The Internet has enabled users to publish and promote their work in new and dynamic ways. A visitor to the Internet has many choices of websites, blogs, etc. to view for information on a desired topic. Because of the vast number of options, designers of websites must make their work easy to read, follow, and access. Therefore, learning to create exciting web pages with dynamic content and an intriguing design/layout will lead to long-term success.
The first step to creating a website is to think about the content that you want to include on the site. Identifying the content helps you to also develop the general direction and concept for your site. First, consider the end goal of your site. What do you want visitors to take away from your site? Then consider the various types of information that will help visitors reach that goal. Research information on those topics and then start formulating how to order and organize them. For example, if you wanted to create a website about tourism in Florida to help people plan a trip, you would want to identify the major tourist destinations in Florida and then research information about each destination. After gathering all of the information about the destinations in Florida that you want to highlight, you would be ready to design your website.
Some general tips for website design/layout include the following:
- Accessible: Make your site easy to find
- Navigable: Keep your site easy to navigate
- Informative: Make your site easy to understand and useful
- Up to date: Keep your site current
- Engaging: Encourage visitor interaction by soliciting feedback
The most essential page of a website is the homepage. The homepage must be welcoming, informative, and include navigation links/bullets so that users can easily navigate from page to page. One easy way to accomplish this goal is by including a navigation bar at the top or sides of the homepage. The navigation bar should also be included on all of pages of the website as well so that users can easily change from page to page.
A neutral background works best. Avoid photos or heavy patterns for a background because your text will get lost. Let’s go back to our Florida tourism website. Even though Florida has many beaches, it is not a good idea to put photos of the beach as your website background because your text is likely to get lost in the busyness of the background.
Avoid fonts such as Blackadder ITC and Pristina because they can be difficult to read. Fonts such as Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial are good choices because they are easier to read.
Website Design Tools
Designing and laying out a website can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are many software programs that can assist users with website creation. Additionally, there are some free online tools that work well. One such tool is Wix. Wix is a free website creation program that allows users to lay out pages and optimize them for search engines such as Google. One example of a website created with Wix is Rockmoresales.com. This site is for a sales coaching company owned and operated by Mj Callaway, CSP. Mj successfully designed a website about her business that is easy to read and navigate by using Wix.
One example of a successful blog is Cat in a Wedding Dress. This blog was created by my cousin and features wedding venues, photographers, florists, etc. in the Pittsburgh PA area. My cousin’s blog was so well organized that The Today Show found a blog entry about my cousin’s third generation wedding dress. As a result, my family was featured on The Today Show on February 12th.
Creating websites and blogs that are organized, navigable, and informative will lead to success. Using headers, navigation panes, neutral backgrounds, and legible fonts will keep your readers coming back for more because you will earn the reputation for having a knowledgeable and desirable site on your chosen topic. Who knows, your website or blog may even be featured on The Today Show someday.