Websites are a lot like fashion; trends come and go but in the end classic and simple designs always win out. If you’re old enough to have used the Internet back in its infancy, you might remember how the majority of websites looked: not a lot of bells and whistles but often a variety of colours and busy backgrounds because it wasn’t so easy or efficient to upload large graphic, video and audio files.
Luckily, today things have changed. With new website platforms, enhanced loading and much higher processing speeds, it’s possible to do just about anything with your website. But that doesn’t mean you should! In fact, an unappealing design could be the reason your site is experiencing a high bounce rate (a big SEO no-no).
Here a few pointers to ensure your website looks attractive and isn’t overly busy.
Ratio of Text to Other Content
One thing to consider as you design your website is the type of content it contains on each page, but most importantly, the home page. People are turned off by large blocks of text – especially if it uses a small font or a hard-to-read colour. Unless the page features a blog post or article, the majority of the content should be visually oriented (graphics, images, video). This makes it easy for the eye to scan and also appears aesthetically pleasing.
Do be aware that a new change to Google’s algorithms relates to whether or not your site has content “above the fold” (the area a visitor can see without scrolling down). Websites without any content above the fold could be seen as spammy so even if you’re doing other things right, this one little thing could hurt your online marketing efforts.
Very few sites look good with a patterned background. Remember when many sites (particularly MySpace pages) featured tiled graphics filling the page? Ugh…or should it be “ugly”? Nothing says “old” and “needs an update” quicker than a web page with a busy background.
Keep it clean and keep it simple. Sure, your logo might be really nice, but it doesn’t need to fill up every inch of space on a visitor’s screen (particularly important if you want to optimise for mobile devices). The more “stuff” that is presented visually to a visitor at your site, the less likely they are to find what they need (such as the “buy” button or the contact page).
Styles and Scripting
CSS styling is considered, by many, a better way to ensure your web pages look good. It reduces the amount of code required and helps them load more rapidly, no matter what type of system or browser the visitor is using.
There is a reason that not just anybody can design an appealing website – it takes knowledge, experience and an eye for graphic design. If it’s been a while since your website had an overhaul, it might be time to talk to some professional web designers. If your website looks stale and unappealing, visitors aren’t going to stick around – and that means loss of sales and page rank.
Market Ease can help with SEO, web design, conversion optimisation, and more. Talk to us about your site and your goals and let us show you how some tweaks could make a big difference!