The way that your website looks to a visitor is very important. You might think that content is the most important aspect to your website’s success, and it is undoubtedly a crucial element, but with a website design that pains the eyes of your visitors they will never stay to read your wonderful text.
Fortunately creating an effective and professional looking website design isn’t rocket science. It is something that even those amongst us who may be creatively challenged can accomplish. Stick to these simple guidelines, and you too will soon be making the most of your website layout, helping you to attract more visitors and, more importantly, keep them for long enough to read your vital information.
1. The KISS Principle
You may not have heard the expression Keep It Simple Stupid, or KISS, but when it comes to the layout of your website design it is certainly something to remember. Simple layout’s are user friendly, so avoid any complex navigational quirks, reduce the number of large images that would take a long time to load and don’t use too much complex coding.
2. Keep it Consistent
A visitor to your website will be frustrated if, after just working out how everything works on one page, finds it to be different on another. Although there is some grace for your homepage as users tend to expect this to be a little different, ensure that all of your subpages are consistent.
3. Include a Search Bar
If someone visiting your website wants information quick then the all important Search bar could be the answer to their prayers, particularly if your website is filled with content. The common location for search functionality on a website is at the top right hand corner, and it is here where you should place your own if at all possible considering your overall website design. By no means should a visitor be forced to scroll to find the ability to search.
4. Navigation, Navigation, Navigation
When designing your website’s layout you must carefully consider how a visitor will navigate around your pages. However your navigation works, it is essential that it looks the same on every page, and that it is always in the same place. This will allow a user to jump swiftly around from page to page until they find what they are looking for.
5. Square and Centre
Finally remember that, for a professional website layout, you should consider lining up the different elements to a grid or at least lining them up carefully with each other. A higgledy piggledy look may work for some websites, but be sure that yours is one of them before launching pages that your visitors may not appreciate. You should also bear in mind that some visitors may have a screen resolution that is greater than your own; websites should, therefore, be centred to appear aesthetically pleasing on all screen sizes.