The goal of any website is to act as an effective and engaging calling card for your business or personal brand. Two essential elements involved in succeeding are site speed and content quality. Here are some important tips to get the most out of both.
Optimize your images to be the smallest file sizes possible. While high-speed broadband is becoming more universal with each passing year, many people still rely on slower dial up services and basic DSL. If your site is overloaded with images that are multiple megabytes in size, these customers will have a very poor user experience. The pages could take thirty seconds or more to load, giving these visitors ample time to get annoyed and surf elsewhere. Even on high-speed services, it is noticeable when a site has not optimized its imagery. Don’t let these images detract from your site’s overall value. Get those file sizes down into a usable range of no more than one hundred kilobytes.
Keep your content relevant. If your website promises one thing in its description, but delivers something entirely different in design and execution, then you will quickly lose visitors. You need to design your site to deliver upon the expectations of your brand. People are visiting for a reason, whether it is to see visuals of your company’s product or read your most recent original work. If, instead, you greet them with randomness or irrelevant content as part of your home page design, you are doomed out the gate.
Steer clear of unnecessary animation; keep your design simple. When the Internet started, blinking graphics and animated content sliders were all the rage, even if they offered nothing to content other than annoyance. It was just the fact that they could be done that spurred use. Those days are well gone. Today, a simpler, cleaner style is the expectation, especially with the rise of mobile browsing. These complex animations often detract from site usability due to both visual annoyance and load times. Some might not even load properly on certain browsers or on mobile devices. Keep them out of your design toolbox.
Use web standard fonts as the fonts of choice for your website. Yes, there are some amazing looking fonts available out there, but you can’t guarantee that your end user will have them as well, especially the more exotic ones. If you use them in your design, they will default back to a web standard on most people’s systems and you will not be able to control the end look and feel of your design. Those non-standard fonts could make your site unreadable for some people! Instead, design from web standard fonts from the start, so you know (more or less) exactly what your end users will see.
Develop your site using white space. You might have a lot you want to accomplish in your design, but cramming a site full of navigation panes and content windows becomes a chaotic, overly complex mess for the end user. It kills the user experience. Develop using white space instead. Map out how your content can flow across multiple pages in an engaging fashion. You’ll find this design much more effective than cram-and-jam style home pages.
Through these tips, you can design a more effective and usable website. Your visitors will be more engaged, and ultimately your page views will increase. Start today, and soon you’ll reap these rewards.