It is not enough to get people to visit your website. The most important things are to make them stay and visit again the next time they log on to the internet, and to inform other people of the existence of your website. Here are some helpful tips you should consider when designing your website in order to make visitors come back for more:
1. Your home or opening page should contain a clear explanation of what your site is all about. No one wants to waste time clicking on links and going through pages of text just to discover what your intentions are.
2. Your site must be easily navigable. A site menu at the top, bottom, or side of each page is very helpful especially for a first time visitor, especially if your site has lots of pages.
3. Your site’s content is its heart, so make sure that it has substance. The content is you talking to the visitor, so you should be concerned about making a good impression.
4. Your links should be clearly labeled. If a link leads to a guestbook, a ‘Guestbook’ name for such link is direct and straight to the point.
5. Dark text on light background is best for reading. Black text on white background is the most readable. Light on dark can work too, but it tends to be glaring for some people.
6. Your color scheme must fit the mood of the content of your site and suit your target audience. Whatever colors you use, make sure that they all go with each other. Clashing colors can be a major eyesore.
7. For uniformity purposes, the pages’ layout must be the same with one another unless it is completely necessary to break the pattern.
8. Make sure that your layout that is viewable for all screen resolutions. Avoid too-long and too-wide pages so that people with bigger screen resolutions would not have to scroll up-down and side-to-side.
9. A page with graphics, animation, Flash movies, and music takes more time to load than one without. If you bombard your site with these accessories, many visitors will not hang around and wait for the pages to load especially if they are using dial-up connection. Besides, too much of a good thing is tacky. Use these add-ons sparingly.
10. Follow all HTML standards so your website will be compatible with commonly used browsers, namely Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla. If you can make your site viewable for most browsers, so much the better.
11. Some browsers are set not to accept plug-ins. Some are set to text-only. Whatever browser settings the visitor has, you should have made sure that the site is still aesthetically appealing in all possible circumstances.
12. If you are going to use graphics, make sure that they are of high resolution. This is especially important if you are selling products and using photos to showcase your goods.
13. Before publishing your website, road-test it first by browsing through it as if you are a first time visitor. This is the best way to sort out any kinks that would have been otherwise overlooked.
14. If you have no web design and html knowledge, hire a web designer to build your site. If you have no web design knowledge but have little html knowledge, you may buy pre-made web templates.
In the end, freshness is the most essential feature your site should have. The internet is highly dynamic so do not let your site get stuck in a rut. Always keep your site updated in terms of content. Enhance the aesthetics of the site every now and then. If you think your site’s look is on its way to being outdated, do not be afraid of giving it a major overhaul. After all, makeovers seem to be the craze right now.