Try to bring to mind the last website you went on that wasn’t Facebook, Google or one of your other regularly visited locations. Chances are that you can’t remember that much about it – it was probably mostly white, it probably had black font, a menu down the left and a logo up the top, and it probably had a few ads and pictures interspersed with the text. In other words it was probably pretty much like every other site.
Now that’s not a bad thing in itself, and of course there’s a reason that many websites look the same – because it is a look that is known to work and that has been shown to be good for business. However it’s still ultimately also a look that doesn’t stand out in the mind and that doesn’t have much personality and it’s a fairly boring way to design your site.
Now think about the sites that impressed you, the ones that stood out for being very different, for having multiple features, or for using color effectively. Here we will look at how you can make your site really pop and be far more memorable for your viewers.
First of all, your colors don’t necessarily have to be all white and black. This is a very nice combination to read which is why so many people use it, and it evokes the use of pen on paper. However you can still have contrasting colors like dark blue on white, or white on black, or even white on blue, and you should find that it’s still easy to read but just gives your site a bit more personality. Alternatively you could use brighter colors around your text and in your images.
You don’t necessarily need the same layout for every website and if you want to make someone stop and think then why not put your writing to the right of the center and leave some blank space on the left? Or why not put your menu at the bottom? And in fact you don’t need to make every PAGE in your site the same either if your site is more of a showcase or portfolio rather than something with lots of content.
Various additional features can add to your website. For instance including music may be a gamble, but it will make your site stand out for sure and set a tone for the page too. You can also use sounds in a more subtle way, for instance by having a sound play when someone click on a link. Likewise animations are data heavy, but they can certainly give your page a bit more polish. Or why not make your site more dynamic so that users can choose to alter the background or so that it changes depending on the time of day.
Your branding is very important to make your site memorable and to give it a kind of calling card. Spend some time and resources on developing a really good logo, and then integrate that design into the design of your site. Likewise try to include the name of your site in other places around the pages so that people really remember it and don’t come away not knowing what page they’ve been looking at.