Does your small business or professional website adhere to website design best practices? If not, it’s time for some modifications. You’ll lose visitors, customers, and followers if your website doesn’t follow website design best practices.
Website Design Best Practices Checklist
This succinct overview will help give you something to reference when you’re looking over your website.
Page Layout: Is your page appealing to your audience? Do you have a consistent header and logo across all pages (this reinforces brand insignia, gives a sense of security, and makes your website look more trustworthy)? Is the navigation area easy to find and consistent? Does the page title always informative, and does it always include the company or site name? Does the page footer have important information like copyright, contact us, and about us? Is your website responsive? Does it display well on mobile devices? Is there a good contrast between the background and the text? Does the site have content that is easy to read? Does the homepage pull in the user with stellar copy and make them want to learn more?
Browser Compatibility: Does the website display on the current version of Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Internet Explorer? Does it display well on desktop computers as well as mobile devices? Does the website look consistent across every browser, device, and platform?
Navigation: Are the basic navigation links clearly delineated and consistently labeled? Is the navigation easy for the audience you’re targeting? If the primary navigation uses images, is there text under the images for people who might be unclear on what the images mean? Is the navigation logically structured? Are there navigation aids (site map, breadcrumbs, redundant navigation)? Do all of the navigation links work?
Color & Graphics: Is the color scheme restrained (Is it limited to just three or four main colors)? Is the same color scheme used consistently throughout the site (Consistency is an important theme, and your navigation, header, etc. should be consistent across the site)? Does the text color have good contrast with the background color (Can the target audience read the text against the background)? Does each graphic serve a purpose?
Multimedia: Does every Flash/video/audio file serve a real purpose? Do the multimedia files enhance (instead of distract) from the site? Do you have captions and summaries for every image and audio or video file used? Do the images and videos download in a reasonable amount of time (Visitors will leave your site if they arrive at a multimedia page that doesn’t load in under three seconds)?
Content Presentation: Are common fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Verdana used? Do you limit your site to just a single web font? Does your content make use of headings, brief paragraphs, and bullet points? Are the same font sizes, fonts, and font colors used consistently throughout the site? Is the content meaningful and useful? Is the content timely and relevant? Does the site have new material?
Essential Elements of Modern Websites
In this second section, we’re going to cover the essential elements of modern web design. We’ve cherry-picked and organized some of the most useful and essential elements of modern websites.
- Call to Action Buttons
- Image Captions
- The Search Box
- The “Read More” and “Continue Reading” Links
- Shopping Cart Icon
- Progress Trackers
- “Coming Soon” Page
- Pricing Tables
- Search Results
- Block Quotes and Pull Quotes
- Date Stamps and Calendars
- Case Studies
- “Meet the Team” or “About Us”
- Maintenance Pages
- 404 Error Pages
No matter how you handle the aforementioned elements, you need to make sure they all fit into a responsive web design. If your web design isn’t responsive, your website will suffer more over the years. As smartphones and tablets start to replace desktop computers as the dominant way that people access the web, your website will fall behind in the search engine rankings.
Building great multi-device web experiences should be one of your main objectives.
What Does Google Say about How to Design Websites?
You should really pay attention to this section, because you should be designing your websites to appeal to Google. What appeals to Google is also going to appeal to people. This information has been paraphrased from the “Principles of Site Design” page on the Google Web Developers page.
- Use responsive website design
- Don’t make people pinch-to-zoom
- Keep menu items short and sweet
- Don’t let ads steal the show
- Make site search clearly visible
- Have filters so users can narrow search results
- Make sure search results are relevant
- Design simplified forms
- Make input as easy as possible
- Let users take a look around before they have to commit to something
Make it easy to come back to the same content on another device