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Derek Crowden | blog

Some fundamental WordPress design tips

Oct 3rd 2014 at 3:03 AM

Around 50% of websites built in 2014 will be in WordPress. It is an easy-to-use platform that is scalable and has massive functionality through the addition of plug-ins. In addition, templates are relatively easy to edit so that we produce unique websites without too much effort.

In this article we'll take a look at some of the fundamental tips you need to take into account whether you are designing a WordPress website or using an online website builder. Getting things right from the ground up will really help you down the line when you have a thriving business that you want to scale up.

Think about your colour scheme

When you are building your website you need to think about the colour scheme that is going to be most appropriate for your target audience. Every day we come across websites that are black background and yellow font. Most of us will immediately leave the website because of the negative connotations that are brought to mind. You need to really profile who your target visitors are so that you can get the website right for them.

Take a look at colour psychology research and have a think about where which colour blends, will best appeal to your audience, and have the most impact. Your colours should obviously relate to your brand. If you don't have a logo yet then you need to start unifying your whole brand through a colour scheme across from stationery, marketing materials, logo and website. You should also think about your social media profiles and get them aligned too. Your colour scheme, just as your typography, will say something to your audience above and beyond the words you speak. Therefore you need to strategize carefully.

Think about your layout carefully

You also need to think very carefully about the layout of your website. You need to break the pattern of thinking like a web designer and start thinking about your website as a website user. Where are people going to be coming from to your website? What are they going to be looking for? Do you need to push them towards certain content first?

You may want to use a top menu and a sidebar for navigation in order to ensure people have minimal clicks to get to where they want to get to. However, this could be confusing and you really do need to think about the audience you are speaking to and how much time they have to go through your website. If they are going to tend to be on mobile browsers then you probably don't want a side menu that will consume screen space. In this case you'll have to think about a very responsive design and perhaps even an out of screen swiping menu.

A good place to start is to take a look at the websites of other people in your sector that are doing what you want to do. Take a look from the point of view of the user searching for products and services and see which website is easiest to use. Note down different elements that are good, and what to avoid, and get your website representing the best of what is out there at the moment.

The layout of your forms

The forms that you use, or the e-commerce platform that you integrate, will go a long way to dictating the success of your website. You need to keep forms simple in their layout and not ask for too much information. They must be visually appealing and in prime real estate though. You want people to interact with you so that you can actually benefit from the website. Having millions of visitors to a website is pointless unless you are actually deriving some financial benefit. Again it's a good idea to take a look at the forms of the most successful companies in your arena. They will probably be getting good conversion levels through their forms.

It is really easy to design forms through WordPress, and there are lots of there are lots of plug-ins that you can use as well. You really have to think about the user experience though. If users are browsing through multiple websites you want them filling your forms. This will mean making them more appealing visually, and easier to interact with than anything else out there.

Think about your sidebar designs.

As alluded to earlier you don't want your sidebars to provide so much information that visitors are overwhelmed. You need to ensure that sidebars provide easy navigation and as logical structural flow through your website. When it comes to web design these days less is most definitely more. If you can have easy access to information through your website without a sidebar then there is no need to incorporate one. If your sidebar can have simple visual elements to direct people through to where they need to go there again that could be a lot better than having text heavy explanations and menu items. Having a search bar in the sidebar will often be quite useful, especially if you have any information heavy website. The golden rule is to make your website as accessible and intuitively logical as possible.

When you are building a website you need to start first with the user experience. Too many developers and designers start with the website design and then think about usability. If you do it the right way round you will ensure that people can get to where they want to faster and that the information that they see is easy to assimilate.

Nothing turns people off more than coming to a website and not being able to find their way around or being overwhelmed by information. Think about your website as a place for the visitors where they can get to the end goal of purchasing a product or service simply by navigating through snippets of information and messages that reinforce what they need. Get decent hosting so your website server doesn’t slow them down and provide a great all round experience.


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