Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Creative Web Design: What's It All About & Where Do You Start?

The importance of creativity when designing web sites, is central not only in the engagement of your visitors, but also in keeping them interested in your products or services and compelling them to come back for more.

First impressions are also the last impressions. Your target audience’s first impression is the front page of your website

Here’s a few tips on creating creative websites…

An overall impression of Professionalism with ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ Pages
About Us: Tell your visitors a little about yourself and your business – When was your business established? What country do you operate from? How has your business grown and what is your vision for future growth?  Who are you - the brains and creativity behind the scenes?
You're proud of your business, right? So let the world know! A photograph will help promote confidence. Include an email address where you can be contacted, or a link to a Contact Form.

Contact Us: In addition to an email address or contact form, include your snail mail address and any other way you’re customers and prospective customers can get hold of you. 
This could include a telephone number, Skype handle or another instant messenger, Twitter or Facebook, but email and snail mail at the very least.

Ask your visitors for feedback and make it easy for them to contact you and tell you what they love and hate about your site.

All pages on your website should contain links to each other and to your home page.

Make Your Website Attractive
Select your colours carefully, if you’re unsure stick to web safe colours. Avoid cluttering your web pages with too much information – you could put visitors off with too many choices. 
Try to present your website with actions that flow from page to page in a natural order. At first sight you need to pique your visitors’ interest to continue further.

Comprehensive, but compact for quick loading
Optimize your images (discussed earlier in more detail), for faster page loading and keep background images to a minimum. Fancy background images make your pages more difficult to view, read and load distracting from the main focus of the website.

Text should be clear and concise and neither too large or too small. As a general rule of thumb, dark text on a light background is usually easier on the eye.  Fancy fonts may look nice, but aren’t necessarily available on  every visitors computer and may be less legible than more traditional type.

Capitalizing text is effective to DRAW THE ATTENTION, but capitalization of every sentence is much harder to read. The same is true of bold and italicized text – don’t over do it.

ALWAYS check your content for spelling and grammar mistakes. Nothing says ‘unprofessional’ quite as readily as poor sentence structure.

The use of frames is a controversial subject. While frames have their uses, they can also make your website less attractive.

Of course, if web design isn’t your forte, there are thousands of free website templates kicking around the Internet. 
These are three of our fave free template sources…

Open Web Design
Open Source Web Design
Free Web Site Templates

Something to say or know of an additional free web template source? Leave a comment below.


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