Getting the needed attention and traffic to your website can be very difficult. With so many websites up and running all over the world wide web, present-day internet users are a very picky bunch with short attention spans. Web users and visitors won’t waste their time checking out a website that doesn’t fit their tastes, catch their attention or engage them either visually or through the content of the site. Gone are the days of websites with too many graphics or too much happening on every page. If those 90’s websites were still the norm, most visitors would surely have seizures. Those flashing, unreadable fonts, graphics and pictures crammed on all spaces of your computer screen will want to make you punch whoever created the website. Fortunately, the 90’s are over and that particular trend in website design has changed with the tastes of internet users. With “90’s-type” websites mostly gone, clean, streamlined and engaging websites are in.

Today, a website’s usability, utility and visual design determines its success or failure. A user-friendly design has become the standard for any profit-oriented and successful web design. Whenever you’re creating a website or having a professional build the website for you, there are specific things that you need to know and things that may not normally cross your mind. Anyone who wants their website or blog to be a success needs one very important thing: website traffic. If your website is attracting people and creating good traffic, everything will fall into place. If you’re trying to sell something, you will generate sales, your website will become known, it will run across different search engines and it will meet the required standards just like many successful websites today.

Understanding Web Users

In order to apply these principles effectively, we first have to understand their behaviour patterns, how users interact with websites and how they think.

  • Visitors appreciate credibility and quality. If a page provides high quality content, they will be willing to compromise the content for a few adverts and the design of the website.
  • Visitors don’t usually read, they scan. Readers and users look for some fixed anchors that will guide them all throughout the content or page.
  • Web visitors insist on instant gratification. Most web users are impatient and if a website doesn’t meet the user’s expectations, then the visitor will not waste time moving on to the next website.
  • Most users don’t optimize their choices. Once they find a link that seems like it might lead to something they are looking for, they will immediately click on it.
  • All users want to have control. Users don’t want any unexpected popup windows and they want the ability to get back to a previous website they have been to before. Users want control in their browsers and usually rely on the consistent data presentation all throughout the site.

10 Principles for a World-Class, Engaging and Effective Website

There are many factors to consider in creating an effective and engaging website. We will present you with the top 10 principles to make things easier for you. These approaches will lead to more sophisticated design options and simplify the process of presenting content and information.

1. Keep Your Web Pages Structured

In recent years, we have seen an explosive trend in very good grid layouts and css files. Following the balance and structure of flyers, magazines and newspapers helps to lay out content and information in an easy to follow and structured format. Avoid placing different sized boxes anywhere and everywhere in the page; it looks like chaos and no one will spend more than a minute on a website with an unstructured layout.

2. Focus On What’s Important

Are you trying to build a website for one specific purpose only, like to sell a product or service? If so, you have to make sure that’s the focus of your website’s home page. If you’re building a website or a blog about scooters or mountain bikes, make sure that they get the needed focus and attention. All content should relate to your website’s primary identity. Try to limit advertisements if you’re trying to make money from the products or services you’re offering. Content should be 80% and adverts 20%.

3. Have The Right Color Scheme

A well-thought-out color scheme can go a long way to enhance the experience of the web user. Complementary colors create balance while contrasting colors for the text and the background make reading text easier. Vibrant colors usually create emotions, but you should use these sparingly. Vibrant colours can work for your site’s call to action and buttons. White space or negative space is effective at giving the website an uncluttered and modern look. Do not create a website with more than 5 colors. It’s too confusing for the user and they will likely leave the page.

 Vivid watercolor style color schemes to make the illustrations compelling. Image credit: code.tutsplus.com

Vivid watercolor style color schemes to make the illustrations compelling. Image credit: code.tutsplus.com

4. Make It Easy For Web Visitors To Scan Your Pages

A user will not spend more than 5 minutes trying to figure out what your page is about or what you’re offering. Make the page easy to scan to ensure that the readers will get the right information quickly. If you have long articles consisting of 1000+ words, put paragraph breaks in them. Breaking up the content will make it so much easier to read.

5. Make It Simple

Making everything simple should be the primary goal of web design. Users rarely take notice of elaborate designs because most of them are more concerned about finding the information they need. From a reader’s point of view, a top notch site is a site without many advertisements or none at all.

simple and easy to navigate layout. Image credit: www.designjuices.co.uk

simple and easy to navigate layout. Image credit: www.designjuices.co.uk

6. Focus On Creating Catchy Headlines

Words and text are very important as part of the content. Headline writing should be direct to the point, short and sweet. If you’re not good at this, hire someone who is. The headline or title is just as important as the design and content of your website. Having the right words for “call to action”, buttons, navigation items and page headings can make all the difference when it comes to visitor engagement.

Image credit: yokedesign.com.au

Image credit: yokedesign.com.au

7. Navigation Setup Should Hit The Spot

Navigation should be easy for people to find, click and use to move around the website. An effective navigation includes a logical page hierarchy, making use of bread crumbs and designing clickable buttons. Navigation should follow the “3 click rule”, meaning the user will be able to find the information they need within 3 clicks.

Grid boxes for easy navigation. Image credit: http://www.business2community.com/

Grid boxes for easy navigation. Image credit: http://www.business2community.com/

8. Make Your Pages Load Faster

No one likes a website that takes 10 years to load. To make your web pages load faster, optimize the size and scale of images, combining the code into a central JavaScript file or CSS file. Compress your CSS file and ensure your page is coded and designed to have fast loading times.

9. Fonts And Typefaces

In general, Arial and Verdana are the easiest fonts to read on any website. Ideal font size for websites is 16px. Also take note to stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces with a maximum of 3 point sizes. This will keep your website design logical, clean and streamlined.

Image credit: www.zeald.com

Image credit: www.zeald.com

10. Your Website Should Be Available Across All Platforms

People are now accessing the internet and all other information through their wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, thus it’s common for a website to be available across multiple devices and fit multiple screen sizes. Your website must have a responsive layout or you can create a website that is dedicated to mobile devices. Plus, you should follow the TETO-principle (test early, test often) to check on significant issues and problems related to the website’s layout and usability.

By taking these top notch tips on how to create an effective and world-class website, you will be able to make everything as easy as pie from the design stage to the launch stage. These principles will help your website to be as effective, engaging, useful and informative as possible to many users across the Internet.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.