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What makes a good website design? This is not something to be overlooked. It is easy to get website design wrong. Let’s get it right first time
I have been marketing and developing websites for many years and one of the tasks involved in this process is to review a website and decide what areas are performing well.
By performing well, I mean being found in Google, error free (nice, clean, accessible code), safe from hackers/spammers and of course, engaging with your visitor who you wish to convert to a customer.
To help you on your way in deciding IF your site is up to scratch or indeed, help point you in the right direction for a new project, allow me to share with you my initial thoughts as I run through the process of deciding what makes a good website.
How to instantly improve your website design
One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked when a new client contacts me is
Daren, What makes a good website?
It is an age old question that requires deliberation and extensive thought as there is no quick fix and of course, no two websites are the same. BUT, there are many common factors that need to be considered when starting a website or indeed reviewing the performance of a current website.
I have spent more than 10 years in the web development game and this has taught me A LOT.
Allow me to share some of that experience with you. Here are just a few of the key areas that I always recommend be addressed IN ALL WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS.
This list is in no order of prominence as I deem them all as IMPORTANT.
- Clean and definable layout. 1 col, 2 col, 3 col options, using a colour scheme to define page areas
- Accessibility. A vital element that should always be considered. Alt tags to images, anchor text, access keys, text vs bg contrast. The W3C guidelines should always be observed where possible and validated to remove as many errors as practically possible.
- Site/business purpose. By landing on a page, you should know very quickly what it is they do/sell.
- Text size (ties into pt 2). Big enough to read and give the user an option to increase/decrease the size (use css to control)
- Contact points. Telephone, email, B&M should all be visible
- Extra costings should be clear. (If selling) Shipping, VAT etc. before we have to add to cart!
- Colour scheme. Must be appealing and easy to view. Would you read a page that have a yellow background with red text
- Navigation needs to be consistent throughout the site and easy to find/use
- Images need to be clear and optimised
- Fast loading pages. Try and get all pages up under 5 seconds
- Links must use the standard format. Underlined and act upon hover and if they open a new window…tell your visitors they do!
- NEVER UNDERLINE BODY TEXT (people will think it is a link)
- Avoid frames and iFrames AT ALL COSTS!
- Keep your design within the scope of the screen resolution with key points ABOVE THE PAGE FOLD and NEVER make the user scroll horizontal.
- Do not over cram text onto one page. Split it if need be
- Have a site map.
- Use your metas effectively. Especially TITLE. Do NOT just put your company name first.
- Avoid bells and whistles in your design UNLESS THEY ADD TO/PROMOTE your services/products
- Use bold text sparingly
- ALWAYS keep your viewers in focus. Never write/design for SEO alone.
That’s my list.
You will note that I have not added too much about the design aspect as this is mainly subjective.
An excellent design to one, may be awful to another.