Online newspapers and magazines are unique.
They aren’t like most other sites that provide content to an audience.
The difference is that online newspapers and magazines have the potential to provide much more content to its audience, which is why their homepage is usually filled with text and graphics.
This can present challenges, especially when it comes to usability and layout. Learn how these challenges can hurt the performance of your online newspaper or magazine and how to overcome them to optimize performance.
And most importantly, why good design is important for online newspapers and magazines.
Check out our article on the best newspaper website designs to get some inspiration.
Overwhelming Design Turns People Away
It only takes two seconds for someone to decide if they want to stay on a site.
Usually, the first thing they notice is the layout of the page. Most people enjoy having a layout that is aesthetically pleasing but easy to digest. If the layout is overwhelming with too much information presented, they will definitely feel like jumping ship and heading to another website. Losing business this way is unnecessary.
All you need to do is ensure you have a good balance of content on your homepage.
Images break up stories. Clear, medium size font makes it easy to read.
Keeping in mind readers read from left to right can also help you with the layout of your homepage. Guide people through your homepage by putting images and text spaced just enough so they can read, digest and move on to the next article title.
Hard to Read Text Makes People Tired
Most online newspapers and magazines have a white background and black text.
There’s a reason for this. People want a site that is easy to read, and this combination is the easiest.
When people can’t read a site’s text easily, they don’t usually spend much time on it. They may become tired from reading or they don’t even try to read it and move on to the next site. Again, this is another way you lose traffic and possible revenue. Check out Google Fonts for a selection of nice and easy to read fonts for your site.
By the way, to some of you this will be painfully obvious but for those that it isn’t – use sans serif fonts for your online newspaper or magazine.
Sans serif fonts are much easier to read on computer monitors while Serif fonts are better suited for tangible mediums like books.
Wrongly Positioned Headers and Sidebars Distract People
If you are looking to make some money from your site, you may have some banner ads.
While using them is a great way to earn an income, they can be distracting to your visitors. If a visitor comes to your site, sees an interesting ad, and clicks on it.
It’s likely the person will go to that ad’s site and never return to yours. This why many publishers use banners that open in a separate window.
However, many of them don’t place banners on their homepage. Instead, they use the banners on other pages because visitors are already invested in the site by the time they get to them, so there’s less chance they will get distracted.
What to Do for Good Online Newspaper and Magazine Design
Your goal is to keep people on your page as long as possible, so they can read the content you provide.
When your layout is not overwhelming, the text is easy to read, and the sidebars don’t distract them, there’s a high likelihood they will remain on your page. That being said, there are still some other ways to keep your visitors engaged with your site
Easy to Use Navigation
Navigation bars are usually underneath the title of the page, but above the content.
This makes it easy to find, as we are all fairly used to this setup. The navigation bar’s text should be easy to read with a clear, good size font. A dark colored font with a light colored background works best for the navigation bar.
When the navigation bar is easy to see and use, people will be able to find what they are looking for quickly on the rest of your site.
That’s what you want them to do because if they don’t find what they need fast enough, they’ll find another website that will provide them the content they seek in much less time.
Tabbed content provides browsers a way to find new and popular articles on your online newspaper or magazine.
It’s a good idea to do this because as people find what they are coming to your site for, they will stick around longer if they find something of interest in the tabbed content section.
Boost Traffic and Lower Bounce Rates with a Better Design
When you have a better design, you’ll increase the traffic to your site.
People will be more likely to recommend your site to others and share it on social media. A good design will also lower bounce rates. A bounce rate tells you the percentage of people that come to your site and leave shortly afterwards. You want that rate to be low because it means people are engaging with your site.
Give the suggestions provided here a try. You may soon see how beneficial a good design can be for your site.
What tips or techniques do you have for good online newspaper and magazine design? Let us know in the comments below!