Disclaimer: I am not a web designer. Not even close. But I do write a lot of content for the web, which has given me some insight on what aspects of web design draw in readers and let the content do its job.
This is one of those aspects of web design that if it’s done right, you won’t even notice. Navigation is what allows visitors to move from one web page to another. It is essential to the functionality of the site and the ability to absorb information.
The most important part of navigation is that it feels intuitive. There should be a clear path from one page to another, and shouldn’t be hidden or disguised, but instead should offer up information on a silver platter.
While fancy website design might be appropriate for some businesses such as a fancy car dealership or a high-end event planner, most websites would benefit from a dose of minimalism.
The simple fact is that nobody is coming to your website to see how it looks, they want to know what you can offer. Which means, the only reason people come to your site is to read your content. Don’t hide it behind fancy graphics and loud music. Make the design beautiful and understated so the copy — the reason people are on your site to begin with — can do its job.
I see a lot of websites that don’t use the footer for anything. This is a mistake. If a visitor has gotten to the bottom of your page, that is a very good thing. Reward them with a footer that actually is useful. Even if it’s just your contact information so they can reward your well designed and beautifully written content with a phone call or email.
The footer, when done correctly, can have a very high click rate. If you want to take it up a notch from just contact info, this is a perfect place to link to other areas of your site you want more traffic to come to, a contact form, a newsletter sign-up page, and so many more. Think about what you want to bring more traffic to and try adding it to the footer. Monitor the analytics on the page and see if they go up.
Obviously there is a lot more to web design than these three parts. However, I think if you nail these parts, the rest will naturally follow. Are there any parts of web design that I didn’t hit on that you think are important? I’d love to hear.
p.s. I have a guest post up at We Blog Better today! Check it out.