Whether you have a website or are thinking about getting one, finding a good website design that fits your business needs, is like trying to find the perfect outfit for that all important date or meeting. It’s natural to want to put your best foot forward and just as a new outfit can make you look and feel confident, so too a great website design should clearly portray your business in an appropriate style.
If you think about it, a website is your virtual outfit, and it’s the crucial first impression people have of you or your business. Just like the clothes you wear, your website reflects your individual personality and style.
And like your wardrobe, websites need to be updated every now and then to maintain freshness and relevance in a changing online environment. A good website design should allow you the flexibility to adapt and evolve as your business grows and accommodate changing customer habits and expectations.
A site that hasn’t had a style update in a long while is in danger of becoming an online fashion victim. It’s not a good look, and it signals troubling consequences for your online success.
A bad, ugly or outdated website design gets in the way of good content. It puts visitors off instantly if your site is difficult to read, poorly signposted and busier than a Pucci print.
No one is going to hang around a site that literally is an eye sore. Likewise if the design is downright drab and plain, with minimal, uninspired content blander than a pair of brown corduroys.
Here are 10 design style tips to keep your website looking good.
1. Easy Navigation that you can understand in seconds. I’ve been on sites where it’s not immediately apparent how to move to another page of a website. Frustration factor very high.
2. Good Content that stays on topic is up to date and easy to grasp.
3. No Background Images they look amateur and they drastically slow down page loading. Plus it makes reading very difficult, best to avoid and opt for pale, light coloured backgrounds instead.
4. Avoid Animated GIF’s, scrolling text, and pop-up windows they’re distracting and annoying. Particularly if they’re advertisements that have nothing to do with your business.
5. Readable Text with a good clean font type in a decent size, 12 pt. is ideal. Stick to just two font styles and colours, you don’t want your content resembling a kaleidoscopic hippie headscarf. Use italics or boldface to emphasise or highlight points of interest or importance.
6. Contact Details are easy to find, list your contact details or a link to your contact info on the top or bottom of every page.
7. High Quality Images that are properly resized and optimized. People don’t like waiting an eternity for photos to load and in most cases they’ll move on to another site. Images should ideally be optimized to display on a web browser in as little as 1 to 3 seconds.
8. Internal & External Links should work properly taking visitors’ to the appropriate page or section of your website, loading the correct image or document file. Same goes for external links, don’t waste people’s time with broken or dead links that lead nowhere.
9. Flash & Splash Pages look all glamorous and impressive but they’re all style and no substance. They’re nothing more than visual obstacles that prevent visitors from entering your site. Flash-based websites and splash pages are an unnecessary, irritatingly slow loading ‘introductory page’ that serves no real purpose. And that’s provided your visitor even has a flash plug-in. Trash the flash and splash pages, and let your visitors in, pronto!
10. Design That’s Tailor Made to your image incorporating your colours, logo, artwork and other style elements into a unique and dynamic website. Your site should look great and work well on any browser, and is search engine friendly.
Tasteful, good design that doesn’t date in a blink of an eye usually takes the “less is more” approach. Avoid gimmicky design add-on’s that detract from your content.
A great website design is an unobtrusive visual framework that organizes, supports and showcases your content.
PS: If you’re ready for a website style make over or in need of a snazzy, new website, check out these fabulous website design solutions. I’ve partnered up with fellow copywriter Shahan from the Science of Copy and AU WebCentres where we can offer you fully customisable, feature rich website designs that’ll blow you away.