When you are putting together a web site for your business, you want to follow a particular pattern when someone is viewing that content. In general, people navigate and search in a certain way; therefore, you don’t want to have too many diverse sections when designing your web site.
There are some firm guidelines that you should follow when designing your web site:
Effective Home Page Design
With a home page, there are two main functions:
- Provide the visitor with the correct navigation and search options to allow them to find content right away;
- Promote important content by using short and punchy headings and summaries.
Clear Navigation Menu
Each web page must have a set of essential navigation that is visible when the first screen loads. This should contain key areas within the web site. This navigation should always begin with a link back to the home page of the web site. Links that should be included besides the “Home” page are the “About” page (what the business is about), “Products,” “Customers” and “Contact.”
Consistent Page Layout throughout Site
Every page on the web site should be consistent in layout and design. Each page should have a heading and summary; and be sure to include author name and date of publication when appropriate.
Large Sans Serif Fonts
It is recommended that you use sans serifs fonts such as Verdana and Arial on the Web because they are easier to read on a screen the regular serif fonts. The font size should never be lower than 8 point for summaries and headings on home pages with the standard being 10 point. A black font color for text behind a white background is best.
The masthead is the top of the page area, and this should stay skinny like that of the newspaper, which will allow you to fully maximize the amount of screen space that you have available for the content. This should contain the business logo, search box and a set of vital links.
Footer on Every Page
Easy-to-Load Pages without Heavy Use of Flash and Graphics
It is imperative that you keep the focus of your page on textual content. There is nothing wrong with having small graphics or small thumbnail graphic that links to a large one to view. However, do not go overboard with using flash programs and high-quality graphics that can slow the loading of web page. If a page doesn’t download quickly, people will move onto another site.
Even though most web sites are will load correctly with Internet Explorer, you want to make sure that yours can be view correctly with Firefox and Safari. Test repeatedly using both browsers and different versions.
Don’t Generate a Splash Page
This serves as an introductory or initial page to a visitor before they can advance to the actual home page. This is self-defeating in purpose as it forces a person to through an additional and redundant page before they can do what they came to do. In other words, they will stop visiting your page altogether.
You should be use many of these to help increase optimization – you’ll receive a higher ranking on the search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Be sure when you add one that you use the color blue for an un-clicked link and purple for clicked. Hyperlinks are navigation aids so you want your selected colors to be simple.