Designing and launching a website requires a great deal of thought, consideration, and planning if you want the end result to be attractive and useful for site visitors. Here are five top tips for staying focused on creating the most effective website possible:
Tip # 1 – Choose the layout carefully. It's tempting to "dress up" your website layout with lots of different components just for the novelty of having a 'cool' website. The problem is that this kind of complicated design is not very user friendly and can actually cause visitors to leave the site out of frustration or confusion. Instead, stick with a simple design, free of excess clutter like lots of images, extensive menus, or too much content. Your primary goal is to make it easy for visitors to see valuable content and quickly identify what your website is all about.
Tip # 2 – Make navigation easy. Look at your navigation menus and sections from the perspective of visitors, for the purpose of making it easy to navigate the site. Homepage navigation links to top level categories should be clear and easy to find, and within each category page there should be clear links to the pages within that topic. Also, use link bread-crumbs through the site (eg Home -> Category -> Topic -> Sub-topic); This makes it easy for visitors to always know where they are on the site and quickly go back to higher level pages or categories if they so choose.
Tip # 3 – Choose comfortable colors. Once again, look at your website from the visitor's perspective when choosing colors; all colors should be easy to look at and attractive rather than "in-your-face" bold and brilliant. Lean toward natural color tones whenever possible because these create a feeling of warmth, pleasantness, and comfort. Be sure also that all links and content are identifiable and easy to read; avoid any colors that will cause strain on the eyes or over stimulate the brain when looked at for an extended period of time.
Tip # 4 – Make it user-focused. We just can not say this often enough because it's so incredibly important: an effective website absolutely must be user-focused and designed to meet the needs of website visitors. Check that all links and functions work correctly, and quickly fix any that have gone astray or are causing errors. Take a good hard look at the functions themselves, eliminating any that make your website run slower or put visitors through unnessary effort, and keeping only those that make your website easier or more convenient to use, or at least have no visible effect. Your goal is to create a website visitors will find usable and trustworthy so they will be enticed to take action and to return in the future.
Tip # 5 – Split test for effectiveness. This is perhaps the most valuable action you can take to fine tune your website and improve its performance. You can split test anything from textual content to images to homepage layout to the color of headings and more, helping to identify those areas of the site that are effective and those that need some changes to become better. It's especially beneficial when first launching a website but is also a good tool to use periodically to ensure maximum ongoing performance as well.
While these are major points to consider when designing a website that will perform well, there are many different aspects of a website that can affect visitor experience and conversions. Frequently review your website's effectiveness and continue to educate yourself in the best practices of web design.