No one likes a bad website. Everyone knows that feeling when they click the link to go to a website. Blank page. Garish colours everywhere. Impossible to navigate.
What usually happens? You close the webpage for assaulting your eyes and wasting your time. As the Internet once said, "Ain't nobody got time for that."
So, if you're looking to build a website for you business, this is what you want to avoid. You want people who get there to stay. You want them to look around. You want them to come back often.
What you want to do is to build a good website from the get go. Just like in real life, if you make a bad first impression it's that much harder to get them to come back to you.
Without further ado, here are some basic website guidelines to follow so that your website won't ruin people's lives.
This is the first step. If your website loads slowly, people are more likely to just close it rather than wait for it to load properly. This applies to all of the website. Even if all of the website loads but some videos or pictures don't, people will go eurgh.
One thing to remember if you are tweaking your website yourself is the images that you are putting in. Optimising images is a great way to start with decreasing loading times.
A great tool to use is Google's PageSpeed Insights. This is a great tool to give you an idea of how your page loads and what can be improved.
When you land on a website, within about 10 seconds you should either know who the website is for or know what the company does. If your website doesn't achieve this then it's not doing its job.
The biggest problem with much of the Internet is attention span. If you don't tell them up front this is who we are and this is what we do most people just close the page and give up. You need to be able to tell them what they are looking for instantly.
Here's an example from our own website (you can judge us all you want).
From first glance it is very clear what this website is for. It clearly states we do SEO. It tells you how we can help you, and you have a flow down the page from priority to priority.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate websites which are messy and badly designed. I hate it when websites look bad. In this day and age they really shouldn't be.
So what does this mean for a website to be clean? One way to think about this is that all websites have a flow. Generally, it's down the screen. What's important you don't want to break the flow. Also, you don't want too many visuals to break focus on what is important on your pages.
Now take a look at this:
This is definitely what you don't want in a website. I mean sure it states what the business does, but there are just things everywhere. There is no focus. You aren't sure what is text, what are images and what are links. The colours are all over the place and way too psychedelic. It just plain hurts to look at.
On the other hand, go back to the first screenshot of our website. Clean, simple, minimalist. It's a growing trend these days and you should be able to see why (even if the bad example is a bit extreme).
A website should be easy to navigate. Menus and links should make sense. The last thing you want to do is to have a website which is impossible to navigate.
As with all I have been hammering, if you make things difficult for people, people are not going to put in the effort.
Even if you have the most amazing content and everyone knows that it's there, no one is going to put in the effort to try find it.
If you look at our first screenshot, you can see a clear menu system up top with links to different areas of the website. Nice and clean.
As long as the menus are simple and laid out well, there should be no problems.
In this era, this is a very important point to consider moving forward. A large amount of people these days don't even own a computer. Many users browsing the Internet will be using either smart phones or tablets.
Either the website must look fine on mobile, or you have to have a mobile version of your website for these users.
A great tool to check your website with is Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. It's simple to use and should give you a rough idea of what needs to be done.
And there we are. Five basic points for you to focus on when building your website. Follow these, and you should do no wrong. If you want more advice, here's some professional help below.
This is where we get to toot our own horn and also those of some others we trust.
We offer basic web design services so hit us up if that is right up your alley.
If you want something a bit more in-depth or personalised, we recommend our friends at Hatch. These guys do an awesome job at website development so don't be afraid to flick them an email.