Perhaps one of the most daunting tasks when starting an online venture is generating ideas for a website. It applies equally to content and design. You’ll want to come up with good website ideas that will hook visitors. Then you’ll want to present them in a way that is appealing and keep those visitors returning.
So how should you go about brainstorming website ideas? “Study the masters,” they say. Let’s take a look at what’s out there, what might inspire you, and how you may be able to put your touch on it.
Great Website Ideas for 2016 And Beyond
To be successful, you’ll have to come up with something people will want to read about continually. You also have to make sure that you can provide a unique take so that you can forge your place in what might be an already saturated arena.
The Fashion Website
The fashion-oriented websites and blogs are a mainstay of the web. They cover fashion, to be sure, but also extend their reach into other lifestyle topics. Health, wealth, and overall beauty all fall under the purview of this website variety. They aren’t limited by gender, so you can have at it whether you’re male or female.
There are already plenty of great examples from which to draw inspiration. Style Me Grasie puts out articles on current fashion topics of interest. Supply has a collection of brands and products that they offer. Stella McCartney has a blog where she does news and interviews, and also peddles her wares. Each has a slightly different focus, providing a unique role in the industry.
What’s one way you can tackle it? If you have original fashions to share you can certainly do so. You can also cover news and various trending topics.
One avenue that is gaining traction is assembling and marketing different looks. You can scour the web for style trends, put together outfits based on different looks, talk about why the look so impressive. You would also serve as an outlet for visitors to procure this look. Stockpiling the component pieces and selling the outfits once you generated some interest.
You might even be able to tailor the site to fit a more niche market, for instance, mid or plus-sized women. This will allow you to focus on a specific segment of the population, and make visitors feel like you’re providing them with a unique service.
If you’re well versed at beauty and makeup, share some tips. Tutorials are always in demand, and if you have some signature techniques, readers would love to know about them.
The Gaming Website
The number of sites that review games and talk about gaming news might be endless. You’ve got IGN, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku, and the like. You likely can’t be a humongous site with multiple writers straight out the gate. What you can do, though, is provide your insights in a manner that builds a dedicated following.
Jim Sterling, for instance, has made a mark with his dry, biting wit. “Angry” Joe Vargas has humorous skits and a “tell-it-like-it-is” reviewing style that audiences enjoy. You could potentially carve out your niche, appealing to gamers with a unique style.
You can weave in personal stories. You can explore your thoughts on industry trends. You can talk about what excites you, what has you hopeful, and what’s grinding your gears. Talk about gaming history, little-known gaming facts, and hypothetical scenarios.
You might even be able to approach things from an art & design angle. Talk about what makes certain stories appealing and which art styles are the most clever. Delve into the ins-and-outs of game design. Break down the minutiae in a way that would appeal to the masses.
Much like many of the other independent gaming icons, you can also build a presence on video services like YouTube and Twitch. Weave all of these things into a tapestry that is your own. There are plenty of creators doing gaming, but none doing it exactly like you would.
The Art, Music, Or Film Website
Perhaps you’re a fan of the arts? Write about it. Journalists and reviewers give their takes on media all the time. Much like the gaming sites, the personal viewpoint is what matters the most.
ScreenJunkies, Colossal, and Pitchfork are good places from which you can draw ideas. Just remember that you’ll be introducing a personal spin. You can talk about how these art forms have inspired you. You can bring in stories about going to concerts or meeting different artists.
If you have creative experience in one of these fields, you can relay that to your audience. Write about the trials of being a creator. Talk about how you hone your craft. Do interviews with your colleagues who are also in the field. You can bring a behind-the-scenes perspective to those that want to hear it.
The Writing Website
Writers writing about writing? It’s writing Inception! It needn’t be as confusing as the movie, though. A writing website can be a place to talk about your personal process. Much like Susannah Breslin or Jeff Goins, you can write about what it’s like being a writer.
If you write fiction, you might also mix in the Stephen King or Salman Rushdie approach. Promote your works, or even offer some self-published samples for to whet the appetites of your hungry readers.
You can talk about the mindset that helps you focus on your goals. You can talk about other authors or works that inspire you to do better. You can provide literary analysis of popular stories. Mix in tales of rejection from editors, and how you’ve learned from setbacks.
Travel, and write about your time spent traversing the country. What you learn along the way could be of interest to many. Keep it fresh and fun, add your heart and soul, and you might end up with a winning formula.
The Sports Website
If you have a deep understanding of a sport, you can share it with visitors. BJPenn.com is one of many examples. You can provide your take on sporting events, delving into analysis on what teams or competitors did right/wrong. You can cover news of the day, and how it will affect the sport as a whole. You can write about your favorite athletes, and what you find intriguing about their personal flair.
