Since moving back to Michigan, my wife and I have been house-hunting. Some of these houses we have gone into have some serious problems, which are better left unsaid. But then you have these other houses which are in fairly decent condition, yet they have had some of the worst “creative” interior designers I have ever seen!
For instance, one of the houses had walls that had either twine or burlap for the wallpaper. Another one had black rooms. Yes, you read that right: black rooms. The floor was black. The walls were black. The ceiling was black.
I’m am sorry if you may have something similar in your own house, and I am not meaning to offend you if you like it, but it looks bad.
This brings me to my point. Just because something is creative, doesn’t always make it good. The same thing can be applied with your website. All of the rainbow gradients, blinking text, and flashing lights of the 90’s are over. Sadly, I’ll admit I had a website at Geocities back when all of that was popular, and it looked awful, but I thought it looked good. Since then, I have learned quite a bit about design, and I’ll share a few tips with you.
Less is Mor Creativee
Just because someone owns Photoshop, doesn’t mean they know how to use Photoshop. Once a beginner learns about the layer effects, some very interesting designs come out. Subtle gradients and shadows are nice. They make a site pop, but using the Photoshop default on everything (especially borders and drop shadows) screams bad design. What looks good to you may not actually look good. Keep it subtle. Keep it simple.
Target Audience Connection
This is commonplace for “creative” design. Who is your target audience? Does your design connect with them? Of course, you will not connect with everyone, but if your company is in a technical field, then don’t have a website that looks like you run a daycare. It needs to look professional, but must also match your personal style. Balance everything, find your edge, and make it look professional.
Good Page load time
Does the site load relatively quick? Most visitors will stay on a page for four seconds while waiting before they leave. If a site takes too long to load, you will lose your visitors (unless they are related to you) before you’ve even had the chance to make an impression. On second thought, I’ll correct myself. Your site already made an impression and it’s not a good one.
Finally, is the site SEO friendly? I know many people who want a flash site with music because they think it’s cool and creative. Flash is only semi-SEO-friendly, meaning if you want anyone to find you in the search engines, I’d recommend against it. Also, this have nothing to do with SEO, but the music is annoying when it auto starts, so stay away from that too.
Conclusion: Balance Your Website
The key is balance. When a site is balanced so it’s pleasing to the eye, matches your business, loads fast, and is SEO-friendly, then your site is a winner. When it shows extreme creativity, it just may not fit for this time and age. If you feel your current site may be a little too creative and may need some help, contact someone who can help you get that creative, yet quality, website built for you.
P.S. The header image for the post really does hurt my eyes. Please do not judge my design ability based upon it! :)
P.S.S. If you actually do like the header image, please contact someone else to do your designs!