The web is a highly visual medium. Web users tend to stay on or leave a website based on the design, content, and other elements they see on it. Therefore, a highly effective website must impress, tease, and compel your visitors to step in and explore what you have to offer. To be able to create a visually stunning website, you must first understand the basic rules governing web design.
The content of your website should be easy to read
The most important rule in web design is that the content of your website should be easy to read and understand. Choose your text and background colours very carefully. As much as possible, try to use colours with the highest contrast from each other. Keep the alignment of your main text to the left. Center-aligned text is best used in headlines.
Your website should be easy to navigate
Make sure your website does not take too long to load and is easily navigable. Ensure that your hyperlinks are clearly visible to your visitors. Graphic images, such as buttons or tabs, should be clearly labeled and easy to read.
Anchor texts should be recognizable to your visitors – blue text usually indicates an unvisited link and purple or maroon text usually indicates a visited link – and should be unique. They should not appear the same as any other text in your web pages. Your aim is to allow your visitors to find what they are looking for in your site within three clicks. If not, they are very likely to leave your site as swiftly as they clicked on.
Your website should be easy to find
A very appealing web design can be useless if no one can see it. Make sure that your website is visible online and attracts visitors. Websites can be promoted online via search engines, directories, banner advertising, electronic magazines (e-zines) and links from other web sites.
Your page layout and design should be consistent throughout the site
Just like any document formatted on a word processor or like any brochure, newsletter, or newspaper formatted in a desktop publishing program, all graphic images and elements, typefaces, headings, and footers should remain consistent throughout your website. Consistency and coherence in any document, whether it is a report or a set of web pages, project a professional image.
Use call-to-action buttons and images
More than just presenting a visually-appealing website, business owners want to promote, sell, and invite customers to try out their products or services. To do this, make sure that the content, links, buttons, and images on your website use call-to-action words. This way, you can subconsciously ask your visitors and customers to do what you want them to. Action words and phrases include “subscribe to our newsletter,” “download our latest video,” and “follow us on Facebook”.