As website designers, Anna and I visit a lot of websites.  We’re following trends in things like, content, SEO, and of course, design.  The design and general aesthetic of your site can either encourage someone to want to explore all of your pages, or X out completely.  No one wants to have a website that causes visitors to click the back button.  So, what can you do to keep visitors on your page?  It all begins with design.

Imagine walking into 2 different stores….

Store A sells a little bit of everything.  The lighting is kind of dark and dingy.  You walk in and find aisles packed with things to look at, but there’s no real organization.  There are objects in the aisles making them hard to maneuver around, and it takes you foooooor-evah to find what you’re looking for.  Just forget asking someone to help you find it…you can’t even tell who works here.

Store B sells home decor. (it says so right on their sign)  As you walk through the door, you’re greeted by a salesperson that says “hello” and asks how they can help you.  There is a flood of natural light, and simple decor.  There are wide aisles that are clearly labeled making it suuuuper easy to find what you came in for.  It’s clean and organized.  You’ve already found what you want, but this place is just soooo nice!  You don’t want to leave, so you keep browsing all there is to offer.

Sooooo??  Where do you want to shop?  It’s a no brainer right?  Store B has made it appealing and easy to navigate their store — That’s your new happy place.  Well, your website is your virtual storefront, and if you want to keep visitors browsing your pages and falling in love with your work, you have to appeal to them!  So, let’s set up your virtual storefront to attract your clients.

DESIGN CHECKLIST FOR YOUR WEBSITE

  • YOUR SITE’S FONTS – To give your website a cohesive look and feel, limit the number of fonts you use.  I have a confession…I am a fontaholic.  There, I said it.  I love ALL THE FONTS!  So much so I could probably give the folks over at Dafont a run for their money.  Buuuuuut, while I love collecting fonts, I restrict myself to only 2 or 3 for my website designs.  From a design standpoint, it’s always a good idea to stick to the same font for your headings, subheadings, and body text.  I tend to go for a mix of serif & san serif fonts.  (see below).  Can you see how visually pleasing the text all flows together?  In the example below, I chose Lato Regular (a Google serif font) as my heading and then a variation for the body and button fonts:  Lato Light.  For the subheading, I chose Playfair Display (a Google san serif font).  Using Google fonts will ensure that your text will be able to be read across nearly all devices.  You could also choose just ONE font (gasp!).  Yep, that’s right.  Use one font and it’s variations (italic, light, bold…etc) to create an elegant and cohesive look.

  • BRAND ELEMENTS – First, let me say, if you’ve never worked with a graphic designer to create your brand, I highly recommend finding someone.  They will help you come up with a custom logo, fonts, and colors to flow throughout your business.  Having those key elements in place will make designing your website a breeze.  If you already have a brand, use your brand elements to enhance your web pages.  Vary the colors in your brand as background elements to create sections of text and other information.  **Be careful of large and overpowering elements — These elements are best kept below the fold (bottom half of your site).

 

  • NAVIGATION – Make your site easy to navigate.  Remember when we entered Store B?  We were greeted and asked how they could help. Let your navigation do the same thing.  Your visitors want to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily.  Make sure your menu at the top is clear and helps them find that information without a wild goose chase.

 

  • ABOVE THE FOLD – Grab your visitors right from the beginning by keeping all of the most important information about your business above the fold.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…what fold??  Well, remember when the world used to read actual printed newspapers??  You know…before apps and e-versions took over?  The most important headlines were right there at the top half of the paper before it was folded.  Your website has a virtual fold, and that’s the initial screen that is shown when someone visits your page.  The top half of your homepage should be used to tell your audience who you are, what you offer, and who you offer it to.  Let them know right from the top that YOU are their best choice!  In the example below, you can see the photographer’s name, that she offers “photography for your business” and that she is located in Virginia.  As a bonus…she even has an image of herself.

 

  • FEELING OVERWHELMED?  Wishing you could just start over?  You might be ready for a Website Refresh.  Anna and I would love to create a beautiful new site for you!  Applications will be opening soon for our next round of Website Refresh.  Sign up for updates to follow along when applications open, and for more helpful tips for your website!