There’s one very large and wholly inescapable problem with the ‘good web design’ rulebook – the darn thing is always changing. Cast your mind back ten years or so and what qualified as stellar website back then would of course look wholly inappropriate in 2015. Web design trends are like most other trends and fashion movements in that they shift on a regular basis and the old rules are rewritten in a big way.
What all of the above amounts to is a somewhat constant need to keep an eye on what’s making the grade and what isn’t. The advice of the industry’s leading marketing companies can certainly help, but there are at the same time a great many things you can do by yourself with little to no outside input.
Banish Anything Annoying
For example, it’s hardly a secret in this day and age that when a visitor makes a trip to your website, they have a purpose in mind. What’s more, they expect to be able to get to what it is they’re looking for pretty much in an instant and without interference. As such, anything that gets in their way will annoy the hell out of them – popups, overly flashy visuals, irritating music, diversions to other sites, ads etc. – will encourage them to leave and never come back. Attention spans and patience levels have never been lower, so design your site accordingly.
Navigation is Key
For exactly the same reasons as those mentioned above, sublime navigation matters more than most other things. Again, it’s a case of getting the visitor to where it is they want to go as quickly and easily as possible with no delays, no distractions and no reasons to leave your site for another. Navigation should be simple, unpretentious and abundantly clear in how it works from the word go. Try to show off with a complex navigation system at your peril.
Fast Page Loading
Yet another point that harks back to the above-mentioned subject of attention span, if any of the pages across your site take more than a few seconds to load, there’s a rather enormous chance the visitor won’t stay around for long enough to be of any value to you. This could mean simplifying the content of any of your pages that are causing problems, it may mean a case of optimising your site a little better on the whole or it might be time to think about doing business with a new hosting company – anything it takes to keep things as quick and fluid as possible.
Kill the Clutter
There are two glaring problems presented by cluttered and overcrowded websites – the first of which being how difficult it can make things for the visitor to find what they’re looking for. There’s a point in there somewhere and perhaps some stuff of value, but when it’s drowned out by a ton of filler from all corners, it’ll go totally to waste. And then of course there’s the way in which a crowded, messy and cluttered website just makes it clear that you either don’t know what you’re doing or don’t really care – either way it’s a big turn-off for today’s more discerning connected population.
Reach Out at All Times
There’s very little in the world more annoying than wanting to get in touch with any given brand and having to jump through a million hoops to get anywhere near an email address, let alone a telephone number. You have to assume that plenty of people will have questions to ask…which they will…so it’s in your best interests to make it as easy as possible for them to access your full contact details and get in touch with little more than a single click. And the more methods of contact you offer, the better.
When designing your site, you should be looking to create a single unified entity where each and every page and element therein is of the same quality, style and theme. Just because some the pages aren’t likely to draw in as many hits or earn you as much money doesn’t mean you’ll get away with giving them only half the attention you lavish on the other pages.
Get to the Point
Last but not least, no matter what it is you do or what it is you might be offering, it’s always important to cut to the chase and make it obvious what you do and who you are. Content should for the most part at least be kept concise, relevant, free of jargon and brilliantly interesting in accordance with the primary purpose of your business and your site.