Now that you realize the importance of having a website, let’s talk about how you want your website to represent you and what services you have to offer.   

You want your website to generate traffic by getting found.  Your next focus should be getting that traffic to stay on your website. Studies show that educational websites have a 30-60% bounce rate on average. This means that a large majority of web traffic entering your website leaves without navigating to any other pages.  More than likely, they may never come back. I have put together a few design guidelines to help you improve your website's user experience and decrease your bounce rate.

1.       Make a great first impression.  Show your visitors your website is credible and you are a trustworthy individual.  Give them information by educating them.

2.       Avoid anything using Flash animations because they look cool.  This can prove to be the wrong strategy.  Animated backgrounds or background music can be distracting. Only use media and animations to help support content and information.

3.       Does your website make people feel welcome?  You don’t want a website that is so busy or confusing that people leave without seeing all the information you have to offer them.   Are you using the right colors for your audience to draw attention to elements you want them to see?  Chose two to four colors for your template. 

4.       Clear navigation.  Make sure you layout is clear and concise.  Organize the page so that it is in a grid fashion (as opposed to scattered). Don’t be afraid of white space, and avoid clutter!

5.       Typography.  Make sure your website is legible. Use fonts, font sizes, and font colors that are easy to read.

6.       Keep elements on your site fairly consistent.  Your site needs to have a good flow from page to page. Navigation should remain in the same location of your layout throughout your website.

7.       Use the right images.  Images can be a powerful element to any website, but you need to use them wisely. Consider stock photography. Stock images are seen everywhere because they are easily accessible and inexpensive.

If you want to gain significant traffic, make sure that anyone visiting your website can view it no matter what browser or application they're using. Mobile phones and tablet devices are becoming more prominent, so make sure you make your site mobile friendly.  

Use the above tips to really jazz up your site and keep your users on it for as long as possible.  You want your users to keep you front of mind so keeping them on your site is critical to doing that.

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