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2 min read

The 4 pillars of great website design

There are certain codes by which all great websites abide.

Whether you're just starting up or looking for a web-presence makeover, you'll want to consider the four pillars of excellent website design.

1. An attractive layout

Studies show that users form their opinion of a website's aesthetics in just 50 milliseconds, which means you need to start by focusing on the first impression that your website makes.

An important corollary to this point is that design should be not just attractive, but unique. There are plenty of flashy website templates out there, but your own site is not going to do its best job of marketing your company if it looks just like that of the 500 other businesses that used the same builder site.

For this reason, you should invest in professional web design to make your website specific to your brand, and find a firm that's got the goods to make your website create a positive impression in the first fraction of a second.


professional webite design

 

If anything's more important to web design than aesthetics, it's a logical layout. Photo credit: 707d3k.

2. Function over form

That said, your website also needs to be useful and easy to navigate. Busy sites that take a long time to load or aren't intuitively laid out tend to be frustrating for visitors. You may find yourself losing clients just because you've spent too much time creating a pretty storefront and not enough time making it accessible for users.

With that in mind, you should have a clear navigation plan for your site, taking into account what most users will be heading there to do. Berkeley's computer science department provides a helpful guide for making your website accessible.

3. Clear contact information

You're nothing if you're not findable. Even the most accessible site is sure to leave users with questions that they'll want a real human being to answer. So make sure that your site includes an easy and prominently displayed way to contact you. A related tip is that you should get an email address for your domain name. Few things look less professional than having a start-up whose founder and CEO can be found only @Gmail or @Yahoo.


website design social media SEO optimization

 

Make sure your site is fully integrated with social media to maximize your marketing power and SEO. Photo credit: Jason Howie.

4. Social media integration

Make it easy for your clients to promote you. Having buttons for Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites right on your homepage will help you further connect with your clients, and it will also help them do some of your marketing for you.

In addition, integrating social media elements into a website is known to boost SEO rankings. Word to the wise, however: Only keep as many social networking profiles as you're able to maintain. It's not helpful to your brand image to have a Twitter account that hasn't been updated in weeks or months.

Social media integration can also help you incorporate social proof into your website design, thus boosting your brand awareness. 

No matter where you are in your business's journey, taking the time to think about how you want your website to look and be is time well spent.


How to Build an Inbound Marketing Website

 

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