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The Essentials Of Effective Web Design

Bhauvik Tripathi 29/10/2009 12:00:00 AM

When it gets down to it, it is important to understand that web design is not just about the look and feel of any given web site. In actual fact to make a business website successful you need to know the essentials of effective web design. Web design encompasses many fields such as graphics however you may be interested to know that the graphics in general come last. What's far more important starting out is the layout of the site.

The layout will not only affect your search engine rankings but it will also affect how your visitors interact with your business website. In terms of layout think of it this way, simple always works best. You do not need lots of flash, what's more important is that your content is organised in a fashion that makes sense to your site visitors and just as importantly reads naturally. The key of course is to have a good fluid layout.

As mentioned there is no point having flashy logos and images if the visitor gets confused about what's in it for them. They need to find what they want and they normally like to do so in as little time possible with the least amount of effort. So keep it simple yet professional. By looking professional people will have greater trust in your business website. This in turn will make them more confident in doing business with you.

All in all when it comes to designing and developing a business website the first thing you need to be clear on is the purpose of your website and also communicate effectively the "why" in relation to why your business website has the best products or services available on the internet.

Purpose is critical and should be at the core of your design principles when preparing the your sites framework. So the first principle that is essential to effective web design is to have a definitely formulated purpose.

Once you have this at the outset you will have the big picture in mind. Like that of a jigsaw puzzle there will be lots of pieces that will need to come together and it is easier to put all the pieces in the right place when you know your overall purpose. Now that you have laid out your purpose you need to first work on visibility. In this case you want to get the most important content into the most visible parts of your site.

In general this would mean above the fold so that your site visitors do not have to scroll down the page to find what they are looking for or better still to find what you want them to see. In addition, now that we have a formulated purpose you are going to address the question of "why" or “what's in it for me”? This is the very question your sites visitors will ask while on your site.

Why should they do business with you and what's in it for them? So when it comes to the essentials of effective website design you need to be able to address these question in the overall layout and structure of your site. These are definite questions which I promise you each of your site visitors will ask. It is also important to address the question of building relationships with your site visitors.

To do so you will need to prioritise where your visitors can engage on your site or opt in to your mailing list to get more information about the product or service you offer. Each element of your design should complement the next element. The graphics should also point towards benefits and also further confirm the why? After all your business website will represent your company and if it looks anything but professional it will affect the level at which you do business.

To wrap it up lets go over three essential components to really bring your effective website design together.

  • The first is the look and feel which is more formally known as “aesthetics”. The look and feel needs to be polished and professional and just as importantly easy on the eye. Don't go overboard with flashy images or lots of colour. Remember, it is a business website.
  • Second is functionality. A dysfunctional site obviously defeats the purpose of functioning for you and your site visitors. So make sure the site is fully functional and easy to navigate.
  • Lastly SEO, which means search engine optimisation, put in place a logical and easy to follow hierarchy of links and relational content. Incorporate LSI which means Latent Semantic Indexing which in general means that the content and the words within it relate and all of your content relates to the general theme and purpose of your site.