Sunday, April 14, 2024

Enhance Your Site’s Professional Appearance with These 9 Simple Web Design Tricks

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People frequently ask me, “How can I make my website look more professional?” in my role as a Happiness Engineer on WordPress.com. I bet you’re curious about that as well. We will break down the concept of a “professional-looking site” in this piece. Where does that air of professionalism originate? We’ll find out. The next step is to turn this knowledge into a series of easy-to-follow instructions that anyone can follow (without prior training). All set? Shall we begin?

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1. Explain what you mean

Your site needs an idea if it wants to appear professional. An obvious one. Think about the people who will be viewing your website. Visualize your target demographic and the things they might be seeking. Customer persona development is something we’ve covered previously, but it’s crucial enough that it deserves reiteration. Envision yourself meeting one of every possible kind of person who could be interested in your site. For example, could they be dog lovers, first-time parents, educators, etc. Identify them, tell us what they do for a living, and share your preferences and gripes with them. Once you have a good grasp on who they are, think about why they would visit your site (make sure to write everything down).

With that data in hand, you can assess your site objectively. Tell me how your site can cater to those requirements. What type of material are you looking for? And which features? Upon arriving at your site, what are the most common expectations of your visitors?

2. Provide an organized framework (easy navigation)

I know how tempting it is to dive headfirst into site construction when you first begin working on a project.

Putting your best foot forward won’t be possible with that, though. My suggestion is that you instead plan out your site’s architecture in a tree-like fashion. Layout your menu from top to bottom: your homepage at the top, and a branch for every page you want to include. Keep adding branches, keeping in mind that keeping everything on your site accessible with no more than three clicks is a crucial SEO (search engine optimization) best practice.

Thus, you may desire an About page, a Contact page, a Blog page, and possibly a Shop page in your menu. Afterwards, you may include an About this site section and an About me section on your About page. Make sure you plan out every aspect of your site’s architecture.

3. Choose the typefaces

When starting out with website creation, typography is a task that is often overlooked. There are a lot of moving parts when you launch a website, and fonts are probably the last thing on your mind. Still, they have a lot of influence, and if you know how to use them, they can boost your site’s traffic. The typefaces you choose to use on your site convey a great deal about its tone and character.

Just use one for the body text and one for the headings. That should be it. There is an art and a science to selecting the perfect font family. However, artistic talent is not required to succeed. No problem. It is entirely feasible to discover a decent set of fonts that complement your style; after all, there are tools for everything these days. If you’re designing a site that’s similar to another, make a note of the fonts you like on that site. If you come across one that catches your eye, you can utilize a service like My Fonts to determine its identity. Then, to ensure that you master that particular pairing, you can peruse some font pairings here.

4. Choose an appropriate color palette

Picking a color scheme for your site with care is something you should prioritize. More than meets the eye. Your site’s professionalism, friendliness, openness, and other qualities are reflected in its color scheme, which in turn affects your site’s success.

When your favorite color doesn’t go with the message you’re trying to express, things can get tricky. Reading up on color psychology might be helpful; doing so is enlightening, and knowing it will help you create the appropriate atmosphere on your site, connect with visitors on an emotional level, and encourage them to take action.

5 Pick out high-quality pictures.

Everybody knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. This has never been more relevant than when designing websites. Use only meaningful, contextually relevant, and engaging images that contribute to your site’s subject matter if you want to make the most of their power.

You probably have a lot of images on your site, including your logo, favicon (site icon), header, featured images, product images (if your site has an online store), and any other images you may use for posts or pages. Make sure the pictures you use support, clarify, or enhance the text you’re using to make your point.

6. Make sure there’s lots of empty space.

When you’re just starting out with website design, it’s easy to overlook this part of the process. The empty space around your page’s elements is called a white space. They can be very noticeable, like the white space around your images or paragraphs, or very subtle, like the space between menu items or paragraph lines.

The purpose of white space is to create visual harmony, give the viewer a break, and direct their attention from one element to another on the page. It’s crucial for achieving a clean, contemporary design on a website. Plus, it’s exactly as simple as you’d think. Stuff your page to the brim.

7. Get the permalinks optimized.

The “permalink” is the address that search engines use to display your post or page when they return results for a query, or the address that you type into the address bar to access your post or page. The “slug”—the portion that comes after your domain—and your domain itself (yourname.com) make up this. The term “permalink” comes from the combination of “permanent” and “link,” which means that these addresses will remain on your site for the duration of the page or post. Because of their influence on search engine optimization and the user experience they provide, they are essential.

8. Make material of high quality.

This is the most challenging item on the list to tackle because different sites would have different definitions of quality. But I’ve already sorted out the commonalities.

Looking at the big picture, regardless of the specifics of any given site, having quality content entails:

Unique material—not plagiarized, even if written by you!
High-value content—that is, content that is both informative and engaging for site visitors; content that delves deeply into the site’s subject matter and contributes to its overall purpose.
When we get down to brass tacks, quality content means:

  • Make sure to spell-check your work before submitting it to ensure it is free of typos.
  • Prioritizing what should be visible to visitors without requiring them to scroll down by keeping important content above the fold
  • Aim for readability by avoiding lengthy blocks of text and scannability by incorporating visuals, lists, subtitles, etc.
  • Writing at an eighth grade level is good practice (though this will vary depending on your audience, but generally speaking, it applies to most) and favoring simple language over complex jargon.
  • The “inverted pyramid” approach states that the most crucial details should be presented first, with supplementary details being added at a later stage.
  • Being clear and always using the active voice

9. Incorporate the appropriate features

Out of the box, WordPress offers a plethora of features. Plus, there is a growing library of plugins that you can install on your site to add even more functionality.

It’s simple to feel overwhelmed and even easier to go overboard. Keep in mind the groundwork you laid when you initially articulated the idea behind your site. Make a choice based on how it will benefit your site’s visitors and their requirements.

Extra: Before I leave you, there is one last piece of advice I must give you.

Establish a routine of checking your site for functionality on a regular basis. Perform this on both the front end and the back end, in your admin area. For example, make sure there are no updates waiting for approval. Additionally, on the front end, which is your actual website. Stay vigilant with your links; verify that they lead to the intended pages, test your forms, and ensure that your social media buttons are active. Check that your search returns relevant results, that your mobile and desktop versions are in sync, and so on.

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