Look at other website designs as a reference
To avoid making the fatal mistake of designing a website with too many objects, pictures and weird color combinations, look at what other web designers did. Making a website that presents itself as what people would expect to see, encourages the visitor to stay and be sold on the actual content. Even if a person feel they have no creative ability, the common ground of knowing when something doesn’t look the way it should can be detected. Many websites that are seen usually have a focal point that lead the eye to seeing a single theme rather the person realizes it or not. When there are loads of gadgets, widgets, images, banner ads and random links randomly strewn all over the webpages of a website, the visitor becomes confused and depending on the severity, leaves quickly away from all that confusing activity.
The colors that are used would usually be subdued, like what is expected when looking at a photograph for a living room design. Of course, there is no rule for this because video game websites may lean toward using darker colors and have extremely dramatic graphics which is not only fitting to the theme of video game activity, but expected by visitors that come to that website. Lets look at the subject of “computers”. Most of the websites that computers are seen on as the dominate theme are usually using a white background with maybe the use of grays or pale blues for their secondary colors. How about websites that sells “flowers”? Would you expect to come to a webpage that predominately will use bold, rainbow-like colors or light use of tinted pinks, tinted blues, tinted greens and tinted violet colors? When choosing color for your website, here’s some tips that might help you get started:
1) Think about the product you are selling or the dominate content of your website. Which colors come to mind when you think of it? If it is about nature, perhaps greens and browns would be suitable. If the topic is about “Vacations”, the use of tinted yellow, tinted orange and sky blue would help create the mood.
2) Follow what others are doing for the main theme of your website. It may not be your favorite colors to use, but you need to step away from your personal preferences and do what is expected by people in general. If you decide to be the only video gaming website on the world wide web that is using a deep pink and a baby blue as your website colors, it also means you will be a rarely visited video gaming website.
3) If unsure about what color fits your your website theme, black on a white background never fails. Many websites using that color scheme do very well, because they are simple, load faster and are easy to read. As you add pictures and some light advertisements to your webpages, it will begin to develop color naturally without being gaudy.
The problem with banner advertisement is that they are designed to attract attention to themselves as much as possible. Once you add three or more of these banner, you suddenly have a side-show that wants to be the main event. The text content needs to be the most predominate feature on the pages. This means that affiliated banners to help you earn some money, need to be as subdued as possible. Some ways you can do this is:
1) Place 468X60 banners should be placed as low as possible if their colors are too bold. One trick you can do to see if they will be too much of a distraction is to look at your webpage squinting your eyes and see what actually stands out the most on first glance. If your banner screams “ME!”, put it on the bottom of the page.
2) Most affiliate programs have a large selection of banners to fit on your page. Try to stick with one that is small (like a 125 pixels by 125 pixels banner) that can be placed off to the side of your primary content. A 120 pixel by 240 pixel banner with subdued colors (tinted colors) in it should be the largest size you can use for the side of your primary content.
3) Lets apply the old cliche’ “Lesser is better”. Use only one banner per affiliate on each webpage. The necessity to have visitors see the banner advertisements is the main reason why people add so many to all their webpages. I don’t know the reason for this, but I’m assuming there is this belief that the more you shove something in someones face the more they are proned to submit to it. Trust me when I say that only one small banner for each affiliation you want to sponsor for each webpage of your website is the most that is needed and it will definitely be noticed.
4) Keep your affiliation ads relevant to your page subject. Affiliate banners are a great idea to use for additional income, but that is all they are for. People won’t visit a website about tractor repair just to read the ads about joining a “Super matrix, get-rich program”. Try to use an affiliation he might be curious like “Alternative Fuels for All Vehicles” or “Heavy Duty Tires Cheap”.
5) Use text links instead. A row of various text links that have interesting, click worthy dialog would draw more attention than a banner anyway. A text link that says, “New, Natural Method Guarantees Weight Loss” says more than a banner that says “Nutra-slim Delight”. Besides your text ads being more interesting when read by your visitor, you can use much more text links on your webpages without it removing the focusing point being your content.
Keeping “Add-Ons” under control
Using add-ons, like Java-script games, website widgets, RSS feeds, Bookmark buttons, sound files, videos, pop-up windows and so on is not a bad thing to do, but should be used sparingly. Not only does it crowd the pages, but they slow the page load time and in many cases can irritate your visitor. Forget about what you really like to have on your website and consider what you really need to support your content.
1) When using sound. Allow your visitor to choose with a control if they want to hear sound from your website, the same applies to any videos. I’ve never met a background sound or self-starting media player website that didn’t bother me.
2) Video game widgets doesn’t belong on a website about political debates. Keep your add-on activities relevant to your content. In fact, find widgets that are useful and can support your content. A weather forecast widget will work for a website topic about future trends in local weather patterns, a street map widget works for a website about real estate sales and home listings and a calculator works for a website about mortgage rates.
Making sense of your website design requires making yourself the visitor. It is hard to do, but If you build based on your personal tastes, you’ll find that you can loose more people than win over. Commercial websites that sell products need to be more focused on fine tuning their websites for visitor expectations. Although, the key is to have excellent content with persuasive dialog, people can easily be turned-off if there is something completely out of place on the web page.
The rules for a good website design can only create guidelines to work in, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that not applying them wont work. There are extremely graphic websites that work really well and look great all around without irritating their visitor’s eyes, but you may find by removing a few banner ads, choosing only one or two simple colors and making your body content the main focal point of your webpages can make a difference in how long your visitor will stay to read your content.