Your website is your school’s online headquarters, and as such, it needs to do a great job of representing what you offer. One element of web design that many martial arts schools overlook is layout – the way the various elements of your site look on the page.
Why Layout Matters
The colors, images, and fonts you use on your website are important, and they’re also fun to think about so they tend to get a lot of attention. The same cannot be said of a site’s layout, and yet the layout is just as important – if not more so – to users who visit your site.
To understand the importance of layout, imagine two web pages side by side. The first features an impenetrable block of text. There are no paragraphs or images to break it up, and before you even start reading, it feels like a chore.
The second page features a lot of white space. It’s laid out neatly in short paragraphs that are broken up by subheadings, bullet points, and images. It’s inviting – you can tell just by looking at it that reading it will be a pleasure.
For obvious reasons, you want your website to be like the second page. That’s why layout matters. If your website doesn’t look inviting – and if it doesn’t make it easy for people to find the information they need – they’ll navigate away and look for another option.
The Science of Web Layout
Did you know that people all tend to read websites in the same way? An eye tracking study from 2006 examined the way people read online, and it found that most people read in an “F” pattern. What that means is that they do the following:
- They read across the top of the page
- They skim down the left-hand side of the page
- They occasionally skip across to read subheadings
These three actions demonstrate clearly why it’s important to have a compelling headline and to break your text up with bullet points and subheadings. They’re easy to read. They make it simple for visitors to your site to pick up the key information they need quickly.
Creating the Perfect Layout
Now, let’s put these things together and talk about how you can perfect the layout of your website.
Each page of your site – and each blog post – should have a compelling headline that lets readers know what they’ll be reading.
Your paragraphs should be brief. In general, try to keep them to two or three sentences at most to ensure there’s plenty of white space on the page.
Then, do as many of the following things as possible:
- Use bullet points to break out lists into individual, easily-scannable items
- Use numbers to specify steps for the reader to take
- Break your content into sections and write informative subheadings for each
- Use compelling and relevant images to add visual interest
You should also make sure that links are clearly indicated (they should be a different color than the rest of your text) and that all internal and external links work properly.
If you follow these guidelines, then first-time visitors to your site will be eager to read your content and learn about your school.
Not ready to re-do your website on your own? Let us do it for you! Learn more about our lead-generating websites for martial arts schools.