Your company's website needs to incorporate an attractive front-end that captures the interest of your visitors. It should encourage their trust and elevate their perception of your business. But, proper website design also involves creating a robust back-end that can support your company's growth over time. Many website owners approach the development of their sites without giving sufficient attention to navigation, search engine friendliness, and scalability. This article provides you with the five critical rules of effective website design.
Rule #1: Search Engine-Friendly Structure
Some websites don't need to receive traffic from the search engines. Sites such as CNN online and NYPost online enjoy tens of thousands of visitors each day because they've achieved a "top of mind" awareness online. However, most websites need traffic from Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Good website design entails building sites so the major search engines can easily find, crawl, and index them.
Rule #2: Intuitive Navigation
Today, people have shorter attention spans than ever before. When they're looking for information on your website, they want to access it quickly or they'll simply move on to search elsewhere. Your website's navigation scheme should be intuitive and simple to understand. Graphics and buttons should use well-defined labels. Links should be distinct and instantly recognizable. This is an often overlooked rule of good website design and it can sabotage an otherwise successful business.
If you're designing your site on your own, ask for the advice of an experienced website developer. Chicago is one of many major cities home to a large cadre of professional designers who would be happy to review your website. Chicago website design firms have particular expertise in intuitive navigation.
Rule #3: Clean And Easy To Read
A common mistake that millions of business owners make is to clutter their websites with multiple fonts and graphics.
What's worse, they often cram so much information onto their web pages that visitors become overwhelmed and leave. Your website should use fonts and graphics to build trust and encourage visitors to stay on your site. That means each page should be clean and easy to read. There should be plenty of white space that allows visitors' eyes to relax while they absorb information.
Rule #4: Built For Scalability
As your business grows, your website needs to grow with it. In the beginning, you may only offer one or two products. Before long, you may offer dozens of products and services, while managing several blogs to promote your company. Your website design plans should include room for growth. You'll need to consider having a reliable shopping cart that is tied to an inventory database
. You should plan to have a content management system that includes blogs.
The key to scalability is planning well in advance. Many people outsource this task to a website developer. Chicago, New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles boast many developers who can help guide your design efforts to support your company's growth.
Rule #5: Consistent Look And Feel
Consistency often falls through the cracks when a website grows. Old designs, fonts, and graphics can be easily forgotten and lead to pages that have conflicting appearances. Unfortunately, this lack of consistency across the pages on your website can damage the visitors' perception of your business. Your website design should promote a consistent look and feel across every page that is accessible by the public.
Your website is the first impression that customers and leads will have of your business. Before they contact you, they'll begin building a perception of your ability to satisfy their needs. To that end, your website design should encourage their trust by deploying an intuitive navigation scheme and a consistent look and feel. It should also be clean and easy to read. Finally, your website should be search engine-friendly and be built for scalability. These are the five basic rules of effective website design that can literally make or break your business.