Best Practices for Developing a Killer Website

In today’s hectic world, if your company isn’t online and can’t be found online, it’s pretty fair to assume that it’s going to be hard for your business to grow both domestically and internationally.  Consumers these days are very internet savvy – they know what they want and they want to be able to “find it” quickly and easily.

Having good web design, with a unique look, feel and functionality is what brings your website and brand to life.  You want to create a site that makes visitors want to click around, search your site and even bookmark it for future use to create return visits.  When creating your website, your must consider factors such as your brand, usability considerations, color scheme preferences, functionality, browser compatibility, screen resolution, responsive design, navigation and website architecture.  Additionally, there are things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), e-commerce, hosting requirements, coding and content management that need to be considered.

Creating a killer website can be overwhelming, however, with assistance from an effective marketing company and by knowing these best practices, you are well on your way.

Have a Compelling Layout Design

An attractive layout design catches the attention of site visitors and appeals to your target audience. It’s what keeps visitors on your site once they get there and keeps them digging further into the website for more information. So, you might be asking “what encompasses a compelling layout?”  For starters, a compelling website layout requires good use of basic design principles, such as a consistent header, logo and navigation elements among web pages; good contrast between text and background; a perfect alignment of visual elements; and a good balance between text, images and white space on each web page.  Also, incorporate interactive elements, where it makes sense, as interactivity is very effective.

Website page layouts can consist of grids, blocks, columns, CSS designs, Flash, or CSS+JavaScript as the foundation, but the best layouts use a customized structure with features that attractively showcase your content. These are things that should be discussed with your web developer to ensure your website is developed to do what you want it to do and to look like you want it to look like.

Have Effective “Balanced” Use of Color, Graphics, and Multimedia

First and foremost, web design can go very wrong with too much color, mismatched color combinations and too many interactive features.  A well-balanced web design uses three to four colors at most and has text colors that contrast well with the site’s background color. Graphics and animated images are used to enhance the content rather than distract from it and are optimized so they don’t slow down the site.

Multimedia is used to enhance the site and serves a defined purpose.  Having multi-media files on your website to “just have it,” is not the right strategy as the incorporation of multi-media must be a direct tie-in with the sites purpose.  Make sure if you are using Audio, Video or Flash files that they clearly display download times and include captions.  Additionally, if media plug-ins are needed, ensure that download links are provided on the site.

Content is King

The look of your website can be considered the “Welcome message” to your website. However, it is really the content that keeps users around and it’s what will encourage repeat visits to your site. A web design can look great, but unless it has relevant content, it doesn’t do any good.

Best practices related to content:

  • Use common fonts and limit the type style to one or two
  • Be consistent when using fonts, font colors, font sizes and hyperlink colors
  • Present text in a quick, readable fashion, such as bold, catchy headings, brief paragraphs separated with subheadings and use bullet points.
  • Organize your content into logical categories and themes
  • Minimize the number of links that would take your visitor off your site.  You want your site to have the majority of content that they are looking for, however, linking to other sites for data, checklists and things of this nature are acceptable and a good practice for SEO.

Have Clear and Easy Navigation

Put simply, use navigation categories that will make sense to your visitor.  Using fancy names (aka nomenclature) can be burdensome to your user as they can’t quickly interpret what information will be included.

Good navigation acts as a map, directing visitors through the site based on their interests.

Best practices start with ensuring all navigation hyperlinks work properly and are not broken.  Websites demonstrating good navigation practices also clearly label main navigation links, provide text links in the footer section and make good use of navigation aids, such as a site map and breadcrumb navigation.

Good use of Functionality

At the most basic level, functionality means all internal and external hyperlinks work, there are no JavaScript errors and all forms function as they should.

Furthermore, functionality also applies to how the website functions across all browsers, computer operating systems and mobile devices. It must work perfectly and look great on older and current versions of browsers and must be responsive (aka mobile-friendly).

The design of your website is crucial to ensure that you get the results you need.  By following these best practices, you will be well on your way to designing an effective website.  Working with a marketing company, such as W Marketing Services, will ensure your website is in fact a “killer website” optimized to get you the results you want.  Contact us at www.wmarketingservices.com/contact for a free consultation.

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