CIO | JUN 4, 2013 7:00 AM PST
Your website is often the first – and only – encounter prospective customers will have with your business. So it’s important to make a good first impression. Yet so many businesses, especially small businesses, ignore or refuse to spend money on good website design. And this can be a fatal mistake.
As numerous studies have shown, how your website is laid out, what colors, fonts, and images you use (or don’t use) can mean the difference between success (low bounce and exit rates, high conversion) and failure (high abandonment, low sales). And you do not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to create a website that is both functional (easy to navigate) and attractive (easy on the eye).
Following are 11 simple tips for creating a well designed site – or improving an existing one.
1. Have a polished, professional logo – and link it to your home page.
2. Use intuitive navigation(e.g., horizontal menu at top and remembering that people read from left to right, top to bottom, like the letter Z).
3. Get rid of clutter. Excessive use of graphics and too much text distract and turn off readers. Give readers (white) space to breathe.
4. Use color strategically – to highlight items. Don’t think of your website as a coloring book.
5. Invest in professional or really good photography – and avoid those free or cheap stock images that everyone uses. Remember, visitors are more likely to judge you by your images rather than any text (no matter how clever).
6. Choose fonts that are easy to read across devices and browsers.
7. Put the most important information at or near the top of pages.
8. Design pages as if every one could be a landing page. (Not everyone is going to arrive at your site via the Home page.)
9. Say no to Flash and frames!
10. Use responsive design, i.e., design tools or a platform that automatically adjusts pages to users’ browsers.
11. Test your design – by having friends, colleagues, or paid testers review web pages and provide honest feedback.
To see full tips with explanations, read my article “13 Simple Tips for Improving Your Web Design.”