How to Layout Your Website
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of designing a website. Here are some fail-proof design strategies that will help you design a website that looks great and clearly communicates your site to visitors.
1. Put your headline at the top and center of the page.
Some of the best websites read like a newspaper. People want to know they’re at the right place when they visit your website, so it’s important you put a clear and concise headline at the top and center of your page. Be careful not to cram the headline too close to the top because it could be mistaken for an advertising banner.
2. Include a call to action above the fold.
The “fold” is the viewable area on your screen without requiring you to scroll. A lot of people don’t assume there is content below this area. When creating your website, make sure that whatever you want your site visitor to do “next” is visible without requiring them to scroll down the page.
3. Place your logo at the top left.
A logo should be used as a way to build your brand and a subtle reminder to visitors that they are on your website. Make sure your logo is not the main focus of the page. A common and effective design strategy is to place the logo in a smaller size at the top left of the screen.
4. Position your navigation menu across the top or down the left side of the page.
If your website has less than eight pages, it’s best to place your navigation menu across the top of your page. If you’re going to have more than 10 pages, put your menu vertically down the left side of your page. The vertical approach allows you to keep adding pages to your website without having to completely rearrange your menu.
5. Duplicate pages to make web design easier.
Are you on track to the perfect layout? If so, copy the page and use it for the other page layouts. This will save you the time and hassle of trying to create multiple pages that look the same. If you are a WebStarts user, you can do this by clicking on file > new > copy page and then choosing to make a copy of your original page that you want to copy.
6. Contrast your background and font colors.
The best-designed webpages have a stark contrast between the text and background. For example, if your background color is black, use a white or off-white text. However, the most readable webpages use a black text and white background.
7. Select readable fonts.
Don’t get too creative with your font styles. The characters of your fonts should be easy to read. Also, try to limit your website to only two different fonts. You can highlight the importance of specific content areas by using different font sizes, instead of different font types. Great website designs have the largest fonts at the top of the page and slowly decrease the font sizes for subheadings as you scroll down toward the bottom of the page.
8. Choose readability over creativity.
While creativity is great is many areas of design, make sure that your creativity does not distract from the content of your site. Your design, including logos, pictures and videos should be an extension of your brand and encourage users to use your product, donate to your cause, or join your organization. Make sure that your design elements complement your cause, not detract from it or confuse visitors.
This guest post is courtesy of Adam Barger, founder of WebStarts. Adam has more than a decade of experience with Internet marketing and entrepreneurship. In 2006, he founded WebStarts, a free website builder that has built and hosted more than three million websites. It offers its customers several online features, including domain names, customizable designs, search engine optimization and technical support. The newest feature of WebStarts is the Designer Platform,which helps other entrepreneurs start their own design and hosting businesses.
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