How many times a day do you search for a restaurant on Google, head to their website, and then immediately lose your appetite after seeing the design of the page? For me, it happens almost every time I go out to eat.
I’m a Des Moines fanatic, so I’m always looking for new places to eat in the vibrant city, and I know restaurants are popping up all over the place. The problem is, most of these restaurants have websites that are irrelevant, hard to navigate, and downright gross to look at. Some don’t even have websites—but that’s an issue for another day.
Unless I’m craving something specific, I would guess that the last three years I’ve wanted to go out to eat, I’ve searched the phrase “restaurants in Des Moines” and chose my restaurant from that list. Almost all tourists in Des Moines do this too, unless they actually take advantage of the concierge at the front desk.
My main point is: your company needs a website that’s appealing. And this applies to publications more than anything.
What not to do on a website:
- DO NOT have too much on one page: Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, especially when online. If viewers get overwhelmed or have an information-overload, they will just leave, according to this website.
- DO NOT link random words: Users should know what they’re clicking on, no matter the circumstance. Otherwise, they’ll ignore the link.
- DO NOT have banner ads or important information that resemble banner ads: according to bannersnack.com, 54% of users ignore banner ads.
- DO NOT ignore the use of white space: Sometimes, readers need a break from the text. And in this case, white space can include a nice, big image, too.
What to do on a website:
- DO have a menu bar: Navigation is key, folks.
- DO have theme colors: Something easy on the eye, with neutrals and complementary colors.
- DO include a couple of bold colors in that theme: All neutral colors can get boring, but too many bold colors can be distracting.
- DO feature images: According to Jeff Bullas, an expert in digital, social media and content marketing, articles with images get 94% more views. Images can also include infographics and graphs, which is a great way to share information that’s also pleasing to the eye.
- DO have a direction: Again, navigation is key. If a user doesn’t know how to reach the article they’re looking for, they will give up.
- DO have a search bar: With social media on the rise, many articles spread through “share” buttons. People talk about articles, and others will want to be in the know. With a search bar, they can find it easily.
- DO keep an “F” or “Z” formation, with most important information in the top left:
According to this study, people are more likely to keep looking at information that is further left than anything else. Just like reading a book, many people start to the left, gaze to the right for a little bit, and then scroll down with their eyes. This means the most important, relevant or timely information should be on the left.