When it comes to successful website design, beautiful colors and great templates are at the top of the priority list. Successful websites also tend to boast a level of simplicity that allows users to quickly and easily determine the meaning of every section on the site without thinking too hard about the browsing options. Additional factors that influence the success of a website include visual appeal, accessibility, user friendliness and functionality. Finally, it is the homepage that greatly influences the success of your website.
Also known as the root of your website, the homepage is the very first page that most visitors will land on. Even if visitors find your website using the search engines and land on one of your posts, they will get to your homepage eventually. The homepage needs to be simple and easy to use so that visitors can understand the structure as quickly as possible. Any visitor confused about the structure of a homepage will be tempted to navigate away from the site completely.
Ways to Create a Homepage and Website
There are two main ways to create a website – using WordPress and using code to build a custom website. With WordPress, you first want to create something functional that can work online easily with content, and then create a template. When creating a custom website, the order is typically reversed, in which you start from a template and then create the functionality. Whatever method you choose to employ, always ensure that a well-defined structure is in place. This means that before you approve any templates, you need to know exactly how every page of the site should look.
Whether you are building a website using HTML or WordPress, it is important to plan both the structure and homepage before creating them. There is a chance that you may discover a better solution for the homepage or structure of the site along the way, in which case you will have to work even harder just to make up for lost time. The failure to plan can even result in starting over from scratch. When in doubt, it is always helpful to seek the advice of a professional website designer.
There are certain rules a website designer should follow when building a homepage. Two of the most important rules are to ensure that the homepage is both usable and accessible.
Rule #1: Homepage Usability
Any visitor to your site must be able to accomplish simple tasks, even if he or she is inexperienced or has never interacted with your system before. The best way to ensure this premium level of usability is to focus on the efficiency of your website. The rules of the website should not only be easy to learn, but also easy to remember. If a visitor can understand and follow the rules of a website, then he or she can easily find items of interest.
Consider also errors on your website and how each one can deter a visitor from returning to your site. Your homepage and website should not contain any errors and all errors discovered either by you or your visitors should always be corrected as quickly as possible.
Rule #2: Homepage Accessibility
Links on the homepage contain information that leads visitors directly where they want to go as opposed to browsing the site from page to page. The information in homepage links can describe the meaning of the site, the products or services offered by the site, as well as the business itself and its purpose. However, links are not necessarily the main concern when considering homepage accessibility.
Today, people use all types of gadgets to browse the web. Accordingly, everyone connected to the Internet should have access to your website through gadgets including personal computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Fortunately, there are various plugins available that ensure the accessibility of your homepage and website.
Sitemaps and search options should also be on the homepage and on every page throughout the website. Sitemaps themselves provide the structure of the website in a way that anyone and everyone can easily understand. Sitemaps and search options also help the visitor navigate the website conveniently without browsing from page to page.
For a better idea of how homepage usability and accessibility appears on a website, be sure to check out some of these simple, yet successful websites:
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