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Design

In this blog post I’m going to explore how crucial it is to have great design in order to attract traffic, keep loyal readers and build trust for newcomers.

First off we’ll start with an example of what your website should NOT look like

Hit counter? Incredible blank website with a sketchy feel to it. I would NOT want to buy something here.

Has a consistent theme, looks professional, includes prices and trusted ads along with social media to explore.

If you’re interested in design like I am, you have a certain “Sixth Sense” when it comes to discovering a website you’re unfamiliar with and being able to judge if it’s legit or not.

These days, if I am searching for a new company, brand or service I will of course run a Google search on them. If the only result that comes back from my query is the website…that’s already a red flag. If nobody is talking about it, there’s probably a reason for that.

But then again, the company might be fresh, which can be a possibility. If you cannot find company information or a clear indication of what the website is about…then it might be time to click the “back” button and move on.

There’s a great blog post over on Lorelle’s blog about Design credibility on the web, which I highly suggest reading, and digs deeper on why we choose to trust some websites and not others.

So when it comes to designing your personal website, be sure to include some things such as

  • Company Information
  • An “About Me” section
  • A place for visitors to interact with the company, to insure legitimacy and transparency for other visitors to see.
  • A straight-forward point to your website

So try and make your personal website look a little more like this

and a lot less like this….

Mashable has a great article giving 100 Great Resources for Design Inspiration, have a look and get to work on your next creative endeavor on the web!

Morgan

I first started my 5-second-test with the blog THE HEAVY MENTAL

it’s beautifully organized. categories on top, cool interactive header, information at the bottom. no search box, but it engages the user to flip through the pages to see what they have to offer. neat and tidy.

A successful homepage would be VICE, my only complaint is that it’s sort of cluttered with the advertisements. everything is organized, and lets the user explore content that they might have normally ignored.

Another being THE ATLANTIC. Everything is organized at the top, when you skim over a category, it shows recent articles that you can jump right into. I don’t really like that it has TONS of content on the homepage, I guess that’s the age we live in, though. If it’s a reliable news source, they need to show they have the most content to immerse yourself in…even from the home page.

Some unsuccessful sites would be:

Surprise. It’s MySpace. At first glance, you go to the site and what do you think? No seriously…I want to know what you think, because I have no idea what this site is. A blend of music, celebrity-TMZ’ing, social network? It turns me off and makes me want to go somewhere else. It could use a lot more direction as to where you can go, and what the site’s meant to be used as.

Zinc Bistro. It already starts off bad with annoying music, the header looks clickable, but it’s just a picture. it took me a while to figure out that the eggs in the middle were the navigation yolks…they need to add the navigation to the top, lose the eggs, because this design is just rotten.