As an online start-up, all your eggs are firmly placed in the one basket. Your website is the only visible manifestation of your business, so it’s essential you get it right. Unfortunately, many don’t. In all the excitement of bringing the idea to life, the very fundamentals of website design can be lost. Many start-ups are created on a shoestring budget, so websites are often DIY jobs, or the work of the cheapest designers out there in the freelance market. And unfortunately, cheapest, does not always equate to best.
So, when you’re ready to start creating the visible face of your online business, here are 5 web design fundamentals you should follow.
1. Nail the navigation
Some things just work. The wheel works pretty well, as do memory foam mattresses. They do not need to be reinvented. Something else that works pretty well are simple navigation menus displayed very clearly along the top of a webpage. Studies have shown that browsers read horizontally along the top of the page before they proceed, so that’s the perfect place to have your navigational menu. Main pages should be listed prominently with sub-category pages appearing in a drop down menu below. Even these fancy navigational menus follow the same pattern, so stick with it.
2. Less is more
We get it. You want to tell visitors that your product or service is the best thing online bar none – that’s the passion of a start-up coming through. Passion is healthy, but restraint is central to effective website design. No matter how much you want to shout about your business, your design should be simple, clutter-free and contain no more than a couple of design elements on each page. There’s nothing more off putting for a visitor than a kaleidoscopic website with hundreds of different fonts. Imagine you’re decorating a house (not like Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen) and keep it simple!
3. Make it responsive
Even the most agoraphobic of misanthropic hermits will have noticed that mobile phones are a pretty big deal these days. Everyone’s on them, so much so that smartphones are now the most popular device for browsing the internet. When you’re designing your website, it’s essential you embrace the key tenets of responsive design. This will ensure your website looks its best on mobile and desktop devices, thereby increasing your potential reach by more than half.
4. Focus on content
Now that Google has expanded its algorithm to focus on the content of the site as well as the backend, it’s imperative you look beyond the aesthetic and focus on producing graphic design and written content that works complementarily to hone in on key products and grab the customer’s attention.
5. Make it readable
The hierarchy of design i.e. using the right font size to differentiate elements of design in terms of their importance, is central to the readability of your site. You should also maintain a proper contrast between the background and the font to make it easy for visitors to read. It sounds obvious, but something as simple as the contrast can have a huge impact on your bounce rates.
And there you have it, 5 web design fundamentals for online start-ups. Do you have any tips of your own? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.