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webdesign-583193_1280In today’s predominantly internet-focused business world, the importance of having a commercial website that is inviting, efficient, purposeful and, above all, makes customers want to return, is huge. However, If you’re starting out in the progressive world of e-business and simply don’t know which direction to take with the design of your site, ticking all of the above boxes can be a rather daunting task, and thoughts concerning scrimping on the details might drift into one’s mind. As we will explain, ignoring these impulses is key to your site’s success.

Take the aesthetics of your site, for example. Whilst it might seem like the backgrounds, fonts, menus and images on your site are superfluous to the content hosted, they are actually just as important. Why? Because if customers are to continue to use your site, returning to it regularly, they will be after something that looks slick, stylish and attractive. If a potential customer is repulsed by the aesthetics of your website within the first minute – if not the first few seconds – of visiting, you’re not likely to see them return. The Boston Globe’s site is a great example of clean, stylish and elegant aesthetics done right, with an excellent layout and uncomplicated construction.

Akin to aesthetics is the means of navigation on your site. With clunky, page-consuming menus, non-responsive design elements and other features that were perhaps the norm ten years ago, a site will haemorrhage customers simply because the site itself is hopelessly annoying and backward in its function. Fortune Palace, for instance – an online gaming affiliate site – has invested a lot of time into crafting a system of navigation that allows users to access every important element of the site from the top of the screen, cleanly. Whether customers are looking for reviews of affiliate partners such as Betfair, or simply wanting to learn how to play casino games, they can access subsections incredibly easily from the top pane of the site.

Finally, and perhaps the most important thing to any person either in the process of designing their website or compiling a list of requirements to be sent to a designer, is the need to create a mobile-friendly version of the site. Today, the internet is populated by 182 million smartphone users, with this figure looking set to increase to 220 million by 2018, and all of these potential customers will not take kindly to having to scroll, zoom and tap their way through a website that was only optimised for desktop monitors. As such, ensure your site is responsive and works through a plethora of different devices – the results (and revenues) will speak for themselves!

Do you have any tips for prospective e-entrepreneurs regarding web design essentials? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Nick Jones is a proofreader, editor, writer and publisher. He runs Full Media Ltd, an editorial and publishing agency based in Cheshire. Connect with Nick Jones on Google+ or select any of the other options below.