Good web design is vital to the life of a website. It sets the tone of the user’s expected experience and is often the determining factor in whether or not a visitor will recommend a website to other visitors.
Layout is the first thing a visitor will see. It is that one chance to make a good first impression. For instance, if the website is geared toward techies then the layout should be streamlined and minimalist. If, however, the site is tailored to people looking for all things Victorian then a more flowery and busy layout is called for. So it is important to cater to the customer base.
Once the layout has been chosen it is important that it not be changed around too often. When people visit a website regularly they generally prefer things to stay familiar. There are times when overhauling the look of a website is appropriate, but it shouldn’t be done more than once every two to three years. Layout should also be designed in such a way that navigation around the site is intuitive. If a visitor to the site is frustrated because the site is difficult to navigate, he isn’t likely to return.
Having a well-coded page is paramount. Good coding ensures the fastest possible page load. Research has shown that if a page doesn’t load in 2 seconds (or less), visitors are likely to leave.
Being SEO friendly is important when it comes to where a site ranks in search engines. This is especially pertinent if the majority of your traffic is generated from search engines. However, some sites’ traffic isn’t primarily search engine traffic. It doesn’t hurt to make one’s site SEO friendly anyway. Multiple streams of traffic have never proven to be detrimental!
Cross platform testing is necessary to ensure across the board consistency. This means making sure that the site works properly in all visitors’ browsers and on all of their operating systems. Test in Microsoft Windows for PCs and in the various versions of OS X for Macs. Make sure to then test the following browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera as these are the most commonly used browsers. Also be sure to test in mobile platforms.
It is essential to perform regular site maintenance as well. Broken and or outdated links reek of being unprofessional. This type of oversight also sends the message that the information being presented is unreliable. Even worse, if the links are affiliate related, every click on a broken link is potentially lost revenue.
Good web design ensures a positive experience for website visitors as well as a good result for website owners. Keeping things attractive, tight and well running are the cornerstones of great web design.