Someone viewing a website, for instance, may not realize they are tracking their eyes from image to text and back to another image. Or, that the combination of these elements and the content, will influence her to click the button to “find out more”. Conversely, an unbalanced page, confusing message, or distracting graphics, will turn her eyes away. By all means, avoid cluttering your web page. Here are four recommendations for better layout design:
1. Start with attractive, color corrected photography and graphics. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, don’t use your smart phone! Go to Big Stock or another stock agency for larger, sharper images. They cost less than $10 per image. Sliders or banners require at least 1000 pixels wide images. If you enlarge an out-of-focus photo to twice its size, you get a fuzzy, colorless website. If you must, use a point and shoot camera.
2. Use good typography. First, don’t mix too many typefaces in one website. It’s the same principle of clutter being distracting. The type face must be easy to read. Some fonts are designed to be used for display (large) and others are designed to be used for body text (small). If you choose a theme for your website from a premium company, then chances are, the typography built into the design will be good. I recommend Elegant Themes, Theme Trust, and Studio Press.
3. Informed layout practices. If you have a theme that allows you to build the design with modules, you want to either follow their default layout or keep the following rules in mind: Don’t run text across a one column wide space. The eyes can’t follow a line wider than about four inches, longer makes it difficult to read. Add images flush left or right and let the text wrap around it. the white space on either side of a centered image is, you guessed it…distracting! Not to mention, a waste of good space. Balance your art vertically. If you have three columns of art and text and the art is at the top, I recommend you try to crop the images so that they are the same size. If one must be deeper, then keep the other two the same. The less your eye is jumping up and down the better.
4. Fill the layout with good content. Avoid too little text or two much text. If there is too little, it reduces your credibility as a business. And did you know that graphics alone does not aid search engine optimization? Too much content becomes boring. Today’s readers want your point in a nutshell. You can add a “red more” link to fan inside page for people who do want to dig into your story. Avoid widows in headers and body text. Widows are extra spaces at the end of a line adds a long line of white space. Edit the copy by either adding words or taking away a few. Use relevant, content rich words in text and headlines, both in the pages and posts. Try to add a new post at least every month. You will be surprised at the number of visits. Hopefully, with your improved layout, you will be converting some of those visitors to customers.