Are you planning to develop your first yoga website or do you already have one but maybe there’s room for improvement? In both cases, there are some principles for web design that you need to know before you start developing your website. And it’s not about how good your website looks (though if you have a pretty website that doesn’t hurt).
1. Keep it simple
Imagine that your website visitors are like wild animals: they’re hunting for information or a product to buy. They don’t want to browse around your website for several long minutes to find the information they’re after. They want to find it quickly.
Okay, it’s a stupid comparison, but my point is that people on the web tend to want information quickly, so it’s important to communicate clearly and make your information easy to read and digest.
Don’t overload your site with overly complex design, animation, or other effects just to impress your viewers. An uncluttered layout allows viewers to focus on your message.
Have a look at this example, the website from Kathryn Budig. I love Kathryn but this is a hot mess. What does she want me to do here? Take her course? Order her book? Visit her on social media? Join her mailing list? It’s way too much going on. Sorry Kathryn.
2. Write for lazy people
Just like the lazy panther looks for an easy catch for his dinner, your average web visitor doesn’t want to make an effort to read your text.
One effective tactic is organizing information using headlines and sub headlines and using bullet points. Use short sentences, skip unnecessary words and avoid jargon and gobbledygook
Also don’t try to be too clever or creative. Simple statements often work best. Clever phrasing requires people to think. And this doesn’t work online because web visitors are hunting, remember? They don’t have time to think. So keep your web copy as simple as possible.
3. Choose colors wisely
A well thought out color palette can go a long way to enhance your user’s experience.
Complementary colors create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colors for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colors should be used sparingly, for example for buttons.
Last but not least, enough white space is will give your website a modern and uncluttered look. If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, white space is what designers call the empty space between headlines and text or sections of a website. You should use it generously; there really is no need to cramp your information too close together.
Here we have the website of Baron Baptiste. I love how he uses the orange color to make things pop out.
4. Let your content be found easily
There’s a golden rule to structure your content, the “three click rule”. This means that your users should be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
To help achieve this you can – and should – always feature topics in different places, not only in the navigation menu. For example show testimonials on the homepage, use feature boxes or link to important topics from your sidebar.
Do make it easy for your visitors to contact you from your homepage. If you are working locally don’t forget to include your location in your contact information – don’t assume all visitors know where you’re based.
I see this so often! Don’t assume that all your visitors know you and where you’re teaching. They might come to your website through social media or from an ad for a workshop and need to now where it takes place. And not only the street, but also which city, state and eventually even country.
5. Tell your visitors what to do
People need to be told what to do – this is also true online. Your website visitor should have a clear next step to take on every page that he or she is visiting on your website. On a page about your next yoga retreat, you could add a button to request an information package or a book now button.
Using calls-to-actions (CTAs) to direct visitors to the next logical step is a good practice. For example you can use buttons like “Free Class”, “Buy Now” or “Learn More”.
Here is the website from Yoga Medicine. The buttons on the homepage really pop out and offer a clear direction: either find a teacher or train with them to become a teacher.
There are of course more things you have to consider when developing your yoga website, but these 5 principles for effective web design are a good start.