The 5 Commandments of Effective Web Design

The 5 Commandments of Effective Web Design

Whether you realize it or not, every time you visit a website you make a split-second decision on whether you like that website or not. Design can either make or break your website.

What constitutes great website design depends on a lot of factors including the target audience and the purpose of the website. However, no matter the situation you find yourself in, the following 5 rules will always prove relevant and worthy of note when building your site.

1. Keep Your Homepage Simple and Free of Clutter

In our modern world where everything moves at light speed, the less people have to do to get where they want on your website the better.

Most people skim through pages, looking for keywords and cues to get what they really want; and the last thing you want to do is to get in the way of that.

Use images, prominent calls-to-action, icons, and legible byte size paragraphs to get your point across and lead the reader toward the action you want them to take.

The jury is still out on how many words are appropriate for a homepage, but nobody in the online community doubts the wisdom in the saying that sometimes less is more. You’re safer using minimalist strategies like images and icons to appeal to the emotions rather than covering your homepage with text an unnecessary clutter.

However, for SEO best practices, it is always advisable to have a minimum of 500 words of content on each page.

2. Make Sure Your Website Content is Easy to Read

6 Industries Being Disrupted in the Digital Age

The more thought you put into your content, the easier your visitors will find it to make use of your website and get the information they want. This does not have to be complicated: just make your website content readable.

Readability refers to how easy it is for people to recognize words, phrases, and sentences on your website. The higher your website’s readability, the better.

You can achieve readability by applying the following tips:

  • Emphasize Contrast: Make sure there is enough contrast between your text color and the background on which it is placed. There is no reason why you should not incorporate all the colors you consider important into your website design. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice readability in the process.
  • Make Your Words Easy to See: Back when the first websites emerged and the internet was still finding its way, small fonts were in vogue. However, people quickly realized how difficult it is to read 12pt fonts when a screen is only a few inches from your face. Today, the rule of thumb suggests keeping your word size no lower than 16pt; the exact number depending on the font you choose.
  • Serif or Sans-Serif: These are two large families into which you can group all fonts. Serif fonts are those that have those projecting points and flourishes at the end of the letters like you see with the font Times New Roman, while sans-serif literally means “without serif”. Serif fonts look like handwriting and are the dominant font used in paperbacks, but online they can be a real chore to read. Sans Serif fonts like Arial have been found to be easier on the eyes and preferable for reading online.
  • Don’t Use Too Many Fonts on Your Website: Granted, some projects may require you to get creative with the fonts you choose, but overall your website should show some harmony and consistency in your choice of fonts. Avoid clutter and disorganization at all costs.

3. Pay Attention to Navigation and Visual Hierarchy

Your website should be easy to navigate and explore. Search engines actually use this as a ranking factor. If visitors have to pull up a chair and roll up their sleeves in order to find their way around your website, then they will bounce and go to a more user-friendly competitor.

Ideally, your visitors should be able to get any information they want within 3 clicks of where they are on your website. But that’s  just one rule out of several you can incorporate including:

Link your logo to your homepage.

This is almost standard practice so many visitors will expect it. If you are yet to get a logo, don’t forget to apply this tip when you do get one.

Place your menu at the top of your website.

And place the options in order of importance. You want to lead your visitors by the hand, rather than allow them to guess their way about.

Use vertical navigation to ease movement up and down your website.

Anchor menus can help your visitors go to the top, bottom or other specified sections of your website.

Include important navigation options in your footer.

These are FAQs, About, Terms of Use, Blog, and more. By placing them in the footer you make things easy for your visitors.

Prioritize above-the-fold content.

Keep your most important pieces of content in the top part of your website or “above the fold” so that your visitors don’t have to scroll down in order to find it.

4. Ensure Super Fast Load Time

If your web pages take more than 3 seconds to load then people will leave and never come back. Google and other search engine counterparts will, in turn, bury you deep in the search results, far away from anywhere near the first page.

To increase your page speed, try optimizing your images; combining code into a central Javascript file; and compress your HTML, CSS, and Javascript to speed up load time.

5. Keep It Mobile Friendly

Mobile browsing has long since surpassed desktop, so you had better make sure your website looks good on a mobile screen. Search engines now penalize websites that don’t meet this requirement.

If your website is not yet mobile friendly, there are two ways you can go about fixing that problem:

  • You can solicit the help of web developers to make your website responsive
  • You can build a dedicated mobile website to cater to mobile browsers
Get The Lifestyle Designer's Digest

Sharing my adventures in lifestyle design, building an online business, and growing this blog. Join me for weekly updates.

Previous ArticleNext Article

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income