Building a website seems like a pretty easy process: pick a design, pick a web hosting service, then hit the ‘on’ button when it’s all ready to go. But building a successful, useful site takes a bit more thinking than that: here are five great tips to keep in mind when building a website, whether it’s to highlight a hobby, tell some stories, or build a following for a business.

Keep the rich media to a minimum

Sure, having a lot of fancy-looking audio and visual content on the home page looks (and sounds) like an awesome idea – but there are a number of problems that arise from having a lot of rich media content on one’s website. First of all, it leads to long loading times, with lots of embedded content and complicated scripts to run. Second, it bombards the user with undesired contact: they didn’t head to a website to be constantly distracted by numerous animations, or a video advertisement playing at full volume. Keep things simple with the sites you build at HostPapa, myHosting, or any other web hosting service: overwhelming a visitor is a quick way to drive them away, never to return.

Avoid high-contrast colors and multiple fonts

Orange and red might be your favorite colors, but they make for terrible web site designs: there’s a distinct reason most websites stick to simple black-and-white designs when it comes to site designs, allowing splashes of color to give dimension to the page, highlighting useful tool bars or interesting components a user may want to see. But everything on a page doesn’t have to scream for attention: the more colors, fonts, and headings used across one site, the more jumbled and confusing it gets. Sit down with the person designing your site, and work out a simple, functional template for each page to be built on: a few colors go a long way, and a consistent color/text scheme for a smooth browsing experience.

Don’t forget a mission statement

Although the existence of many sites and businesses are self-explanatory, it’s essential to make it clear on a dedicated page. It doesn’t have to be a long, overwrought declaration of some sort, full of high-resolution images and videos that waste valuable space in yourNamecheap web hosting option, just a simple statement of who you are and what the site is for. A little bit of transparency goes a long way in the crowded, anonymous internet world, so don’t underestimate the value of reaching out to visitors to your site.

Know your audience

Another step that might seem obvious at first, targeting a site to the right audience is actually a very-overlooked part of web design. For example, a site anticipating a lot of traffic from elderly people will not want to go with a text-heavy design full of rich media content. Knowing your audience is a key step to having a successful website, be it who they are, where they are, or what they’re reading your content on. Most statistic trackers are fairly simple to install with web hosting services like Name Cheap or MyHosting, and will go a long way to optimizing site design and curating content for the right audience.

Keep pages short, and sites small

Unless you’re building a massive marketplace with a wild variance in products, the most important thing to remember when designing a site is to keep it simple. Don’t have pages that involve tons of scrolling: people don’t like to search for bits of information, and long pages packed with information makes for a confusing, exhausting read.

The second part of this tip – keeping the site “small” – is an easy trap to fall into. Building a site with a lot of links and sub-pages and separate websites only leads to one thing: people leaving your site. So how does one combat this? Again, minimalist thinking is the path to success: for most businesses and personal sites, having three or four pages in total on a website is really all one needs to keep visitors informed, engaged – and most importantly, returning.