Thursday, June 21, 2012

Any public relations consultant, marketer or even your mother will advise you that the first impression counts. It is not a phrase turned cliché; it is a principle of life. This principle still holds water even in the Internet. The most crucial page in your website in terms of appearance is the homepage.
A well-designed, calming homepage endears to the user to view what else the site has to offer. A dull noisy homepage screams to the user click back.  Knowing this little secret here are some of the common mistakes that web designers make and why you should avoid them at all costs.





Large banner advertisements

Advertisements are great for raking in the money, but do not let them override the main objective of the website, your content. Large advertisements especially those at the top of the page reduce the visibility of your page. If a user opens to find your site with 70% advertisement and only 30% of content filling the screen, they might get distracted or get bored to scroll down to find more information. 
Large bans also contribute to page speed and the larger they are the more time the page takes to load. A user will wait for a few second before hitting back. Failure to load in those seconds results in loss of a client. Finding the balance is key, as you want them to read your offer and at the same time consider the advertisement.


So many advertisements!

Other designers move away from the large advertisements and opt for many small advertisements all over the page. Whereas it is an advantage to reduce the size of the advertisement ban, the increased numbers counters the wisdom of this move. The more they are again the lower the page speed. Many advertisements buttons contribute to a noisy page.
A noisy page is one that is very busy i.e. filled with too much varying content hence places a strain on the user’s eyes and mind. At the very least, it is irritating. The advertisements also work against each other as they are too many for the user to concentrate on a particular one the end result is that no one benefits not you nor your advertisers.


Stuffing texts

Like in a good outfit simple, yet classic always wins at the end of the day. Apply the same rule for the homepage. Let it have as little text as possible. In an attempt to display everything to attract different customers, designers make the mistake of cramming information. A lot of text on the homepage repulses the user, as many do not want to read a lot of content.
Besides, most people scan first the page before doing an in depth reading. Give them enough to scan but not enough to make them want more. Have a simple provision for less than 200 words of text that outline the basic mission of the company, the tabs to other pages and links  will do the trick in making the user click to get deeper into the  website. Invest in the minimal words and make them as enticing as possible without losing the objective.


Differing homepage from the rest of the site

Some designers know well of the above errors and how to avoid them. However, they create wonderful homepages and leave the rest of the website to suffer. The general design of the homepage should be the same as that of the rest of the pages. There should be a recurring theme in the whole website.
Try as much as possible to use the same font size of similar heading levels, similar colors for specific items and navigation tool should be in the same location in all pages. The same applies for linkages and advertisements. Keeping a consistent theme enables the user to immediately familiarize themselves with the site and navigate it easily.


Colors that scream run

Color harmonization is important in determining whether a browser will leave the site or stay on it and this decision is usually made in the first five seconds. Colors that do not blend in scream run from this site to the user. The user needs to get a relaxed and welcoming feeling immediately they open the site. The line between eye catching and eye sore is very thin so tread carefully. Get the help of software endowed with color symbolism or harmonization features to get a beautiful homepage.



About the Author:
Sandra Smith is a senior web designer with MotoCMS Flash templates team. She has been designing websites for more than 7 years and loves sharing useful tips with others.


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