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5 Essentials for Visually Appealing Websites

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Think of your website as your digital store front. Just as you would diligently clean, organize and display your best work to attract clients, your website should be equally tidy and well-kept. According to a recent study by the 2012 Digital Influence Index, 89 percent of customers search the web before making a purchasing decision. In this ever-changing digital age, it’s increasingly important to make a lasting online impression in a short period of time. When it comes to visual web appeal, it’s more than just pretty fonts and colors, it’s about the right mix of aesthetics and functionality that speaks to your target audience.

Colors

Choosing the right color for your website is less about what you like and more about the emotional triggers that drive your audience. It’s important to make sure the color palate you select delivers a consistent message that represents your brand. Tried and tested theories behind the use of color in branding and logos prove that color selection can make or break the success of your business. Thelogocompany.net provides an excellent guide to color psychology to help you narrow down the options for your site based on emotional connectors.

Pictures and Graphics

A Taylor and Francis Online study shows websites have a 50 millisecond window of time to make a first impression. Images and graphics are a determining factor in encouraging a user to continue browsing. This is your chance to display products and services that convey the lifestyle your visitors aspire for. Keep images sharp, professional and, most importantly, pertinent to your brand. If you’re short on money and inspiration, check out iStockPhoto.com and browse thousands of artfully crafted images and tons of information to get your creative juices flowing. A go-to app for visual content is the presenter tool, a Swiss army knife for creating engaging visuals that allows you easily create presentations. infographics, animations and more.

Layout

Appealing layouts consist of a happy-medium of simplicity and creativity. Don’t make your design so complex that you lose the viewer. Keep it simple enough for easy navigation yet interesting enough to keep the viewer looking for more. Just as newspapers feature the most eye-catching news “above the fold,” your website should do the same. When it comes to placement, give visitors a reason to scroll down and read more. Don’t try to cram every bit of information about your company. Instead, use the top portion to pique interest in your offerings with creative headlines and images that drive the user to click through for more. If you’re a visual learner, kissmetrics.com provides an excellent “what not to do” guideline of what makes customers leave a website.

Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to credibility. Getting viewers hooked on your site is important but keeping them interested leads to action. Part of The Stanford Web Credibility Project’s findings showed that nearly half of all consumers assess the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes. If you’ve locked them in from your home page, don’t lose them as they navigate around your site. Keep the look consistent to encourage the customer to keep navigating. Consider Radiumlabs.com as an excellent example of simple yet eye-catching design that remains consistent throughout.

Usability

A great looking website is essential to capturing the attention of potential leads and creating a lasting impression. But if the website is difficult to use, all of your hard work goes out the window. Web users want to be able to navigate your site with ease. For service businesses, make contact information readily available for users to access. E-commerce sites should have simplified check-outs in place to make purchasing a pleasant and worry-free experience that keeps shoppers coming back.

About the Author
hindsite Payman Taei is the Founder of HindSite Interactive, an award winning web design and web development company. He is also the Founder of Easy WebContent, a cloud based Do It Yourself platform that allows everyone to easily create, edit and manage professional websites, presentations and infographics.
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