As someone who works primarily with websites, I'm starting to see a trend in website layout.
Over the past few years I've noticed something strange about the way websites look and many other people are feeling the same way, website layouts are looking strange.
I've found myself encountering the same layout time and again: a large horizontal image that stretches the full width of the top of the page with some large inspirational heading text. Below the horizontal image you're greeted by 4 boxes or so, side-by-side, with information that displays oddly large.
Is this website layout bad?
Not necessarily, but consider this...If your website looks exactly like those of your competitors, only a different color scheme and some variation in text and images, you are doing yourself a disservice. There's nothing wrong with downloading a ready-made website layout template if you feel you can't afford investing in a web design team, but before you fill in those boxes containing "Lorum Ipsum" placeholder text, consider a layout that is makes your business standout.
What Makes A Good Website Layout?
In a world with so many choices and so many mediums, earning user consideration and attention is harder than ever. One way to edge your competition is looking different. Rather than adopt the overused cookie-cutter website layout that we've grown familiar with, pick a layout that's unique, that makes users lean in to their screens and do a double take. But the real challenge is being different in a way that is relevant, valuable to users, and differentiates you from your competitors.
Decide What's Important
Part of differentiating yourself from your competitors is prioritizing what's important and what's not on your website. For example, you can have as many images on a page as you want, but should you? Consider how having too many graphic elements on a page will effect load time and impact user experience.
I know it can be tempting to try to stuff as much content as possible above the fold, but remember that your website is the face of your business online. You need to think about things from the user's perspective and make it easy for users to choose you over the competition. You have a lot to offer, but remember, less is more. Highlight your strongest products and services at the top, show your best first, you have plenty of other pages to focus on the others.
The fun part of web design is the experimenting. Remember, you don't have to stick with one layout forever. Also, it's important to take chances and test out what design elements go over better with users. When in doubt test it. Your marketing team can help you measure how the smallest change changes the way users engage with your website, like for example changing button colors from blue to orange.
You should always be look to keep your website looking fresh because user preferences change and your competition might try to copy what you're doing on your website. So you always want to be aware of web design trends and changes in user experience expectations.
Choosing the standard website layout that we see so much of these days can be good IF IT MAKES SENSE for your business. But, to get that WOW factor from your customers or clients, and to have that competitive advantage online, be different, prioritize, and above all take chances!