Five Rules For An Effective Website

Making a website can be hard, but it doesn't have to be. Here I've outlined five very simple steps to keep in mind when creating your website.

Rule 1 - Use only a few colors and only a few

Open up one of the websites you love and take a look. It probably consists of shades of one primary color, and another contrasting color that stands out. Basically, two colors.

This rule is simple, choose a palette of one or two colors and inject them into your website. This makes your website feel consistent. Using a only a few well thought out colors can have the inherent affect of that color (warm for red, cold for blues, etc) without being distracting with too many shades (unless this is what you're going for).

A consistent website helps you build trust with your visitors as it enforces congruence of the overall layout.

Add examples from existing websites!

Rule 2  - Make your images fit your color scheme

You need to have high quality images for your website. People are drawn to visual cues and having a wall of text will distract visitors from reaching that promised land called the call to action.

___ uses a blue theme on their website, and their images match the site, once again building on the harmony of the site as a whole.

Rule 3  - Abuse copywriting

Copywriting is text that makes your sale for you. Your website is like your online salesperson who explains your product or service to your visitors. It's so important because you can make the sale while you sleep.

Make sure their message is clear and for the right person.

A simple and famous acronym to follow is AIDA, standing for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Grab your visitors' attention, use a fun fact, or address a problem they need solved by your service or product. For example, I'm in the business of making and selling websites, so I can write something as simple as: "Get more visitors to your website" with the goal of appealing to people who already have a website. Or, if I want to attract people who haven't got a website yet, I can write: "Make your first website easily"

Keep the wording short, concise and honest, like the way you speak. It doesn't need to be prose, or academic, no one wants to read a paper when Youtube, Facebook, and social media is literally three seconds away from notifying them to leave your site.

If you don't know what to write, you can ask the people who you think would be likely to visit your website to describe their problem. Listen to what they say carefully, they will tell you what you want. If you're careful, you may be able to grasp the underlying desire that they want to fulfill. To use myself as an example, I may notice that someone wants more $$$ with a website, so I can write something that addresses this desire. Or, maybe they simply want to be famous, or simply want independence. By listening carefully, you can tell what someone really means. This applies to any industry, even inconspicuous ones. If someone wants to buy an apple, maybe they want to be healthier, but perhaps they simply want to live longer because they have a fear of dying (I admit taking it this far is a bit much). If you are able to write out a desire, I would love to learn from you.

Rule 4 - White space is your friend

It doesn't need to be white, but space in general helps to clear the mind and emphasize a point. I like to think of it as a virtual pause. In the same way that listening to a monologue is boring, a website with pauses and spacing is much more interesting.

You can use design to add white space without looking sparse and bare.

Example of Dividers here

By using dividers, you can add space between two sections of content while maintaining the illusion of movement. A diagonal divider moves the eye left or right as you scroll down the page.

The dividers can also enforce your theme, a zigzag divider can feel playful or sudden (depending on the size of the zigzags), and a long slow-changing divider feels serious. Although subtle, dividers are a good way of defining the overall mood of your site.

Rule 5 - Make your content great

Great > Good

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