First of all, if you didn’t get the headline – Click Here.
Like music, good design is somewhat subjective – what one person or audience likes, may not appeal to someone else – there are certainly some general rules of thumb that can help ensure that your site isn’t just a one hit wonder.
In this post, I will focus mainly on the copy and content that you write for your site. Its a simple (and often overlooked) aspect of your site that can make a big difference in its appearance if you take into consideration these easy tips.
If you emphasize everything, then you emphasize nothing.
What is the most important message? What’s the first thing you want your visitors to know/read/click on? If a visitor comes to your homepage, they should know right away what you do and what can offer them. They should also have a clear call to action to get them to do something. Buy a product, learn more, sign up for your newsletter… whatever you decide is most important, get them to do it without having to explain it. Dumb it down if you have to. Use simple and short phrases like “Learn More”, “Buy Now”, “Sign Up Today” or “Click Here to Get Started”. Use bigger fonts,
buttons or graphics to help drive this point home.
Good graphics and headlines make all the difference in the world.
Even the most well written, exciting piece of content or post won’t stand out on its own. Use a clever headline or catchy graphic to get your visitors to read that wonderful content. Now, don’t just grab graphics from Google Images, be a bit more creative. iStockphoto.com (we use them all the time here at VI) offers an amazing selection of royalty free stock photos and graphics for as little as $1 or $2 per image. For blog posts and websites, you don’t need expensive high-res images – just go with whatever is cheapest. Better yet, dig out the camera and take some photos. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Block quotes are under-rated.
Block quotes are used all the time by professional news agencies when covering a large, copy-heavy article. A blockquote reinforces a powerful message or statement from the article and draws the reader in to want to read more. These are just as powerful as graphics and headlines. So when writing content for your site, if you want to emphasize a point, don’t just make it Bold or Underline it. It looks messy and breaks up the visual appeal of your writing. Use a block quote instead. It should also be said that not every site easily allows you the option to create a block quote – and if it does, the styling and appearance of it might not be quite what you want. Get in touch with us to learn more and help get your site set up to use them.
“If You Want to Emphasize a Point, Don’t Just Make it Bold or Underline it…”
When it comes to text, keep it light & clean.
As unoriginal as this may sound, dark text on white or near-white background is the most readable way to present your content. Having said that, you don’t always need to have text that is 100% black… having dark grey or mid-tone grey text often provides a softer contrast and a cleaner look and feel. Try writing posts and content using #666666 or #333333 color font. Both of these are fairly standard in the hexadecimal (web) color pallet. Whatever you do, don’t force your visitors to read tiny white text on a dark background… It will kill their eyes after only a few paragraphs.
That’s it for now… now take these tips and run with them. Look for more posts from me with design-related tips and trends that you can take action on to help make your site look that much better.