Because web browsing is such a visually intense activity, it is important to apply the best website layout tips to your site design. Making your site easy to navigate and explore is essential to attracting and keeping visitors. After browsing many successful and not so successful websites, here are my top website layout tips.
1 – Keep the most important “stuff” above the fold. This is based on an old newspaper rule that editors followed to make sure their readers didn’t miss out on the big stories. In website layout terms, this means you need to keep your most important content above the scroll. If a user can’t find out the essentials your site has to offer before they scroll down, then you will probably lose them.
A quick peek at the “In-Page Analytics” feature offered by Google Analytics will show you that most of the links people click on your site happen above the fold. This means you need to put links to your main sub-pages near the top as well as any key information about what your site is all about. Any tag lines or official logos should be at the top of your page as well to encourage your brand’s strength.
2 – Keep it simple. Otherwise known as the KISS Principle, this website layout tip reminds us that less is often more. Do not try to cram every single piece of information onto a single web page. Create a logical flow and organization to the information you need to present and then do so simply. Use simple color schemes. Limit the number of fonts you use to 2 or 3 and make sure they are easy to read on all types of browsers and computers.
You can check out how other people view your site with online tools like BrowserShots.org. This service is free and simple to use. Once you input your website url into the search box, it will return nearly 100 different screen shots showing you how others see your site. This is a very useful tool for trouble shooting problems that end users might report when coming to visit your site.
3 – Learn how to limit your web page dimensions. Because not everyone is using the exact same computer screen as you, you need to make sure your website is coded to adjust automatically to the screen it is being viewed on. At the very least, limit the width of your page to no more than 775 pixels. This will prevent a horizontal scrolling bar which is one of the most annoying features of any website.
Once you’ve worked on following these tips, come back and we’ll share three more website layout tips in part two of this series. Is there anything specific about website layout that you want to know?