When it comes to hiring somebody to design a website for your business, you’re usually paying attention to the goals you’d like your website to achieve. In other words, bringing you business, and converting visitors into leads. But there are other important factors that have to be kept in mind as well, and a professional website design company should help keep you moving in the right direction.

Page Structure

Separate from the URL structure, (an important issue in it’s own right), the structure or layout of your page has an immediate effect on it’s user-friendliness and usability. A recent development in effective web design principles has seen attention paid to the same kind of grid layout systems used by magazines. This allows you to arrange your content in a convenient, user-friendly way, making it easy for visitors to find the information on your website.

Of course you don’t have to use a grid layout. The point is simply that, when it comes to web design, it’s important to use a structure on your pages that is logical, and easy to read. Don’t just place a random arrangement of boxes on your page…users won’t know what’s important, and what they need to focus on.

Focus On Your Core Goal

Are you designing a website to promote your business? Whether you’re selling a service or a product, it’s important that your home page is focused on it. Make clear to your users what you’re offering, and how they can get it. Not only will it improve your optimisation, but it’ll help your conversions as well.

Don’t clutter your home page with advertising, irrelevant content, or anything that might tempt the user to leave your site. If you do want to advertise on your site, make sure the ads are relevant, and unobtrusive.

Making The Right Colour Choice

Picking the right colour scheme is an integral part of website design. The link between colour and emotion has long been recognised, and on some level, it will affect most, if not all, of your users.

This doesn’t mean you should go wild with a riot of colour though. Colours should blend, not clash, and departure from the overall colour scheme should serve a purpose, such as highlighting important navigation, or areas involved with site goals.

Easy To Read

People online are in a hurry. They’re on your website for one purpose…to find information. If they can’t find it straight away, they won’t be sticking around. The best way of helping users find information is to make your pages easy to scan.

Use headings and bullet points to highlight important information, and break your content up into short, easy to read paragraphs. Design your website so that it’s easy to read, and more people will find what they’re looking for.

Keep It Simple

People like things to be easy. And to keep them interested and engaged, it’s your job to keep it simple. For example, it’s a proven fact that sign up forms with 3 or less fields for people to fill in have a significantly higher completion rate than forms with more than three fields.

Make sure that, whatever it is that you want your visitors to accomplish on your site, you make it as easy as possible.

Copy Matters

The words you use on your site can be just as important as the design of it. Keep your writing short and to the point. Also remember that all your writing should be natural and readable. Don’t stuff your copy full of keywords to try and convince search engines that you’re important.

Writing naturally about your subject should be enough to make the topic, and your relevance, fairly obvious to readers and search engines alike.

User-Friendly Navigation

Visitors to your site should never have to look to hard to find what it is they need. Design your navigation to be clear and readable, both to your users and to search engines. Consider making the navigation to an important page, like your sign up page, a different colour to the regular navigation, to let users know it’s important.

Readers shouldn’t have to click through 3 separate pages to get to your product or sign up page. Keep the important things out front, where people can find them. If your site is big enough, you might want to consider a search box, although these can have their own limitations. When it comes to good website design, usability is key.

Fast Loading Pages

If there’s one thing you should have figured out from this article, it’s that people online are impatient. If they have to wait ages for your page to load, they’ll click back to the search engine and try a different link. So optimise your page for fast loading. Remember to compress your CSS, use Google-hosted javascript, and ensure your website design is planned with optimal load times in mind.

One thing you should never do is make the text on your page an image. Text is supposed to be text, and to help both search engines, and users, read it, it has to be text. Not to mention the fact that clear, high res images will add significantly to your pages load time.

Fonts and Type Sizes

Typography is is an important, but often under-rated aspect of website design. Although there is often much debate on the kinds and sizes of fonts to use, perhaps the most important aspect to keep in mind is consistency. Pick an easily readable display font, and stick to it. You may use a different font for the title of each page, but even that is by no means necessary.

Choose distinctive, but not overbearing, font sizes for your headings, and use the same size and font conventions across your whole site. Don’t design your site with multiple different font types and sizes. It will confuse visitors, and detract from the readability of your website.

Web Design And First Impressions

Despite what people claim, books are frequently judged by their cover, and websites are no different. When visitors and potential clients arrive at your website, it’s the website design that’s the first thing to greet them.

Make your pages visually appealing, and ensure that the first impression you make is a good one, with effective website design.

If you found this article useful, you may want to read Common Web Design Mistakes as well.