If you think every website is pretty similar to one another, carefully examine a site like Twitter, then check out some random kid’s site on Google Sites. You can easily see how different they are and that the design of the website tends to kind of set the mood and purpose of the website. To discover more about designing an effective website, read on.
HTML5 video is set to become the next standard for displaying videos on the web and naturally, you should offer both a way in which users can stream your content through an HTML5 format as well as another format such as flash for those who have an older browser version.
You should also consider implementing fixed-position navigation. This means you need to lock the site’s panel for navigation in a place that scrolls while the visitor does. This is convenient for visitors and helps frequent visitors quickly find what they need.
Don’t use OnExit popups on your website. This tactic is mainly used by internet marketers who are trying a last-ditch attempt to get a sale. Word about these kinds of popups get around, and they will kill your reputation as a marketer. Mozilla has even taken steps to suppress the text on these popups, citing security risks.
Keep a simple front page. Your front page can be the determining factor whether a visitor decides to stay or simply exits without seeing more. Make sure that you provide a very clear description about your business or other purpose for your site. Other information on your site should be minimal, but still clear, so that you don’t overwhelm your visitors.
You should always put in the effort to make a customized error page for your site; this page should include a basic sitemap that links users to the major sections of your website. This ensures that if visitors follow a bad link or spell your URL wrong, they will be able to find what they are looking for.
The best web sites communicate a lot of information in a small amount of words. If you are long-winded, people will easily get bored and find another site that is more concise. Make sure any content is relevant and easy to understand – newspapers use an eighth grade reading level, which is the most common literacy level.
Make sure your website uses a consistent font throughout. Some websites change fonts willy-nilly without any design reason to do so. This makes the content difficult to process for visitors. Most websites, especially business websites, will do just fine sticking to basic fonts like Arial, Veranda, or even Times New Roman.
Organize your links and avoid putting too many links in one area of your site. Doing this can confuse visitors and make them leave your site. If you do have many low- to mid-importance links, emulate the “blogrolls” seen in many blogs and tuck them away in a column on the right side of the page.
It is imperative that all of your webpages have titles. Forgetting to include titles while designing your website can have disastrous consequences. The biggest reason is that it makes your website look unprofessional when there is no title, both on the webpage itself, and also on a search results page. Search engines also place heavy emphasis on titles when determining the content of your website. Remember to utilize keywords, and make your titles descriptive.
Use custom error pages to make your site more informative. For instance, if you want people to report dead links on your site, either put a server-side script on your 404 page or have a form or email address that visitors can use to report the error. You should have custom pages for 403, 404, and 500 errors, at the very least.
Use breadcrumbs and make it so that clicking on the site logo returns you to the homepage. Breadcrumbs are markers that show where the visitor is in the site structure. For instance, the breadcrumbs might read “home > furniture > beds.” When the user clicks a link in the breadcrumbs, he can return to a page further up in the site hierarchy. Clicking on a business logo should generally take the visitor back to the homepage as well.
It’s likely that you will not make the very next Twitter or Facebook. The odds aren’t in your favor. However, your website can be every bit as professional as the big cheeses. All this requires is some knowledge and effort on your part. Use what you’ve learned here and get started today!