Eye catching web design doesn't have to be complicated. If you've filled your site or blog with relevant SEO terms that draws potential clients in, the key is to concentrate on simplicity of use for clients to learn all about your small business.
Avoid going for flashy, over designed graphics
Potential clients don't go to your website looking for impressive Flash plugins. They want to know what you're selling, how you can solve their problem and where you're located. In order to answer those questions, you can use the simplest designs imaginable.
Make it super easy to find things
When you are designing the menus for your website, make the order logical and consistent. If you are a hardware supplier and nails are a major part of your business, list "Nails" on the menu of the front page and nested below in a drop down list each size of nails you carry. Do the same for washers and your site will make it quick and easy for customers to find what they need without having to click the back button or make guesses about where they can find what they're looking for. This method raises your SEO rankings since an customer who searches for a specific size of washer can go directly to a specific page thanks to the carefully selected search terms scattered throughout your individual pages.
Make each page scannable by human eyes
Visitors don't come to your page to read an epic novel- they scan to see if your page has what they're looking for. If they don't find it within seconds, they'll probably hit the back button and look at your competitor's website instead. If you're trying to cram as many words in to rank higher on SEO, the glut of text will turn your potential readers off. Go for short sentences and bullet points.
Learn where your visitors will look first
The bad news is that website visitors don't read a web page in a liner fashion, as they would with a printed. They scan in a particular fashion, and once you learn how to follow them you can put your most important information where they expect to find it.
Popular sites have trained visitors to look at certain parts of a web page first. Thanks to Amazon, most people expect the top right of a page to feature a shopping cart. The right side of a page is where readers expect to find links or special offers. Readers expect to find a menu that will quickly lead them back to your font page at the top of each page. Once they find your logo there, they'll click on it expecting to return to your home page. Take advantage of their expectations in your design and you'll make it much easier for them to navigate your website.
Learn to love white space
As web design matured, businesses learned that they did not need to fill their sites with every browser safe color in the rainbow. The human eye needs to rest, and an overwhelming exposure to color can be too much. The "white spaces" that feature no color are an effective way to contrast brighter colors.
Are you not to sure about where to put white spaces? Use your own eyes- if you and your employees feel as if your eyes are strained while reading your own site, you can be your customers' eyes will as well.
Use colors effectively to brand your site
If your business already has a logo, it's likely that you've already learned that a couple of colors are the most effective way to brand your business. Twitter uses a soft blue for their website, and Amazon has made effective use of "Amazon green." Use the colors of your logo in your site, and the more you repeat them, the more you strengthen your brand visually. The human mind love repetition and patterns, and by using one to two colors you can use the simplicity principle as well as keep your brand squarely in your customer's minds.
Test your site and respond to feedback
Very few small businesses get their web design right on the first try. That's why it's important to solicit opinions while you're going through the design process. Try to find someone who has had no part in your design find a particular thing on your website, and watch her as she tries to find it.
About the author
This post comes from Sarah, a writer and blogger with Orange Digital, a web design agency in Brisbane. The Orange Digital blog has recently featured this post about SEO-friendly web design, which should be good for a few pointers for those of you getting going on your first website.