Web design might have some complicated elements but there are basics that all website owners should know. Knowing these basics will make sure that the website attracts traffic and the visitors return. There are also some basics that will go a long way in giving you an easy time when running your website. The following are 8 simple web design rules that will help you in building and maintaining a professional website that is not hard to run.
Navigation Should Be Simple
If you want a functional website that is also attractive, it is important that you avoid clutter. For this reason, you might want to make sure that menus are used. This is because they reduce the number of items listed on the home page and do it in an organized matter. Even with the menu, you should try to limit the items on the list. If the menu has over 20 items, this might be over whelming to the user.
The pages should be broad enough to allow a variety of details and this means that each topic does not necessarily need to be on its own menu. Highlighting the important topics on the menu and using sub menus will go a long way in ensuring that your navigation is clean and easy to understand and use.
Proper Use Of Pop-Up
While modal windows and pop-ups can be highly useful, when abused they tend to be annoying to the user and the website find itself in the losing end. If you have ever clicked on some important details only to see a modal window asking you to register for something, then you understand what it means to be annoyed by pop-ups. If the visitor has not yet gone through all your content, chances are that they will not sign up for anything or want to subscribe to a newsletter. You should not block them from going through your content with that annoying pop-up. A gain, pop-ups are highly abused and this is why they have attracted so much negativity. If you do not know where to put it, just avoid it completely for your own good.
If you would like to use one, think about places such as the bottom of the article. You can have a pop-up window asking them if they would like to subscribe to a newsletter or for related content. If they have gone through the article, it is more likely that they will sign up especially if the content was interesting to them.
Negative Space Should Be Employed Wisely
Also referred to as whitespace, negative space can balance the aesthetics of the website. Negative space can be used to complement all the positive space that you have used in content display. The paragraphs should be separated by whitespace and some space between the headline and content will provide the necessary break. As much as whitespace is important, you should make sure that it is not too much because it might create an unfinished or empty look. You can play around with it to make sure that the balance is giving your website a clean uncluttered look that is attractive to your visitors.
Leverage Response Design
Responsive design cannot be emphasized enough. Regardless of how the user accesses the site or which device they are using, they should have a good user experience. This means that you should have a website that is optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile. The main difference between these devices is the screen size and there is nothing as bad as text that has been cut off. If you are in the process of building your site, it’s better to have it built with this in mind than to work on it later. If your site is already built, talk to professionals to have it fixed and optimized for smaller screens.
“Above The Fold” Space Should Be Prioritized
The space that your visitor sees without scrolling is very important. This space should be properly used. Think about what your visitors would want to see immediately they land on the website. Is it a mission statement, a company logo or a call to action. You can have all these elements above the fold in well performing pages. These are details that help in brand identity and can give the visitor a boatload of information without the clicking on anything.
File Names Standardization
If you have files, it is important that you have an organized system that will help you in finding the items you are looking for fast. All file titles should be in lower case. This is because files are case sensitive on the web. Sunset and Sunset are different because of the case. To avoid having an issue finding a particular file, just stick to lower case.
Also, you should avoid spaces. Spaces are unsafe for web addresses because they can be confused or lost. In most cases, the space you put will be converted to 20% which results in a very usual name or url. You can use hyphens and underscores instead of spaces if you need to separate words. A word with a hyphen is viewed as two separate words while an underscored word is viewed as one word by search engines. This means that hyphens are generally better for SEO and naming purposes.
Images Should be Sourced Properly
All the images that you get from other sites or people should be posted with permission and the right attributes. Most new site owners tend to hotlink. This is when they link to images on other people’s sites instead of saving the images on their computers and uploading them to their site. This means that the person hotlinking will be using the other person‘s bandwidth and this is not fair. Also, if you do this, your site will be subject to the other sites status. This simply means that if the site stops working or the image in question gets deleted, it will not be available on your site.
In cases where you are working as an affiliate marketer, you might get a code that helps in putting up a banner on your site. This will make the process easy when they want to change the banner and they can trace the performance of the banner. In this case, hotlinking is allowed. In any other situations you should avoid hotlinking, just get the images you want and download them and upload them. It is a good idea to get original images. If this is not possible, just get stock or get images with permission.
Have Separate Directories
In the initial stages, it might appear like a good idea to dump all files into a single directory. You feel as if having everything in one central place is the way to go. Well, this can simplify things but the bigger the site gets, the more difficult it will be to go through things. A good approach is to have a separate directory for each of the file types you are dealing with. Have a directory for images, CSS files, HTML pages and any other files that are high in number to warrant a directory. Make sure you clearly name all files for easy access.
These are just a few rules that will help you create a website that will attract more traffic and improve the user’s experience. Always keep in mind that consistency is the key to a good website. Applying these rules will give you satisfactory results and you will always have happy readers.