Top Ten Elements of Good Web Design
1. Contact info. Believe it or not, users may actually want to contact you. Don’t hide your contact details; savvy users know this is a sure sign of a scam. If you want a relationship with customers, make it possible for them to contact your sales or support team easily via email or phone. Be sure to add a form to enable sign-up for your email campaign.
2. Don’t try this at home. You are a professional in your field; you’re not expected to also be a design guru. If you want a professional look, hire a professional. Get references from colleagues and work with the designer until you’re happy.
3. Legibility. Your site needs to be readable. That means no super tiny fonts, no dark-gray-on-black, etc. Also, be sure to test on multiple web browsers. We offer a tool that provides a view of your site across all major browsers, enabling us to make coding changes that ensure cross-browser consistency.
4. Engage. Give people a reason to stick around and come back often. Post informative articles, ask them for feedback, provide an interactive community environment, let them play. Place a call to action on every page and track your conversion ratios carefully.
5. Don’t play peek-a-boo. What good is a well-designed site if nobody can find you? Develop a plan for search engine optimization (SEO). If it’s in your budget, hire an SEO expert; if not, make sure your keywords and metatags are set on every page.
6. Form follows function; this is the first lesson of design. Users want information and an easy way to find it. Don’t forfeit clarity for an over-the-top-design that people may be mesmerized by but never actually utilize. You’re not out to win design awards – you’re here to do business.
7. Organize sensibly. This isn’t Alice’s adventure down the rabbit hole. Design a website with clear and intelligent navigation. Structure your website into commonsense sections and use simple navigation nomenclature.
8. Simple domain names. True, more and more domain name options are disappearing, but do try to make yours as simple and easy to remember as possible. When in doubt, register a few options that will all point to your site (especially common misspellings). Ideally, domain names should involve keywords relating to your business.
9. Look sharp. Do use images and graphics to make the site visually interesting. Invest in high-quality product images and staff photos. Be wary of heavy Flash use; information in Flash files is not searchable by search engines. Find the right balance that keeps your visitor engaged in the site experience.
10. Make it secure. If you are selling product directly from your site, use a secure, integrated shopping cart – it presents the most professional image. Don’t depend on PayPal alone, although it can be a useful option.
Rose Lanaro is an Account Manager at OpenMoves.