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First off, design is about enhancing whatever it is you are trying to do, and making it better.
Design is never the target, it’s the arrow. Your purpose when designing is not to win awards, but to sell your client’s product. If you do receive any accolades, it should be for the number of units you were able to move through your WordPress design efforts.
Get it? The purpose of advertising is to sell.
Now, let’s have some fun learning about some ways we can strengthen the design of our WordPress websites, and make more sales!
First tip: If you want a link to be clicked on, make it blue and underlined – in other words, make it LOOK like a LINK. This should seem obvious, but a lot of new sites focus on edgy design and have no place for ugly, boring looking blue underlined links. It works though. Do it. Those ugly blue links will get more clicks than your white links, then your red links, then your orange links (maybe even combined).
Use images to break up text. Better yet, make images “floating” – in other words, aligned side by side with text instead of interrupting it. Big, eye-popping visuals will ensure that your content gets READ in the first place. Also, using drop caps has been shown to get your content read as well. Whether or not it’s an asset depends on how good your content is. If your content is bad, these tips won’t help your conversions.
What background colors should you consider? Blue is a great color to trigger trust and increase conversions. If you ever watch the news on television, you’ll notice they use a lot of blues and browns. One of my favorites is “Robin’s Egg Blue.” The Hex color is #7fb3c2 if you’d like to check it out. We use this color when promoting our WordPress workshops and seminars and it’s amazing – it provides instant credibility in and of itself.
Whatever colors you choose, you need to think about the emotions that you’ll want your visitor to feel. In the wide range of human thought and feeling there are many subtleties, and the devil is in the details.
For example, don’t use bright bold colors to advertise a law firm.
Use CONTRAST to your advantage – it can be WICKEDLY effective. This is the art of making items on the page stand out by pairing one color with another. There are many successful color variations, so start testing different stuff out and see what works best!
Always do everything with “readability” as one of – if not THE – primary concern. One of my biggest pet peeves is designers who “push” text out of the way to the point that you can’t read it! Make your text big enough to read, but not so big that it looks goofy, obviously. Sans serif fonts such as arial are easier to read than serif fonts such as Times. While serif fonts are great for headlines and such to present a formal appearance, they do not assist with the readability of your body copy and can even give your readers a headache if read too long.
Also – in the spirit of readability – make sure that you fix your line-spacing (print designers know this as “leading”). Having enough space between each of your lines can make a world of difference.
Be wary of the margins of your pages. Margins that are too wide are not good. Keep the content margins tight so that the eye can quick quickly scan from one end of the line to another. If you’re using sidebars, this generally isn’t a problem, but as a mental note try to keep all of your page margins under 800px even without sidebars. Oftentimes, plopping floating images into your content is a great way to reduce the margins of your pages.
Do you have any of your own design recommendations that you’d like to share, or do you disagree with any of the suggestions made here? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.