Parts of a Web Page Layout
Table of Contents
To be successful, your site needs much more than just solid content. It has to look good, too.
Most people are visual learners. Aesthetics play an important role in how people navigate your site and find the information that’s pertinent to their needs. There’s a fine balance between creating a look that represents your brand identity while delivering your intended message.
Think about your browsing habits. When was the last time that you spent any significant amount of time on an old, outdated, and clunky website? Modern web design has evolved quite a bit in the last decade. These days, web users expect only the best when it comes to layout and the overall user experience.
So, what makes a good website design? Contemporary web design is all about simplicity and controlling how your visitor’s eyes move around the page. Here’s a guide on the parts of a web page layout that you need to implement into your design. While they may seem like simple concepts, proper execution can make all the difference.
Headers are, by far, one of the most critical aspects of your page layout. It’s the first thing that your visitors will see. Plus, it establishes the overall theme of your site and can be used for branding.
The great thing about a good website header is that it remains consistent across all of your pages. Technically speaking, websites are nothing more than a collection of pages under the same domain. Depending on the type of content you’re hosting, each page could come from different sources. The header is what’s going to tie everything together into one cohesive site.
Generally, headers are placed on the top of every page. While the exact parameters of your header will vary based on your needs, most sites include the following elements.
1. Navigation Menu
The navigation menu helps your visitors find the content they’re after. Menus can be static, animated, or use intuitive tabs. Whatever the case may be, it’s a crucial part of the user interface. We’ll get into the importance of navigation in a bit.
These days, branding is everything. Having a high-quality logo or tagline that you can proudly display in your heady will make your site look more professional and trustworthy. In many cases, the logo will also double as a link to the homepage.
3. Sliding Banner
Also referred to as rotating banners, this element is a relatively new design trend that has been making waves in recent year. Essentially, it’s a large graphical element that shows multiple ads or promotions. Sliding banners are a great way to show off your latest content while providing clickable links.
4. Search Bar
If you have a large site with multiple pages, a search bar is a must-have. Statistically, people who access your site on a mobile device are more likely to use the search bar to find relevant information. The same goes for those who know exactly what they’re after.
5. Personalized Extras
Finally, we come to the smaller components. These include links to log into personal accounts, shopping cart links, and anything else your visitors will regularly use when they’re browsing. Because the header will be on every page, you can use it as a central hub for everything your visitors need.
Site navigation is so important that it deserved its own section. User-friendly menus make all the difference in how people find content that’s most important to them. If a web user is having a hard time getting the information they’re looking for, what’s stopping them from visiting one of your competitors?
Ultimately, a solid navigation system can:
- Improve SEO
- Give your site a professional look
- Increase the amount of time people spend on your site
- Make it easier for visitors to find new content or products
- Improve accessibility to all visitors
- Enhance flow from one section of your site to another
Proper navigation is one of the most crucial parts of a web page layout because it plays a role in information architecture. It creates the page hierarchy and adds some much-needed structure. You can implement navigational menus in several different ways. Most often, they’re most successful when they’re implemented into the header or located just below it. Alternatively, you can create an interactive display that changes based on where the mouse is located. Or, you can put it on the sidebar. The possibilities are endless.
If you have a site with hundreds of pages, you may benefit from implementing breadcrumb navigation. It’s best on e-commerce sites or digital spaces with an established hierarchy of pages.
Basically, breadcrumb navigation is a secondary navigation scheme that shows visitors where they are in that hierarchy. Instead of having to start their browsing session from scratch whenever they want to get back to where they were, they can use the breadcrumb system.
For example, say that you run an e-commerce site with a wide range of fashion products. Your customer may be viewing a specific item that they found through a search engine. On top of the page, the breadcrumb might look like this:
Women’s > Accessories > Jewelry > Rings
That breadcrumb tells them exactly where they are and provides instant links on how to go back. Plus, it shows shoppers that the site also offers several other items to peruse.
While they’re not always necessary, sidebars are a great way to provide visitors with some extra information no matter what type of content they’re viewing. They’re often used to display:
- Navigation menus
- Contact information
- Marketing to other content
- E-mail signups
- Social feed
Sidebars were a big part of web design in the early 2000s. Though, some experts say that they’re outdated. Others say they’re vital to getting the most out of the F-Shaped viewing patterns. If you decide to implement a sidebar, keep things minimal. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your visitors.
No discussion about the parts of web page layout is complete without mentioning the content. You’re going to need some great content to keep your visitors engaged!
Content refers to all of the copy, photos, and digital media that is placed between the header and the footer. It’s the thing that people visit your website for.
When it comes to the type of content you want to display, the sky’s the limit. There are a lot of design trends out there to make your content as captivating as possible. Experiment a bit to see what works for you. Once you find your niche, stick with it to keep your site cohesive.
Finally, we’ve come to the footer. In web layout design, the footer is the small section at the very bottom of the page. It’s often used to provide visitors with some practical information about your site or company. Like the header, this is supposed to remain consistent across all the pages on your website. Here are some elements you may want to include.
Author or Publisher Information
Footers are a great place to talk about the owners of the site. Whether it’s a single author or a larger corporation, some quick information about who operates the site can help to improve credibility and trustworthiness among visitors.
The best website layouts will use the footer as a way to promote other platforms of connection. If the reader liked what they saw, those simple social media icons at the bottom of the page would be ready to guide them to other content and engagement opportunities.
Legal issues are never fun to deal with. Having all legal matters available in your footer can help you avoid headaches in the future. The types of legal information you need to provide will depend entirely on what kind of content you offer. Generally, they include:
- Copyright information
- Terms of Service
Important Navigation Links
Last, but not least, you can use the footer for some navigation. In most cases, companies and website owners will include limited navigation links. You might find links to learn more about the company, customer support, and more.
As you can see, creating the perfect website layout isn’t as simple as some people may think. All of these different components work together to ensure that your site is engaging and accessible. Whether you’re a novice or you’re thinking about updating your existing digital space, keep all of these parts in mind during the design phase. You’ll be surprised by what a difference these simple parts make.
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