Tag Archives: ux

Keeping Up with the Webmasters

keepingupwithwebmasters
Just like clothing fashions, web fashions go in and out of style, even within a year. I remember when transparent iframes and HTML tables were all the rage back in the mid-2000s, for instance. Today’s super-sleek, Apple-Corporation-like webdesigns are on trend for the moment, but they may fall by the wayside soon. And, when they do fall out of fashion, most of us webdesigners will feel the pressure to “move with the times.”

I say, however, that we don’t necessarily have to throw out all of our “old” design practices with every new trend that comes along. Instead of “keeping up with the Joneses” (or the webmasters), how about some “timeless Internet fashion” blended in with new trends?

Timeless Webdesign Tip #1: Create a Design that’s Easy to Use

Whatever content you have, whether it’s text article, photos, videos, sound clips, etc., make sure your site is easy to read and browse:

  • Design attractive but not distracting images
  • Use just little strokes of bright color to accent new content
  • Space out your content to break up “walls of text”
  • Ensure that there’s a strong contrast between your text color and background color

A site that’s easy to look at and use is a site that will please visitors. Think about what you like to see when you visit a site–this will help you get the design process started.

Timeless Webdesign Tip #2: Keep your Site Organized

Group your pages together logically in your navigation structure, and create a sitemap for larger sites. You can also put in breadcrumb navigation if you have lots of subsections.

Having an organized site makes it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site, which means they will more likely return for another visit. And isn’t that what all us webdesigners want?

Timeless Webdesign Tip #3: Interpret New Webdesign Trends for Yourself

Instead of copycatting what everyone else seems to be doing in webdesign, take time to study the new style, and figure out what you like about it. Use web trends as a way to inform and inspire your designs, not as a rigid rulebook for how you “ought to” make your sites look.

You might find, for instance, that you like that new color scheme everyone seems to be raving about, but you don’t like the layout it’s commonly used with. Instead of forcing yourself to use a layout you don’t like, just incorporate your most favorite parts of the color scheme into a layout of your own making. This keeps your site looking fresh and updated, without forcing it into a design cookie-cutter.

Summary

Since web trends are almost always changing, but there are definitely design concepts that never go out of style–and there are ways to personalize each trend for yourself as it comes along. After all, who wants to browse 10 different sites that all look the same? Help your site stand out with your own personal style!

Hits Don’t Really Matter

hitsdontreallymatter

Uh oh! Unpopular opinion alert! I just said website hits don’t really matter!

Even though I get tons of spammy emails and comments telling me I need to “backlink” and “up my Google ranking” (which sounds uncomfortable and/or rude, LOL), I actually will dare to say that the sheer NUMBER of hits our sites get doesn’t matter.

Why? Well, there are a couple of major reasons:

#1: A Five-Second “Visit” is Not a Visit

Web statistics record every visit, even if somebody’s just on your site for a few seconds; this doesn’t mean that anybody’s actually staying around to really SEE your site and get meaning out of it. In fact, most quick visits are Web crawlers/robots anyway!

Instead of focusing on the number of hits, look at how long each visitor stays on your site(s). Long visits mean that someone out there is ENJOYING your content–which is what all us webdesigners want!

#2: No Comments and No Repeat Visitors is a Bad Sign

If you get a few longer-duration hits, but none from the same IP address, it can mean that people are visiting your site and finding no reason to come back. Likewise, if you’ve got no repeat commenters, your site is interesting, but not interesting enough to warrant a second comment.

Instead, look for the number of times an IP address pops up in your site statistics per month. If IPs show up more than once, you know you’ve got someone’s attention out there. Also, people who come back to comment a second or even third time are likely engaged with your content and are enjoying it.

How to Get Meaningful Visits and Keep People Returning

  • Don’t just post your link on random sites that have nothing to do with your content. Advertising in this spammy, selfish way will make people think your site is full of spam, too!
  • Affiliate or link-exchange with sites that are similar to yours, so that you drive traffic to each other’s sites.
  • Another great way to advertise: get active in forums and online communities that are relevant to your topic, and mention your site as something others in the community would like to visit.
  • Keep making content, and keep your site updated. Fresh content gives your visitors something to keep coming back for–update at least once a week and post the newest content prominently on your front page. (Plus, a layout/design update every six months to a year is a good idea!)

Summary

Don’t just chase after a certain number of “hits” to your website–instead, seek out meaningful connections with your users, and you’ll find your website being visited a lot more often. After all, numbers don’t mean everything in this business!