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Its great to see the discussions about the different strategies being used to drive traffic and get noticed online; the best laid SEO, SEM and SMO plans won't be able to execute at their full potential if your site lacks key design and usability standards.
Color themes, page layout, content elements...all items that trigger a subconscious response for the visitor within the first couple of seconds of arriving to your site. Since these are items you can control, why would you want to discount the efforts that are going to represent your brand online?
Conventional wisdom says to pack the pages with content and graphics; brochure style page copy, eye-catching graphics and plenty of "stuff that's cool."
Don't fear the white space. Use it to balance the page and direct the viewer's attention where it needs to be. White space lends itself to creating an open, free flowing and comfortable visual experience. Design studies have also demonstrated that white space helps increase the power of suggestion and influence your visitor's decisions.
Each page of your site is created to perform a specific, revenue producing action. Your page design and layout is the cornerstone of your online strategy. Don't underestimate the power of design and the psychological impact of the colors chosen as well.
What type of emotions are your colors creating?
Web design isn't a "set-it and forget-it" type of activity which ends once the site launches. Continuous tracking, ongoing feedback management and more testing will steer you towards the most effective use of the resources available.
Failure to maximize your design efforts can ultimately lead to lost visitor actions and poor branding opportunities.