally black text on white background is best. Ideally you can choose two colors, but make sure they match and use it consistently on all your pages to maintain fluidity and continuity.
For example: Reds and oranges which stimulate appetite works well on a food site while warm pastel colors match a baby site.
Layout – Do not cram everything into one page. Cluttered sites overwhelm the visitors. Keep it cut clean, crisp, to the point and concise. I had a CMS style website before and although it looked organized because there were three columns, there were also a lot of text. Navigation was not as plain as day and it overloaded the senses. Take these three words to heart, less is more.
Navigation – The more user-friendly the better and your visitors are bound to stay longer. You do not want your visitors to be jumping through hoops to find what they are looking for. Make shopping carts or payment buttons visible and easily accessible. Everything should be just a click away. Make sure all your links are working. Finding broken links becomes frustrating and annoying.
Proper spelling and grammar – There is nothing good about visiting a website to find loads of misspelled words and poor grammar. It is unprofessional and you can bet your visitors will leave.
Speed – When it comes to website loading, no one likes to be kept waiting. They will definitely leave a site if it will not load properly. People’s time is precious; do not make them wait.
Graphics – Be careful of using big flashy graphics or banners. Too many animated and too many big banners take away a site’s credibility. It also slows down the loading time of your site considerably. Not everyone uses high speed Internet. Remember people do not wait around for slow loading sites.
Audio – If you like it and want it, change the default setting to give the visitor control if they want to hear audio or not. Make sure it is visibly accessible to the visitor. The last time I landed on a site, I could not find the button to disable the audio so I immediately X‘ed out. People now have pop-up blockers, it may not be so much of a nuisance, but a pop-up of anything is intrusive, unwanted and annoying. Adding a form to your page in a highly visible spot is much more effective and non-intrusive.
Content – Informative, resourceful content will keep a visitor coming back. No one wants to visit a site that has not been updated in a long time. You can add a small graphic or a simple text in red with the word "NEW" or a "What’s New?" page to inform your visitors you have made updates.
AdSense ads – Too many AdSense ads on any page looks scummy and it downgrades the quality of your site. If you can handle honest opinions, have someone critique your website. It really all comes down to personal preference and you will never be able to please everyone and that’s okay.
The goal is building a functioning, well laid out site that is successful and prosperous to you and well liked for many years to come.