Tag Archive for: web design strategy

8 Effective Web Design Principles

If you read around you will come to realize that the approaches to effective web design principles don’t vary much from one source to the other. The simple explanation is that conventions are a good thing and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. That is not to say your website can’t have bells and whistles (although the need for them is debatable). The core principles of web creation don’t address details, but mandatory basics.

Define the Purpose of Your Website

Before collecting advice, tips and how tos, take the time to precisely define the purpose of your site. Why do you need one? (Do you need one?) What do you expect from the visitors (buy, subscribe, interact).

If you want to build a website just because it seems like the right thing to do in this digital age, save yourself some money. A site is not a virtual business card, its purpose is to provide the users with an experience that produces results for you and satisfaction for them. In other words, forget what you like and want and switch to user-centric mode. The fundamentals of effective web design are indeed revolving around the visitors.

Core Design Principles of Effective Web Design

The way users browse the internet has changed and so have their expectations. You may have a great offer, a beautiful product or a one-of-a-kind service, it’s useless if haphazardly laid out or if information is hard to reach.

Site Map

Users have become used to sites working a certain way. While a website can still be distinctive and original, navigation should always be logical, intuitive and seamless. An effective web design shows only as many pages as is truly necessary. Don’t think that the more pages you have, the longer they will browse your content.

Usability

Right along with navigation, usability tops the list of items that deserve your full attention. Users want to go from one page to the next as easily and quickly as possible. Keep it simple. Make it easy to recognize hyperlinks, find contact tabs or forms.

Layout

This is one of the key tenants of effective web design – users like to understand what they see at first glance. If they have to squint to find relevant information or pull back to take it all in, they will likely make their visit a short one. Focus on the flow, make sure elements are aligned and don’t shy away from white space.

Text Content

High quality, relevant content scores bigger than fancy animation and takes precedence over color scheme and interactivity. The consumer comes to your web site in a quest for answers, with the hopes you can answer a specific need. (Keep an eye on text to HTML ratio).

Visual Content

Pictures and videos play a huge role in effective web design only if they offer relevant support to quality content. Should there be too many and you will lose the user’s interest. It goes without saying all visual elements you deem necessary should be optimized.

Behind the Scenes Web Design Principles

A lot more goes towards improving the user’s experience than graphic design and friendly navigation. To make the most of your site and reap the conversion rewards you need to tirelessly work on optimization.

Responsiveness

If browsing your site on a mobile device is frustrating, counter intuitive and near impossible, you might as well close it down and start over. Traffic originating from mobile is consistently growing. Your website must be responsive across all devices.

Speed

You have only a few seconds to spare before a visitor click the “close tab”. The digital age has spoiled us and patience is no longer part of our process. Your customers expect instant rewards, a fast loading page due to effective web design is one of those.

Testing

Testing, fixing and testing again. The ultimate principle to follow to ensure your site is functioning properly, provides a satisfactory experience and bears no major flaw: speed, responsiveness, links, images, code. Test everything, starting early.

Effective web design goes beyond the mere visual beauty of it. From concept to creation, always keep the purpose and the user in sight. If usability conflicts with your own personal taste, choose wisely. Internet users are demanding and not very forgiving.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use a Free WordPress Theme

At first, a free WordPress theme for your blog may seem like a simple and effective way to garner attention and attract customers to your products. It’s true that there are a lot of color and layout combinations, and given the advantage of saving money, it’s easy to see why a free theme might be the way to go. However, a free wordpress theme will actually end up hindering you in the long run due to opportunity costs.  If you’re thinking about a free wordpress theme, before you finalize that choice, here are some things you should definitely consider.

A Free WordPress Theme is Not Unique

A free WordPress theme has already been created and made available to everyone. If you decide to go with a free WordPress theme, another business has also probably selected the same theme. More than likely, several other businesses have also selected the same theme. If you’re looking to make your business stand out, you want to make sure that your products, services, and platforms stand out from the competition. Consider a list of the top 50 free WordPress themes: big picture background, words laid over it. Impressive, right? Think again.

A Free WordPress Theme is Not Personal

Along the same vein, it is distinction and brand distinguishing that wins in marketing. If your product and platform looks the same as everyone else’s, it doesn’t matter if you’re offering superior quality. Branding requires a personalized touch that clearly separates your business from others, complete with qualities and features customers can’t find anywhere else. A free WordPress theme is not made with your vision in mind, and therefore has no ability to convey that vision, quality of service, dependability, or system of values. It’s a generic template with no life or personality.

A Free WordPress Theme Indicates Little to No Effort

If you settle for a free WordPress theme, it suggests to your customers that the products and services you provide are nothing special (see distinction). If you have a generic, basic platform, potential customers probably think your company is also generic and basic. If customers don’t believe you care to present and support your products thoroughly, they certainly won’t care to invest their money in those products. You didn’t invest in your own product. Why would they? A customer would no doubt prefer to see commitment and control. Speaking of control:

A Free WordPress Theme Offers Less Flexibility

A free WordPress theme comes completely set-up, right out of the box. As mentioned earlier, it lacks personalization, and you are limited in your ability to add to this. You have a limited ability to tailor it to your needs, and if you do so it’s at your own risk. What does this mean? Well, if for whatever reason you end up having difficulty, you’re on your own for the most part. That’s never good. Furthermore, you become reliant on plugins or add on packages, which may or may not be available, in order to stay up to date and secure. Essentially, it’s like buying a car, except you only get half of the trunk space, have to rely on maintenance to come to you on their schedule when something breaks, and you never get to look under the hood to make any real modifications. Would you drive a car like that?

A Free WordPress Theme Offers Poor Search Engine Optimization

This last heading is misleading. A free WordPress theme doesn’t really offer search engine optimization(SEO) to begin with. That is up to your business, your marketing department, etc. However, when you consider the previous points about personalization, customization, and the lack of support, it becomes clear how difficult SEO is when working with a free WordPress theme. Sound bad? It gets worse. When it comes to websites and hosting in general, the thing about free themes is that there is often some kind of cost in trade, usually in the form of a plug. Somewhere in the html, there’s likely to be advertising- only it’ll be advertising WordPress, rather than your business. That plug won’t help you climb search rankings. In fact, it will definitely hurt your rankings.

All in all, a free WordPress theme is not going to do enough for your business when you consider all the costs and limitations that come with it. Not convinced? Take a look at a comparison between a free theme and its premium counterpart. Even setting functionality aside, perception is king; having a custom made platform well tailored to the specifics of your company increases your image rather than taking away from it. In the long run, you’re better off with a professional, personalized website that is continuously customizable and upgradeable; one that fully expresses your vision and demonstrates quality of care and commitment to customers.