If you’ve ever placed yourself in the position of having to start a new website (which, if you’re a modern business you should have), then you know it can be a seriously daunting task. While you might need a company such as ours (www.srkinfosystems.com) to do the design for you, you might be able to get away with putting together your own website if your needs aren’t that large.
But the question is, where do you start? You know what kind of information you want to share and you have a general idea of where to go, but how to get started laying it out and getting it ready for the masses? We’ve all seen jumbled, confusing websites before—and they’re no pleasure to browse! And in this day of Googling everything, we can ignore those sites—which means if yours meets that criteria, you’ll get lost in the pack too.
Here are some simple tips to keep your web designs look good!
First off, we need to say this: the simpler your design, the better your site. Maintaining a simple design ethic makes it easy for you to keep your site up to date, which means that you can keep the content fresh. It also allows for your customers and readers to more easily track the changes you’ve made and keep up to date with what you’re doing. Most manufacturers of commercial goods have embraced this minimalistic philosophy to great effect, and you should do the same.
Another huge part of working with the internet is keeping things up to date. It’s one thing to have a great website running (some people even post their résumés online to gain visibility), but Google’s going to care less and less about your content if it never changes. Blog posts to new page materials to even just some new copy for your front page can make the same old design look fresh and new.
While you may not think of the content of your site as part of the design, it most definitely is one of the biggest parts of the design. While the layout and color scheme are visual and enhance the user’s experience, there’s not a soul on the planet that could appreciate a website that looked amazing that did nothing. Web pages are utilitarian, and even the best web design on the planet has good places for content and copy. Keep that in mind while you’re creating content.
Remember GeoCities from many years ago, and how those sites looked? Unfortunately, so does your audience. Thanks to platforms like HubSpot, WordPress, and others like it, there is absolutely no reason why a site should look anything like MySpace did when it opened up. If yours does, then no one is going to take you seriously. The design doesn’t need to be complex (see point number 1) but it does need to look clean and crisp. You wouldn’t go to an interview looking like Lindsay Lohan after a long night, and you shouldn’t let your site look like that either.
Most people are aware that the web is a multimedial experience. YouTube and Facebook, if nothing else, has proven that people want multiple forms of media. But when it comes to design, everything matters. Use quality graphics that not only fit your content but look and feel native. You can shoehorn any image anywhere, but you won’t be taken seriously if you don’t.
Also, be aware that fonts were developed for certain reasons. Serif fonts are mainly used for printed books as the serifs (the little notches at the beginning or ends of certain letters) make it easier to scan through a printed work. Sans-serif fonts (which are fonts that are missing those notches) are best for computers. Thanks to the lower resolution of our computer monitors (even the current Retina displays that Apple and others are using are 700 DPI less than a good quality printed book), the simple fonts look cleaner and more appropriate on them, as well as remaining readable at smaller sizes. Keep these details in mind when designing your site.
The biggest part of design other than simplicity is to stand out. If you look and feel like another website, you’ll be seen as copying their design (and treated accordingly). While you can certainly lift techniques from them (as all designers borrow from each other liberally), your design must be your own. You will never stand out in a crowd of blondes by bleaching your hair blonde. Be unique!