Here are 5 easy to implement tips from the Designing Your Website chapter of my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that will ensure that your site not only looks attractive, but invites engagement as well.
"The look of your site has to reflect your brand. What that means is that there’s no sense making it dark and menacing if you’re a pop band, or making it flowery and colorful looking if you’re an EDM artist. That said, here are a number of basic points to consider with your design.
1. Use the screen real estate wisely.
- Keep the most important content "above the fold," or at the top of the screen where the reader doesn’t have to scroll down.
- Watch out for clutter. Achieve a balanced layout by designing no more than three focal points by using the "big, medium, small" strategy.
- Provide enough white space around elements so that they’re visually distinguishable, but don't leave big areas of blank screen.
2. Specify fonts that are designed for the screen.
- Sans-serif fonts (those without the little tails on some of the characters) generally works the best (Verdana, Tahoma, Arial), although some serif fonts work okay (Georgia). Stay away from Times as it’s designed for newspapers and can feel dated. Use any decorative font you want in a logo image, but stay away from browser decorative fonts (Impact, Comic Sans) that draw more attention than the copy itself.
- Only use two font families per page or site at most, and then only to contrast headings to text, or sidebar to main content.
- Format paragraphs and other content for the best readability
- Use text-align: left for blocks of text.
- Use text-align: center occasionally for a page heading or a special effect. but never for text blocks.
- Use text-align: right to connect form labels with their data entry boxes or to connect left-hand captions to their associated images.
- Use text-align: justify only if the column is wide enough so that it doesn’t leave blocks of white space down the middle.
3. Avoid using fonts smaller than 10 point (depending on the font). One of the things that site visitors hate the most is having to zoom in to read something.
4. Fit the color scheme to the purpose of the site.
- A good bet is to select your colors based on your logo or an important image on the page.
- Like fonts, use one main color and one secondary color for a page or site; a third color might provide emphasis or contrast.
- Check for sufficient contrast between text and background, and also check that the contrast works for any color-blind visitors.
- Never use color alone to provide information.
5. Design For Mobile
Be sure that your site is built to display on a mobile browser. Don’t forget that the world we now live in is a mobile one, and it’s going to be even more so in the future. Make sure that your site looks good on a phone or tablet before confirming it as complete.
- Check the layout to be sure that everything shows up where you expect it on the screen.
- Check the readability of the text to be sure that the information on the site is useful to the visitor."
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