Five Essentials of Web Design

The key to a good website is a simple design. This doesn’t mean, however, that your website should be plain. Sites that are beautifully designed, well-organized and informative typically attract the most traffic in the long term because they are directed to and meet the readers’ needs.

The following five essential tips can help you design an attractive, user-friendly website with the potential to succeed. If you are looking to become more creative, NorthOrion can provide you with some methods that you can use to improve your graphic-design skills.

Navigation

When we use a website, the most important thing we look for is the ability to quickly and efficiently locate the information for which we are searching. Most web users are on a quest to find information. The most successful and popular websites are straightforward and easy to use, so the design of your website should be as simple and intuitive as possible without being bland.

When you embed links on your site, make sure that the link’s text tells the user something. Instead of using links that say, “Click Here,” create links with words that describe what your readers will find when they click on the link. For example, if you were to place a link that informs your readers about the information to which you are directing them in the following sentence: “The baby elephant’s diet changes as it matures,” the phrase “baby elephant’s diet” is an excellent example of informative link text, provided, of course, that you link to information about the things baby elephants eat.

You should also make sure that your website’s navigation bar is located in the same place on every page, whether it is along the top of the screen, down the left side of the screen or elsewhere. Websites with a navigation bar that is located in a different place on different pages are more complicated to navigate and generally have less traffic as a result. Finally, include a search portal and an easily accessible site map on your website to give your readers several methods for locating the information for which they are looking.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Even if you create the most beautiful website, if the search engines can’t find it, no one else will either. Quality content attracts the attention of search engines such as Google. If the search engines catch you attempting to trick the system with black-hat SEO methods such as keyword stuffing to obtain higher ranking, they’ll penalize your site.

As a web designer, you should create content that has wisely chosen keywords with an appropriate keyword density in relation to the word count. When you create your web pages, consider which keywords your readers might use to find the information they’re looking for that you provide on your site. Google AdWords is an excellent resource that allows you to see which terms people are searching with and how often each term is searched per month, as well as the amount of competition you’ll face when you attempt to rank well for particular keywords, which allows you to identify and use the most valuable and sought-after keywords in your writing.

Spacing

Web pages that are not friendly to the eye are less likely to be perused. As you create your web page, it’s important to leave enough white, or unused, space to keep your pages from seeming cramped. Instead of having one large block of text, divide your information into small paragraphs. Create headings or bolded topic sentences to make it easier for your readers to locate specific information. Include bullets and numbered lists where appropriate.

Font


Selecting the proper font, size and color for your text is important for conveying information to your reader. Consider using sans-serif fonts such as Verdana. Instead of selecting a particular font size, choose a relative size such as large, normal or small so that your readers can adjust the size if they need to in order to read it. When you are selecting colors for your text, try to use the colors that will best stand out against the background. Stay away from busy backgrounds or those with gradients because they can make portions of the text difficult to distinguish.

Images

Images can serve different functions depending on the purpose of your website. As you select images for your website, remember that copyright laws apply. Only use images that you have permission to post or ones that you have created yourself. Additionally, remember that the file extension of the images you use can affect the quality of the image and the time it takes to load your pages. The three file extensions that are best for web pages are JPEG, GIF and PNG.

Making a beautiful and well-performing website that draws traffic is a lofty but achievable goal with many rewards, including advertising income and rising page views. You can learn the skills you need to create a beautiful website by earning a degree in graphic design. Once you have obtained the knowledge and tools you need to design attractive, functional and easy-to-use websites, you’ll be able to better achieve the desired results from creating and maintaining a popular website.