All magazines are different, yet they are also all the same. Every magazine has a cover, content pages and columns in the front, a feature well in the middle and products and continued copy in the back.
When it comes to website design & development, all website are different, yet they are all somehow the same (or should be). At Kirk, we approach website design & development for every site we build with rules that should be common to all websites.
For example, there should be a logo prominently displayed at the upper left corner of every page. The logo should be simple, well designed with very few elements. Why? That’s what looks best on a screen. Serif type, complex illustrations and needless complications turn to mush on a website page.
Here’s a rule that developed over time and it’s something everyone expects to see. The primary navigation bar goes across the top. Put it anywhere else and you’re asking the viewer to find it. If they can’t be bothered they’ll bounce right off your site faster than you can say the word trampoline. Secondary navigation should be in drop down menus under the primary nav or along the left side of the page. Less important navigations should be in the footer at the bottom of the page.
At Kirk, good website design & development means that every page on the site should have the most important elements found on the home page, which includes all the navigation and branding, as well as the call to action and contact information. This is extremely important because the majority of websites are now reached through search, meaning that potential customers are most likely to land on one of your secondary pages that has the keywords they were searching for.
Like good print and magazine design, good website design & development means avoiding clutter and crowding. Photos should help relay information and fewer photos as well as some space around text makes a site easier to use and much more compelling.
Since the website–more so than a brick and more location–is now the true face of your company, it pays to use professional photos. Snap shots and amateur photos lead people to believe that you’re running an amateur company. The same holds true for spelling errors, bad grammar and proofreading mistakes.
Finally, a major component of website design & development is to include at least 125 words of SEO copy on the home page. This copy should be salted with your most important keywords. Google and other search engines look for the keywords in this copy and you can raise your search position considerably when it’s there.