A lot of emphasis has been put on content recently – especially in the context of online marketing and building a successful marketing campaign. And as important as content is, there still lies a lot of importance in your actual web design and functionality. At Electric Dialogue – we dabble with all things online and whilst we run SEO campaigns and Social Media campaigns, we also design and build websites.
The reason why I’m writing this blog post today (and not last month) is because I’ve seen more and more examples of bad web design lately. As someone who guest-posts regularly, I often send content out to blogs. Do I like sending my (great) content to rubbish-looking website and blogs? Not really. But it’s necessary and some people put little time into their blog design, concentrating on getting content on there instead.
I’m not trying to prioritise one over the other here – web design and functionality is just as important as having great content. But what I am trying to say, is these elements should be entwined and they should work together. It shouldn’t be a “one or the other” choice. The fact is, for people who are atheistically driven (and like looking at nice things) they’re unlikely to stick around on your website and blog if it looks messy, unprofessional or just plain rubbish. Which means they probably won’t ever get round to reading your content anyway.
I mean, look at it this way… Out of these two people who would you rather have an intellectual conversation with? Who’s knowledge would you trust more? Who would you more likely trust?
You know nothing about these two individuals – and yet, the more professional of the two is more likely to warrant more of your time. The same goes for web design. So how can you start tuning your blog or webdesign in the right direction? Well here are a few tips we put together…
If you’re spamming people with banners and adverts within seconds of them visiting your website – they’re going to close that tab quicker than something really quick. Keep your website looking clean and tidy and free of too many adverts. Of course, it’s understandable that your website or blog may have a few banners and adverts on it – but just don’t over load it, because it not only becomes difficult to differentiate between content and adverts (which you don’t want). It also just looks plain messy.
In terms of “real world” examples…? A simple gold necklace is nice, it looks OK and looks like it belongs around your neck. It you put 10 gold chains on, you might be worth more… but you look stupid.
Navigation is key
Nothing gets me more annoyed on a website when I can’t find what I need. Not because it’s not there – but because the website is just so shockingly put together that it’s near impossible to navigate around it effectively. Look at other websites very similar to your own and look at the kinds of layouts and themes they use. People like the familiar – so keep your design similar-ish to theirs. Of course, I say similar, but by that I mean a similar style – not an exact duplicate copy. Got it? Great. (I thought this photo was funny) Haha silly cat.
For the sake of navigation, make sure you have a search box too – and make sure it’s easy to find. Put it somewhere at the top of the website, where the eye is naturally drawn too. Have category’s too – or at least an archive that can easily be accessed.
Don’t forget Typography
When choosing your font, think about your audience and your readers. Is you blog aimed at corporate financial types? Go for a corporate font because they’ll recognise it and feel comfortable reading it. Is your blog aimed at arty-types? Then maybe choose Helvetica - because art and design types love it. Try and stick to one font too (two at most… no more) – if you start using lots of different fonts, the whole thing can just get messy, illegible and to be honest – people won’t stick around long enough to try and adjust their eyes to the crazy font-disco happening in-front of them.
When designing your blog, don’t just jump in head first and pick your favourite colour. Think about what colour actually means, and what it might communicate to your reader. We’re so accustomed to visual images now – that we usually interpret images and colours without even realising it. To give you a brief idea of what colours you should be using – here’s a quick list to get you started…
Blue: Often used by corporate brands. Can often signify trust and responsibility too – which is why it is often adopted by financial brands and websites (like banks, investors and lenders). Dark blue is often seen as a royal colour, something to take into consideration if you’re selling a luxury product. Oh and travel of course! With the sky and sea both being blue – travel blogs often choose blue.
Red: Red is a passionate colour, but also a demanding and urgent colour – which is why we often associate red with sales and warning signs (so becareful mixing financial blogs with the colour red – as it has bad connotations). Red is also a romantic colour though, so if you’re blogging about love or romance – this is a good route to take.
Yellow: Associated with the sunshine – this is a pretty optimistic colour. If your blog is light-hearted this could be a great choice. Yellow is also viewed as an energetic colour too, and is a pretty neutral colour as it doesn’t have any negative or overly-strong connotations (think of brands like IKEA – who use Yellow is a great way and which makes their brand seem friendly and fresh).
Green: Running a health blog or an eco-friendly blog? Green is a pretty safe choice if so – as it’s usually used to portray anything natural, healthy or worldly. A rich, dark green is often also associated with money though(being the colour of US dollars) – so be picky over your shade, and pick wisely.
Pink: Bright (fuchsia) pink is a very young and energetic colour – so if you’re targeting a young (feminine) audience with bags of energy this is a good colour to opt for, it could also be interpreted as sexy – so that’s another niche you could use it for. Baby Pink (or Pastel Pink) is often interpreted in quite the opposite way though – often used to connote sentimentality, maternal instinct and babies.