Virtually all of us now use the Internet on a daily basis. We have our own experiences and thoughts on what makes a website attractive. There are, however, some fairly standard dos and don’ts when it comes to creating a good website.
Don’t Irritate Your Visitors
The last thing that you want to do is drive people who visit your website away. So it’s worth bearing in mind that there are certain things that will do just that and which, therefore, should be avoided like the plague:
- Avoid pop-ups - nobody likes them, and people tend to trust sites with pop-ups less.
- Do not attempt to take away the control from your visitor by doing things like putting in sneaky redirects with no explanation.
- Do not use plug-ins that only work in certain browsers - chances are that your visitor is not going to install a new browser just for you, and you are, therefore, limiting your audience.
- Avoid flashing or blinking text - it just looks cheap and tacky.
Do Make It Visually Appealing
A consistent, well-designed website will fare much better than something badly designed with distracting, poor-quality content. Make sure that you are following the basic rules to keep your site attractive to your visitors:
- Keep the structure of each page on your site consistent, using the same fonts, styles, and imagery. This avoids sending out a confusing message to your visitors and pulls them in instead.
- Do not have busy backgrounds, which are distracting from your main content.
- Do not use all capital text; it is hard to read. Also, keep the use of italics and bold to a minimum and only use when relevant.
- Use your space well - do not squash all of the text up against borders and images - it’s visually unappealing. Using space wisely makes your pages easier to readjust.
- Avoid red and green text - these are the most common colours for colour blindness, and many people just won’t be able to read them.
- Take accessibility into account - doing things like making sure alternative text is provided for images makes your page more accessible to people who are visually impaired and improves your search engine results.
Do Keep It Functional
There is nothing worse than a badly laid-out website that is hard to navigate and has functionality which does not work. It will lose you traffic:
- Make sure that all links on your site are functioning correctly.
- Design your own 404 page rather than the basic one provided by Windows, which provides no useful information to your visitors.
- Provide contact and feedback information.
- Keep your website updated, and make sure that your visitors can see that it is maintained.
- Create a site map - many visitors find what they are looking for by using these.
- Take advantage of places that will improve your site and increase its traffic by doing things like converting a website to WordPress.
Finally, make sure that you keep your reputation clean. People return to websites that they trust, and when they have a problem, they often share that with all of your other potential visitors. Keep them happy, and they will come.