Don’t judge a website layout by its appearance – judge it by how well it fulfills its purpose. Business websites exist to make money, and often the most profitable websites include some ugly features, such as advertisements. But almost all websites should use some design elements and avoid others, so here is the best and worst you can do with a website layout:
The Worst Website Layout
Let’s start with the worst website layout. The first thing you notice about it is that’s it’s cluttered with content, advertisements, navigation, notices, and other features.
As I mentioned earlier, ugly websites can often be effective, but unless this website makes money from Pay-Per-View (also called Pay-Per-Mille) advertisements, there’s no way anyone is staying on the site long enough to click one of the dozens of garish flashing advertisements.
A key aspect of website layout construction is attention management—what does your visitor see, and what does he think about when he sees it. On a cluttered site, you can’t determine what your visitor sees, so you can only guess at what he’s going to do.
What Makes This Website Layout Worse
In order to fit in more advertisements, our worst website layout uses small text. Small text looks fine from a website layout perspective because you’re looking at how everything fits together. But when you actually try to read the small text, you discover how difficult it makes actually using your website.
Finally, this website never makes clear what you want the visitor to do next. There’s no call-to-action at the bottom of each page which invites the visitor to read another page or even buy a particular product, so most traffic which visits this page will leave immediately after getting the information they need.
The Best Website Layout
Our preferred website layout is clean—not for clarity’s sake—but because we can manage the visitor’s attention using a clean layout.
The page provides large text, at least 14pt (although 16pt could work even better). Lines are wrapped after about 60 characters. Generous, but not excessive, space between paragraphs helps the reader quickly scan the text.
This website layout strategically places advertisements where the visitor will see them. The strongest places for advertisements are after the lede (first paragraph), about halfway through the article, and at the end of the article. If possible, the advertisement blends in with the article so the visitor automatically starts reading it before he realizes it’s an advertisement.
A Good Website Layout is Good for Traffic
Where do I start…
Website usability is very important:
- A good website layout can help keep your visitors on your site, making it easier for them to navigate, therefore reducing bounce rate.
- The right website layout does not distract your visitors from completing your goals, after all, traffic is hard to get and we need to make use of it.
All in all, a good website usability serves to improve UX (user experience). Providing good experience is good for your audience and it also fits well within the guidelines of implementing good SEO practices.
Final Website Layout Touches
At the end of our article or at any point within the article when the reader may think of wandering (such as before an in-depth example), the site places a call-to-action to encourage the reader to stay on the site by visiting another interesting page or to buy a product or service which will help him improve his life.
No matter where we look on the page, we can always determine exactly what the webmaster wants visitors to do—whether it’s to read the article at the top of the page, click an advertisement in the middle of the page, or read another article at the bottom of the page. A website such as this which leads visitors is the best possible website layout.
image credit: zurb.com
18 thoughts on “The Best and Worst Website Layout”
Mitz, although I could agree with your comment that a website should be judged by how well it fulfills its purpose, I cannot forget that the appearance of a website gives me a clear message about the “level” of the service behind it.
Of course there are very good companies with very poor layouts, but I prefer to interact with well designed and structured websites.
Yes I know what you mean. A website with a poor layout can make you think twice about using that business. 🙂
I personally don’t mind blogs that display ads as I understand they’re there to make an income. Heck, I may even click on one if it’s something that I find interesting. As long as the content is relevant to what I am looking for then the ads don’t bother me.
However, if all I see is ads and little else then I don’t stay there all that long.
What I do hate are those popups that appear while I’m reading a post. I never read those, have never clicked on one and usually leave the site rather than bother to click the ‘x’
yes I agree Sire, those pop ups are annoying.. I had one on my blog and forgot all about it but luckily someone emailed me to complain! it was not showing when I visited the website…AHHH
Actually, in general I’d agree with you about design because it doesn’t have to be perfect. I also don’t care about ads being there or not. I think it’s a much bigger problem to have bad colors, tiny fonts, and lousy content. If content doesn’t stand out well, no sense in having a blog.
Yes that is true Mitch! Content needs to stand out or why bother?
Interesting post Mitz!
Why not to listed your own personal opinion for example of the worst website layout?
Oh ya, I got my own thought. Many of torrent sites has very very ugly layout.
How do you think 😉
When I first started building websites there were hundreds if not thousands of ugly websites to name and shame. Nowdays real websites get a good theme so there are less problems. But a good layout goes into more details now and a good theme will not always save you. Sometimes they look good but do not perform well so they in fact are useless.
It drives me nuts when I’m on a site where the ads have more square footage than the articles/posts. Sometimes it is hard to even follow the post.
Aesome awesome awesome. There are some great tips. There is nothing more annoying the in the middle of the text is some non sense. Wish everyone followed this simple plan.
Mitz, some very pretty websites don’t draw me in. A little clutter is like a curio shop. I like to see options (w/ photos) to click to see other articles. A good headline can be almost irresistible.
I agree that the headline gets me in!!!!
Good description, these few tips are really important to choose themes and though they are basic one but provides a good overview on how to start things well and keep attraction.
the layout of website totally depends on you (this is my opinion). it should fulfill the basic needs of yours and your readers. it should display things or content clearly . most of the newbies change their themes frequently and this affects in bad way. we should choose a simple and professional layout,thanks for this article. n i’d like to add one more thing that whenever i open a new and good website, i always find a guest post from you. this is really impressive. LOL,
Ha ha ha I am everywhere!!! I have about 20 websites and guest post on about 5-10 really great sites!!
Very good points. I have enjoyed reading the comments as well. I hope my website falls in between best and the worst? I guess beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. I still believe content is king.
Thanks God. Just like I expected, my blog has an amazing layout which is friendly for readers and SEO too. You made my heart beat so hard friend.
Nice post and Yes, Website Layout is the most important part of successful blog and it also helps to attract new reader as first impression is the last impression. The layout should be simple not too complex so that new readers can easily search. Thanks for sharing this post.
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