We live in a world which is quite exciting as far as technology is concerned. Even the newest webmasters today can make use of some simple web design gear that can add efficiency a web programmer could have only dreamed of just a few of years ago.
Although you might think this is great, in fact, quite the opposite is true…
The fact that such web mastering tools are easily accessible has resulted in hundreds of “rubbishy” websites that have so much going on on each page that the web surfer feels totally inundated.
As an example, some of these web pages contain as many as 7 or 8 separate content sections contained on an 800 by 600 pixel screen such as a flashing header graphic, several paragraphs of text, an opt in form, Google ads, Amazon ads, affiliate links, audio and/or video buttons to click on, sometimes even more!
Don’t let yourself get tempted to make such obvious mistakes. It is doubtful that most of your web visitors will navigate on such a site and enjoy their experience. When there are too many decisions to make, there will be too many distractions. And any real content will be utterly lost amongst all the technology, flashing banners and advertising.
So you may ask yourself, what is the answer? Most triumphant webmasters today–that is webmasters who have their visitors coming back time and again to their site and who are earning money and/or getting some positive response–will tell you that the answer is neat and uncomplicated web design. Practicality is the true key.
Designs for great websites focus on 3 basic values: simplicity, transparency, and speed. Therefore, you will need a website which is visually appealing, but which is also easy to navigate and which can download in little or no time.
To design a site which is visually appealing, you can make use of graphics which are simple, colours, and graphical text. At any cost, stay clear from any flashy media animations and busy backgrounds. In actual fact, a white, cream, or light yellow background with black or dark blue text is finest, if you want the majority of visitors to be able to read your text faster and more easily.
You don’t have to be a talented graphic artist to design a content site which will be visually pleasing. Take hold of a photo or two from a free stock photo site such as www.sxc.hu, add some coloured text to it with a tagline using a graphics program such as Windows Paint or Paint Shop Pro, and that’s all that is really required for the header.
Navigation should be provided through simple text links or buttons, either across the top, right under the header, or down the left or right side of your screen. Make sure that the text indicates clearly what the user will find when he or she clicks on them.
An optin form as well as one or two simple ads can also be positioned in the left or right panes, with your content in the main center panel. Your content pane should occupy the largest space on your screen, so that it can successfully draw the reader’s focus.
Neat and simple web design goes as far as the way your content is layed out too. For example, your text will be more readable if it is in “pieces”, meaning short sentences and paragraphs of 2 to 4 sentences maximum each. Make a free use of coloured subheadings and bullets. You can also add a graphic or two on each page to break the text up and add some visual interest. Make sure you use some margins (padding) around your text, so that it doesn’t go right up against the edges of your navigation and ad panels. Lots of white space is central.
To conclude, many budding webmasters (and even some more experienced) think that squeezing as much “functionality” into every page as possible is the proper approach to website design. The fact is that it is not. What will definitely keep people on your site and keep the, coming back too, is a neat, clean, simple and easy to navigate design.
James Reid is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.