When it comes to web design and design elements there are a lot of factors to consider. At one glance, it looks like you have countless keys to consider but some point you realize you simply needs a few most important factors for your website to get positive results.
First you start with the planning stage then followed by categorizing other necessary elements like User Interface Design to Content Creation and then, the Development phase. Another thing to consider is the SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Here are 12 key elements that you must highly-consider.
1. Appropriate Web Design
To start with, you must pick an appropriate design for your website. Your visual design can either drive your customers to your website or turn them away. This rule is in ecommerce web design and forums. Nevertheless, not all high-rank websites would go for visual design yet it is still necessary if you have not yet update your design for quite a long time.
Sometimes all you need is a simple, clean-cut and minimal design. You don’t have to decorate your website a lot or it would be too much. Just make it appealing and professional-looking at the same time. As they say, first impressions last so make your visual design impressive and lasting.
2. Sensible User Interface
Planning your user interface comes next to picking your web design. Your user interface is your website’s foundation. Asking yourself who can be your potential viewer and customers is necessary.
Knowing who your visitors are and what type of visitors you have will help you improve your website. That way, you will be able to provide what your viewers need through your site. Providing information about your website and letting them subscribe would help a lot. Provide a user-friendly website for your customers. Navigation should be easy to access and it is easy to see the primary links of your website.
3. Make an Easy Navigation
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate. That means your designs should go about 500-600 pixels which is considered general in websites nowadays. Aside from that your logo should link back to your website once clicked and the main sections as well. However, avoid making a cluttering look of your website.
For instance, navigations for your Home button, About page, Services, FAQ and Contact should be placed in the upper page of your website so it easy to locate. On the other hand, sub-links like About-Bio, About-resume and related link can be placed in the sidebar or under the main page title. Make your website consistent by placing your links accordingly.
4. Place Navigation in the Footer
Suppose you are using flash animations for your website it is very essential to repeat your navigation links in the footer. It would be really helpful especially to your viewers that are browsing on your page. There are times that footer will link to additional information like Terms & Conditions of your website. It should be accessible to your viewers and customers alike.
5. Provide High-Quality Content
As they say, Content is the Key. Having a well-designed and user-friendly website is not enough if your content is low-quality. If you have ineffective content, most likely you will have lesser viewers.
If you are writing about your page make sure to highlight relevant information like Company, Products, Services and related information. Suppose you are writing on a blog then featuring interesting and highly-important articles is necessary.
Marketing your products and services effectively is important. However, bragging about your products and services is not right, especially when you are blogging. Blog readers prefer articles that can help them rather articles that focus about you only.
6. Clear and Consistent About Us Page
The About Page can be more popular than your Services page, Products and portfolio. That’s because people are curious about the person behind the website or about the company that runs the page. Even I click on About page of other website, just curious about the writer, designer or owner of the site.
Featuring key information about you makes a strong connection with your viewers and readers. This gives them solid information about you and the website you own. You will be able to communicate with your readers well if they have a piece of you already.
Aside from that most readers prefer websites with familiar and real person behind the page rather than vague and unknown person or company that runs the page.
7. Complete Contact Info
Clients get frustrated if you don’t offer complete contact information on your page. How can your clients contact you if you don’t have a contact page on your website? Make sure you have complete contact information.
Provide a valid email address, as well as contact numbers and if possible, mailing address. Getting a separate number for business calls and PO Box for mail is advisable if you are running a business or freelance work.
These are tax deductible expenses. Nevertheless, it makes you appear professional and sound more convincing. However, for other home-based workers it may not work but for others that work with large firms, it would make a huge impact and would make you a sensible choice for clients.
8. Provide a Search Box
Providing a search box on the top of your website will help a lot if you run a huge blog or website with thousands of articles and entries. This way, readers and potential clients will make use of your search box in searching.
You can use Google Search box and place a button on your website or if you have WordPress, or another blog platform you can use its search box. However, you will have to use static html for other sites yet there are available search box you can simply button on your site.
9. Offer Subscriptions
If you post articles and blog posts on daily basis you might as well let your readers subscribe. It is easy to add a subscription button on your website if you have WordPress. They will provide a feed address exclusively for your website. You can also sign-up at FeedBurner if you prefer or use Feedburner FeedSmith that will direct feed through your Feedburner account. This way, you can easily track your subscribers.
However, if you don’t have a blog you can offer subscriptions through email through companies that offer them. You will sign up and set up a mailing list for your website then they will provide codes for your website. Now, your viewers can easily sign-up using their email address. You can also collect email addresses at Feedburner. Actually, this is better than RSS subscriptions because through this you can get emails of potential clients. You can also track your subscriptions through numbers, statistics, RSS subscribers and updates through feeds without providing email address.
10. Effective Sitemap
Sitemaps are categorized into two: sitemaps for search engines and sitemap for viewers/readers. HTML sitemap are for viewers that needs guide in searching on your website.
In creating a sitemap, you must create a list of helpful websites accordingly. Placing a sitemap link on the bottom of your website is helpful. An effective sitemap is listed in hierarchical format where sub-pages and sub-sub pages are listed appropriately according to relation.
11. Separate Design and Content
We don’t use HTML for creating layouts and design nowadays. Highly-developed sites use XHTML and CSS or Cascading Style Sheets for their designs. Using <div> tags you can create text and images on your page without CSS file. You can easily the text which complements search engines.
Linking external CSS to separate your content from design leaves your HTML with text only. Then, a separate CSS file specifies the fonts, colors, background images and designs. The advantage of this format is that you can update one CSS file without going through the whole HTML page of the website. You can simply leave it there and change the code you like such as text colors.
Search engines prefer this type of format because they can easily distinguish your website when design and text is separate from one another. Furthermore, search engines can easily mark your page as relevant or irrelevant. Aside from that, the content loads a lot faster too which is advantageous for your customers.
12. Use Functional XHTML and CSS
Using valid XHTML and CSS is very important. Your codes should be accurate so it would work. There are two tools that can help you check if your source codes are functional. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) offers: W3C Markup Validation Service, W3C CSS Validation Service.
Writing valid codes means your website will load in different web browsers and search engines can easily distinguish and find your page. If you properly created and launched your website, various search engines can navigate through your contents with ease. Other than that, it would show how responsible and professional website manager you are. It will give you an edge among other website competitors too. Web developers may even check how efficient you are in placing source codes by checking your websites source codes without your knowing. If you want to avoid all complications in web design you can consider using the best website builder available online for everyone.