a lot of people don’t know what to do when it comes to deciding on a design for a new website. The most common trend is to try to build a flashy website that is all about looks.
Although I do believe it is important for a website to look nice, I am not always a fan of making a website that is overloaded with graphics. I want to talk about the benefits of a plain site versus one that is graphically flashy.
Search Traffic & Page Speed
Website visitors and search engines are generally the top two groups that I try to please with a new
website. Even though broadband internet is fairly widespread these days, it doesn’t mean that websites
should put those limits.
Google recognizes the need for a fast loading website and actually rewards those websites with better
search engine rankings. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to have a site loaded with flashy graphics and
still be considered to be fast loading by Google.
The alternative is a minimalistic approach that saves a ton of time in the design process. Yes, the
website doesn’t look as nice as it could, but the benefits could very well be worth more than what is
Flashy vs Plain Web Design
In general, I will often put a focus on making a nice logo or header image for a new website. That part
of the page is typically the only place that I will consider using a somewhat high resolution image. I’m
not saying to avoid using images on your sites, but thumbnails should be used for most pictures. If you
want to show people a large picture, simply link the thumbnail to the full size image.
This approach gives the website a nice look that is appealing for new visitors, and it allows the site to
have a fast load time to appease search engines like Google.
If your website will be getting traffic from paid advertising, this strategy may not be the best idea, but
this is generally the best way to achieve fast results with free search engine traffic.
Major content management systems like WordPress also seem to encourage this particular strategy with
the use of header images as the bulk of the website design besides colors, so I feel confident passing
this technique along to you.
Page Load Times
Beyond search engine rankings, there is another very important reason that should make you think
twice about using a flashy website design that is loaded with graphics.
Images, video, and other fancy web design techniques all have one thing in common: they take up a lot
of hard drive space and/or web server processing time.
The more items that each page of your site will need to load and the size of those items can greatly
affect the user experience of your website visitors. Broadband connections are heavily used these days,
but some people still use slow, bottom-tier broadband connections.
The end result can be a greatly different experience for different site visitors. With a high load time, it
is actually common for visitors to leave the page before it completely loads, which obviously does
nothing to help a website grow or make money.