Part 1 of 2
It’s a fact of the Net that some websites sell better than others, but you don’t need a marketing degree to create a website that sells. Good design also has an influence.Many of the successful internet marketing businesses understand that the design and layout of the website are as much of a marketing decision as the ad copy.
Web designers can do some amazing things with graphics and colors. It’s important here to understand some of the key elements that experienced marketers apply to their highly profitable sites. If you study these simple elements you can experiment on your own and see what works for you, and you too can create a much more appealing site when you apply classic principles to your handiwork.
Designs using dramatic colors can set compelling moods for your visitors. Think of the different colors you would use to design a site meant for preteen girls, and compare that to, say, one targeted at teen-aged boys.
Keep in mind, though, that reading on a computer screen — the main way we get the information we’re after –demands as much contrast as possible, otherwise the reader will develop vision fatigue.
Haven’t you ever come across a site with a painfully busy background or wallpaper, and odd color combinations — black copy against a light gray background, fuchsia on black– that sort of thing?
You don’t want to irritate or tire your visitors in any way just because of the initial impression of your web page. They’d leave –wouldn’t you, if it wasn’t your site? — so be certain that the main body of your website copy is black text on a white background – or as close to that ideal as possible.
Colors also change appearance on different monitors, so what looks cool and calm on one monitor may be bright and glaring on another. Simple works. Test your design on different browsers and monitors.
Striking, bold graphics can be a real eye-catcher for visitors. Still, successful internet marketers are pretty much unanimous in stating that you should avoid flashy graphics as much as possible.
Again, they tend to tire visitors’ eyes and draw attention away from the written copy. Even if visitors are initially impressed by the work, it may subconsciously annoy them. And not everyone uses DSL or broadband. There are undoubtedly people still on dial-up connection who would appreciate a faster loading web page more than a flashy, slow loading one. Simplicity is, again, the best way to go.
The first ‘fold’ of your site is similar to opening a traditional paper letter. If you remove a letter from an envelope that is folded in three, you will obviously view the top ‘fold’ first.
This fold is what individuals will see without scrolling down the page. It’s vital that important elements like descriptive headlines, your contact number, newsletter subscription form etc. all show in the first fold.
Don’t place banners here unless they’re the main element of your business, as you’ll be giving prime space to other websites and your customers (who you fought hard to get in the first place) will be gone just as quickly.
These are just some of the important elements you should be aware of when designing your site.
Just as an example, I highly recommend that you visit All Things Web, as both a resource and an example of a clean, easy-on-the-eyes website. Some of the references are way out of date but the principles behind them are timeless.
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