25 Best Practice Web Design Tips
Given that we design websites everyday and it’s what we do best – we thought for all those looking to improve their online presence we’d make a list of best practice tips for you to cross check with your current web designs. If something on this list is out of whack on your own website, consider making the necessary changes to improve your site’s design, functionality (UX), content and know what NOT to do, to keep your web visitors happy and on your site.
1. Limit your use of colours – as a general rule of thumb stick to 2 or 3. Granted a great designer can get away with using a rainbow of colours however, the risk of using too many colours is greater than using too few. A web design that incorporates too many colours is difficult to manage and more often than not makes the design look too busy.
2. Make your logo a focal point. It’s critical for your branding strategy and for brand recognition. You want people to remember you – hence making it prominent on your website. We should also note that you should have a well designed logo to begin with.
3. Make sure people can read your text. Your text contrast needs to be easily readable for your web visitors. If your website visitors can’t read your content because of a poor font choice, or poor text contrast, what’s the point of having the text up?
4. Keep it simple. Steve Jobs said that “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” You want your design to be concise and for it move your web visitors to action, whatever that desired action may be. When there is too much going on, it gets confusing and your visitors shouldn’t have to solve a puzzle to figure it out.
5. Responsive design is essential. In this day and age having a mobile site is imperative. Nearly everyone uses their cell phones to access website information because they are looking for things on the go and quickly. Your site needs to be responsive.
6. Easy Navigation. Like keeping things simple, your website’s navigation menu should be clear and intuitive for your visitors. They should be able to access the information from the main menu with ease.
7. Scrolling over clicking. Gone are the days of the “above the fold” mentality, especially with responsive sites that are designed for scrollers and not clickers. We have gotten in the habit of scrolling, so don’t feel apprehensive about creating a long page design because people are in the habit of scrolling now. If your copy is compelling enough and the story you’re telling is worth the unfolding, then your web visitors will have no problem scrolling down. It’s much more effective then burying content in multiple subpages that people have to click to find.
8. CTA buttons need to be prominent and enticing. Your Calls to Action are what bring in your leads. These need to be unavoidable (in a good way) and disrupt your web viewer such that they have no choice but to follow through.
9. Ensure all internal and external links are working. Much of UX design is based on the premise that your user has a pleasurable experience on your site. When something isn’t working – it’s frustrating. By making sure that all your links are in good order, you ensure that your user isn’t getting frustrated.
10. Use anchor text points where necessary to help your users navigate more easily to the content they want to find. It’s about making your user feel like what they need is on hand at all times and it takes little to no work for them to find what they want ASAP.
11. Make sure all external links point to a new window so you’re not sending your visitors away from your website.
12. Keep your capture forms concise and don’t ask for unnecessary details upfront. The more hurdles you put in place before you get the info you need, the more likely your users will run out of steam and abandon filling out your forms.
13. Have your NAP available everywhere on your website. Your business name, address, phone number and email contact information should be visible at all times on your site whether the info is located on the header or footer.
14. Remember that your homepage is the welcome mat to your site. You don’t want to verbally barf all over it with all the content that you’ve got. You want to lead your web visitors into the site by being enticing with your copy. Not scaring people away with a wall of text that looks too daunting to read.
15. Write for the web. That means breaking up your content into easily digestible bites of information. Your website should not read like a legal document.
16. Quality content is everything. The content on your website should be of value to your web visitors and it should be your own. Duplicating content is seen as big no-no by Google and they will penalize your webpage accordingly, moving you down their ranks.
17. Your website’s imagery needs to be on point. You need high quality graphics. Especially in a world where we are saturated by visuals, you want to stand out from the crowd and use images that are arresting because they are beautiful. You also want incorporate images for the sake of breaking up the text.
18. Make sure your website’s content is relevant. That means updating information accordingly and showing your visitors you maintain an active presence. Stale information looks bad and it also makes you appear lazy or like you don’t care about your business.
19. Business blogs are huge – for SEO purposes, for showing your credibility and showing your expertise in your field. It is a commitment because again, you’ll want to maintain and update the information regularly but it is definitely worth the investment.
20. Social media channels for your business are great for driving traffic to your site and promoting your business. Although, not all channels may apply to your target audience, do keep in mind the ones that do and if you’re not on them, get on them.
21. Edit! Poor spelling and poor grammar reflects on you poorly. Take the time to proof-read what you publish to ensure that you don’t lose credibility with your audience because of a simple error.
What Not To Do
22. Avoid using all caps on your website. It makes your audience think you’re SCREAMING at them and no one likes to be yelled at.
23. Do not let videos or music auto play on your website. That was so 1995 and in a way, it’s just rude because you’re not giving your visitors an option, your forcing sound on them.
24. Avoid using Flash, Google killed Flash advertising in their browser as of Sept. 1st, 2015. Build using plain ol’ HTML, CSS and Java Script.
25. Pop ups are annoying. They are invasive much like auto play videos and music. Leave them for old school pop up books where they are actually endearing.