Design matters. Although content remains to be king, a viewer will not be able to access the site’s content if its overall design is not adequate. To put it simply: while content is reason why visitors come back for more, the website design keeps them from immediately leaving. The overall structure of the website should work hand in hand with content in order to convey its message to the right visitors.
So what’s make a good website design? Here are some things to consider:
- Consider its goal and its content. Obviously, the goal of the website will dictate several factors of its design. For instance, why create a 10-page website if a simple one-page structure will do you better? It’s an assessment of what kind of design will fit the site’s goal. But goal should go hand in hand with content. Will your content be able to justify your choice of design? Think, for instance, the TMZ and Entertainment Weekly websites. TMZ.com is a blog-like site that places new content on top of the page. Meanwhile, EW.com has a whole ecosystem of pages for different types of content. If one site uses the other’s design structure, it won’t be effective.
- Consider your audience. Know who you want to visit your site and base all of your design decisions based on that. If your website is a corporate site for a company with an established design scheme, you wouldn’t want to steer away from their template. If your site, on the other hand, is meant to sell toys for children, you wouldn’t want provocative or sexy images there. What works for a certain website may not work for another primarily because their target viewers differ.
- Consider the competition. Think of what’s already there—and how you can do improve on it. You would want to know what sites within your niche look like so you won’t copy them. However, it’s also important to know what particular elements of their design works. For instance, the Yahoo! homepage is an improvement of the template search engine pages.
- Consider search engine optimisation. Take note of design decisions that can hinder your site from being properly indexed by search engines. Splash screens, for instance, are not wise since search engine crawlers mainly index the text of a site’s main page. Even if your site is not content-intensive, make sure you have room for text, since crawlers index and understand it easily.