We all want a great looking website, but good websites aren't all about looks. Even artistic or creative people can get the design of a website wrong. Your website needs to not only look good, it needs to be easy to navigate and provide your visitors with a good user experience (UX).
In this article you'll see my list of what makes a good website good, and what common mistakes you need to avoid.
What is UX and why is it important?
You'll see the abbreviation UX from time to time. This stands for User Experience.
How your visitors engage with your website is important. If your visitors don't stay for long before hitting the back button or leaving the site, then Google will push your site down in rankings. This is why your overall site look, vibe and navigation is important. Below are my tips on how to provide your website visitors with a good user experience.
Set Up Logical Navigation from the Start
Before you begin setting up the Pages and Posts on your website, you need to map out your site's navigation.
This is where you need to go 'analogue' - Grab a writing pad and pencil, and map it out.
Your website's pages are the main over-arching headings. These become your main menu headings and are the top tier of your navigation. Pages can also be made up from your post categories.
Sitting beneath your Pages on a second tier are your Posts. These will be your info pieces, articles, courses, videos, menus, recipes, or whatever it is that your website is about.
Work out what you site needs, as not all websites require the same information or functionality. Spending time on this now and thinking of it from your visitors point of view, will help guide you in regards to what information needs to be included on your website. This will also save you a lot of time correcting things at a later stage.
Depending on your personal skills, designing a website can be exciting or it can be a nightmare. When in doubt, I recommend that you go with the simplest design you can to begin with.
Once you learn a few tricks, don't fall into the trap of adding everything you can. Sometimes all the 'bells and whistles' can be too much. It can become distracting to your audience. Tools such as count-down timers, or 'sign up to my newsletter' pop up boxes have their place, but they can also be annoying if not done correctly.
Keep it Clean and Simple
The topography (including all fonts and line spacing), the color palette, and the images need to be cohesive. Getting these right is what makes for a professional looking design.
You should avoid straying too far from the original options provided in a WordPress website theme at the beginning. What's important to begin with is getting your website up and running. Don't fuss over fonts at this stage as it's really not important in the big scheme of things. Fancy fonts can come later.
Certainly go with your own brand colors, but always be conscious of the overall look and feel of the site. What you'll start to notice with good websites, is that even the colors and hues of their images work with (and not against) the overall look of the website.
Avoid a 'Wall of Text'
I could have written and published this article as a long list of headings and text. It would contain all the same information that's in this article, but chances are you may not make it all the way through without switching off.
This is just the way we are nowadays. Your posts need to be visually appealing and broken up with great looking, relevant images, or broken down into visually different blocks of text.
Below are examples of different ways that text can be broken up by using columns, icons, and images to avoid the dreaded 'wall of text'.
A Responsive Site
What is a Responsive WebsitE?
A responsive website means it is designed so that it works and looks good on a PC, tablet and mobile.
To make a site look good across all of these devices means that you may need to tweak your pages as you go. Some things that look good on a PC don't work at all on a mobile. You will need to check your design especially when adding images, columns or comparison tables.
I find that most design elements seem to work well on a PC or mobile view, but need to be tweaked for a tablet.
Things to remember when starting on your first WordPress website are:
Getting your website set up, and a good structure in place is the most important thing to begin with.
Remember, don't get too hung-up on fonts as this will slow the process down. As much as you may not want to hear it, when first setting up your website, this honestly isn't that important as you think it is in the big scheme of things. Make sure you spend time first on the things that matter most (such as good content).