What Are Best Practices When Designing Your Website?

While this topic could easily be a book, there are some key considerations when designing your website:

  • Mobile friendly – more than 50% of searches today are from a mobile device. Your website layout should change to an easy-to-read column when viewed from a mobile device. If you need to stretch it to see it, then your website is not mobile-friendly. We only want to scroll with our thumbs!
  • Above the fold – prime real estate for a website is that area that shows up on a desktop device when the home page first loads, prior to scrolling. This area should ideally include your contact information, what you do, your social media links, your top level navigation and your email list sign up form. While all of these don’t necessarily work on every design, a huge image that causes users to scroll down to see what you do will make it less likely that we’ll care enough to do so. Humans now have an attention span less than that of a goldfish!
  • Clean and easy to read – avoid cluttering your pages with too many colors, images and long blocks of text. Content is important but we need to be able to scan it.
  • Stick to 2-3 colors. While there are some exceptions, and color selection will depend upon your business, in general a website should follow a consistent theme. Too many colors will make it appear cartoon-like. Remember that you are designing for your audience.
  • Keep graphics simple – imagine them tiny on a mobile device. Avoid images that are too busy.
  • Go easy on the images – they look beautiful but impact load times and visitors are simply not that patient. Stream a gallery if you need to but don’t have too many images images or videos load directly from a page. Google hates that too. For any images you do use, make sure they are sized to match where they will appear and not larger as otherwise your page load time will be reduced and Google hates that too.
  • Use descriptive, keyword rich content. This is how the search engines will primarily find the page.
  • Avoid entry pages. An entry page with “click to enter site” tends to drive high user bounce rates.
  • Minimize the number of clicks required to get to your most searched content. Watch out for too many levels of menus or “click here” instructions.
  • Use simple typography. While it is ok to use more than one font, keep them clean and easy to read. For those of us with failing eyesight a minimum of 12 black font is recommended. Consider that fancier fonts may not load properly in all browsers, giving your site a different look and feel when the browser substitutes the font for something it knows, so stick with the basics.

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