5 Pillars to Designing Successful Websites

Content Comes First: While it is obviously important for you to create a design that is aesthetically pleasing, it is important to remember that people are visiting a website for a specific reason, and that reason is the content that the website has to offer.  Although many people naturally think of articles or blog posts when they hear the term content, this term can refer to anything from photographs to product listings to videos.

Regardless of what kind of content is being exhibited on a website, the main thing that you need to keep in mind is that your website design should enhance the content that is being displayed.

Don’t Forget the Users: If you are designing your own website, keep in mind that you are not creating the website for just yourself.  Likewise, if you are designing a website for a client, you have to continue to remind yourself that the website is not only being created for that one client.

The reason that it is important to design with future users in mind is that this can have a huge impact on the final outcome of a design.  For example, if a website is being designed for a younger demographic, even if the client is older and prefers certain elements, it is important to make it clear to them that these elements will not appeal to their target audience.

Keep It Original: Looking at work from other designers as a source of inspiration is a practice that is completely acceptable.  In fact, if you have hit a brick wall in terms of your creativity, you may be surprised at how useful it can be to take some time to look at other designs.

However, once the time comes for you to start creating actual designs, it’s important to ensure that the work you produce is completely original.  Because it can save so much time, it can be extremely tempting to copy or “borrow” elements from other people’s designs.  However, if you want to create a website that is truly successful, it’s important for it to exhibit its own unique brand and look.

Keep Advertising Under Control: Although there are obviously other ways for a website to generate revenue, the most common way for websites to achieve this is through the use of online advertising.

While there is nothing wrong with using advertising to monetize a website, it is very important to keep things in perspective.  When you are creating a design for a website that is going to display advertising, it’s important to ensure that your design allows for adequate amounts of advertising to be displayed, but without encroaching on the space of what’s truly important (the content).

Avoid Breaking the Rules: While every good designer knows that it is important to push the envelope from time to time when you are designing something new, there is a big difference between pushing the envelope and breaking the rules.  Being creative and original is a good thing, but ignoring standards or refusing to validate your designs are not good things.  So, while I am all for doing something different, just make sure you are still staying within the boundaries of the main rules.

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