Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 Tips For A Great Website

1.  Provide good navigation. Clear headings that get readers to the information they’re looking for quickly and easily are imperative. Search bars are great, but even something as simple as a site map listing all links in one place can help. For more tips on good navigation, click here.

2.  Use a clear, consistent, and clutter-free layout. Headers, sidebars, navigation, and footers should be clear and concise, remaining in the same place on every page. Consistency is key to making a professional-looking website. De-clutter your pages using a simple layout to relieve visual stress.

3.  Pay attention to fonts. Keep with the same font for all paragraphs with a separate one for headings to provide emphasis. Classic fonts, such as Times and Cambria, are always in style. Feel free to get creative but avoid over-used and difficult to read fonts such as Papyrus or Comic Sans.

4.  Plan out your colour scheme carefully. Think of the emotions and symbolism behind your colours and make sure they reflect what your company or service is offering. Stick to two or three complementary bold colours. Use subtle tones in the same colour families for backgrounds and sidebars.

5.  Keep it short, but not too short. On the Internet, patience is not easily found. If it takes too long to read, people won’t read it. Use subheadings, indentations, and bullet points. Alternatively, try linking to a new page that reinforces your ideas.

6.  Ensure browser compatibility. Making sure your website looks great on other browsers is a must. There are five main browsers competing for users: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. While it may be difficult to work with all of them, making a webpage with at least three in mind should please readers.

7.  Keep links current. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a dead link. Be sure to check your website at least once a year to update links and resources. Adding new links regularly keeps content fresh and demonstrates that the company takes time to research their resources.

8.  Integrate with social media. Take advantage of the huge communities behind networking sites, where media can go viral overnight. Facebook fan pages are one way to attract new customers, but other great social media can also show off your company’s best qualities; Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn are just a few.

9.  Add a comments section. Allowing readers to instantly respond to what they’ve read not only increases the connection between your company and your client, but shows you what works and what doesn’t.

10. Remember speed is key. Not everyone has access to a fast Internet connection, so keep flash files, video clips, and intensive graphics to a minimum. The decision to exit out of a page is a quick click away if visitors get frustrated waiting for your page to load.

This post was written by Life Strategies and is available in a pdf tips sheet: http://lifestrategies.ca/docs/10-Tips-for-A-Great-Website.pdf.