There are 4 design principles that will help your website look professional, even if you are updating your own site. Just remember the acronym CRAP, because these rules will help you avoid having a crappy site.
Contrast is about being able to easily read text on your website. Go for black text on a white background for easy reading. Your headline should be larger than your body type, and you should use bold headings between paragraphs, so your readers can skim your site. Don’t make everything bold or put text in different colors. Doing this just confuses your readers and makes your site look amateurish.
Repetition is about using the same kinds of fonts and elements throughout your website for consistency. Repetition is NOT boring. It actually makes your site look professional. Choose no more than two fonts (typefaces) for your website–one font for headlines and titles, and one font for body text. You can contrast the fonts by making one a serif font and the other a sans-serif font. Or make the headline type fancy and the body type plain. Use only a couple of colors throughout your site. Having text in rainbow colors is the mark of an amateur. Keep it simple and classy to build your credibility.
Text is easiest to read when it’s left aligned so that your reader’s eye can travel easily down the page. Sadly, centered text is becoming more common due to websites needing to be consistent on all devices. If you center your text, do it only in small blocks and ONLY when you have to. Unless you are a pro, don’t use right alignment for text. You can align images to the right of text, but aligning the text to the right will make it look ragged and extremely hard to read.
Proximity is about putting related elements close to each other. For instance, put those bold headings directly above the paragraph, so readers know what the paragraph is about at a glance. Make your headings relevant to the content. They should summarize the paragraph or pull out a main point from it. Put images that relate to text to the left or right of the text to break up large text blocks. Try to keep paragraphs short. Readers like text that is broken up into small chunks, because it’s easier to read.
Remember that simple is best. Don’t use too many fonts, colors, alignments, or different elements. Doing this will clutter your site and make it look busy and unprofessional. Keep your website clean to attract customers and project an expert image.
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