In this age of one-click, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) site builders, the barrier to website creation is basically nil. Just choose from the many available tools that are available on the net today, and get cracking. Working knowledge about basic style elements, design principles, and HTML5/CSS is entirely optional.
But this “democratization” of the website building process has a huge downside: most of the core tenets of good site development often ends up getting lost in the mire. Now, the internet is filled to the brim with websites with horrible UI, online shops that don’t work as they should, and blogs with content that no one wants to read.
If you don’t want your startup’s website to be among these casulaties, here are some of the essential elements of an effective and successful site:
Clean and Consistent Overall Look
When choosing the right colors for your website, don’t go crazy on the hues. Go for understated colors (unless your business has been specifically branded to use neon and other loud colors). And don’t rely on too much visual noise either. Keep the animations, flashing lights, GIFs, and autoplaying videos down to a minimum. The style trend that is in vogue today involves clear and simple lines, with uncomplicated graphics and lots of white space. This kind of design works because it focuses on the most important part of your website – the content- instead of the superficial visual trappings.
Responsive design is not just a buzzword- it’s a key technology term that can either make or break a website. It means that your website can readily “respond” or adapt to the size of a user’s screen. With most people today accessing the internet from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, not optimizing your site for them would be a huge no-no.
Intuitive User Navigation
Your website might look pretty and trendy, but it’ll be useless if visitors can’t get to what they’re looking for. Make sure your navigation buttons can be easily accessed (put them on top or on the left hand side for maximum effectiveness), and keep the menu items to around seven sections or less. Subcategories should be limited to around three or four per tab to avoid confusion. Always aim to use descriptive titles like Meet The Team or See Our Products so that visitors will know exactly what they’re clicking on.
Meaningful and Valuable Content
A solid content strategy can ensure that your website will have repeat visitors. Good content is not just promotional material- it’s something that adds values to readers. It can either entertain, inform, or educate them. Your content should:
- Answer questions that visitors might have about your business or your website
- Expound on topics related to your niche
- Educate your readers about subjects that you are knowledgeable about (especially if you want people to see you as a though leader in your field)
- Explain what your products and services are, and what good they can do for your customers
Keep your content error-free (without grammar and spelling mistakes) and SEO optimized, and the visitors will come rolling in before you know it.