If you’re into fantasy sports, there’s a market for that as well. Strategies, top picks, projections on fantasy sports trends are a big ticket. You could document your journey in your fantasy sports leagues, weaving in the trash talk and rivalries that are emblematic of the hobby.
The Health & Fitness Website
Lots of people want to get in shape. Many of those people love receiving motivation from others who have braved the road to immaculate health and fitness. Could you dispense some advice on how you did it?
Lauren Fleshman is a runner who shares her stories as an athlete and business owner. Tony Gentilcore is a strength coach who provides tips on staying in shape. You could bring a similar perspective, especially if you have standing in the realm of health and fitness.
Share workout routines and take questions from readers. Address the concerns of people who are fearful about working out for the first time. Be an inspiration for those who want to change their lives, but don’t quite know how.
You could bring in a humorous approach, like the Hodgetwins or the “Brofessor,” Dom Mazzetti. These types of sites also allow you to market fitness wares, clothing, and other merchandise to increase your income stream.
These efforts can tie into YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter promotion, extending your reach. Paige Hathaway and Laci Somers have set the blueprint on how to dominate the social media game. Be sure to check them out to gain insights on how to make some headway in this arena.
The Gear Review Website
There are a lot of products around, and people want honest information to make purchasing decisions. You can review the products and provide straightforward feedback on what you think works, and what doesn’t. This could apply to just about any consumer market.
Cameras, for instance, are expensive, and customers need to make sure they’re spending their money wisely. Talk about the best camera bodies, the best lenses, the best brands. Let people know what they should be getting, and what they might want to avoid. Throw in some expert opinions, and fine tune recommendations based upon the product’s specifics.
You can monetize these efforts through something like an Amazon Associates Program. You advertise and link to certain products, and Amazon gives you a cut on some of the profit.
It doesn’t just have to be cameras, though. Sporting goods, home supplies, furniture, musical equipment and much more could be your focus.
The Pet-Centric Website
People love animals. If you love animals too, you can write about them. Advice on how to care for pets is popular. Articles about pet behavior are an excellent source for material. Training tips and funny pet stories can also make for sources of discussion.
You can also target pet products, doing reviews of things pet owners are likely to buy. Advertise hot ticket items, and even market your own if you have them.
Design Ideas for Websites
Once you have some website ideas that you can run with, you’ll need to plan how you want the site to look. Visual appeal goes a long way. Perfecting an appearance that will draw in readers is going to be vital to your success.
Keep It Clean
If your layout is messy and hard to follow, visitors will be clicking away in a hurry. Overloading visitors with too much at once is a turn-off. Come correct with a clear, concise presentation that conveys who you are and what you do. Less is more.
Keep the important stuff “above the fold.” This means that the essentials are all viewable when a visitor first lands on your page. If they have to scroll to find out what’s going on, they’ll likely become fed up. This includes your statement of purpose and site navigation buttons.
Implement easy to read fonts, and limit the number that you use. Font choice has a pronounced psychological effect on visitors. If they can’t read what you’re trying to tell them, it’s a wasted effort. Fonts also convey personality. Make sure yours reflect what your site is all about.
Don’t use jarring color schemes. Consult a color guide to see what complements what. If you opt for a background image, make sure it goes with the colors that you have selected. Don’t fear white space. Don’t include sliders or other annoying distractions that can harm the user experience.
When it comes to images, be judicious. Make sure any images you use are high resolution. Pixelated or low-quality imagery screams “unprofessional.”
You might opt for a video. Again, make sure the quality is superb. You should also make sure that it is relevant. A video that has nothing to do with your site’s purpose has no business being there, regardless of how cool it is. Be careful that your video isn’t hogging too many resources. If it’s slowing down your site’s performance, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Guide Your Visitors
Your homepage should be the hook that draws visitors in to view more. Once you have their attention, direct them to the other pages on your site so they can explore your content. Review everything to make sure it flows naturally.
Calls to action can work, but you have to do them right. Don’t include too many. One is plenty, and it should be compelling enough to get visitors to continue perusing what you have to offer. Keep it visible, keep it under four words, and keep it powerful.
Keeping content on the homepage fresh will convey to visitors that you are active. If they keep coming back to the same old thing, they will lose interest. Your key points can remain the same, but change things up by way of a blog or news on what you’re doing.
Just remember not to go overboard. No one wants to read a novel on the first page. Save the in-depth stuff for your other pages, and keep the homepage light and fresh.
Don’t Be Afraid To Borrow
If it works, it works. Check out what other sites are doing right and put that to practice on your own. There are tons of sources showcasing quality design. Refer to them often to gain inspiration.
Trends To Keep In Mind
You should stay aware of what’s current in web design. You don’t have to make use of every new trend or feature, but knowing what’s out there will help you in your plans. Here are some things to watch for currently.
The Hamburger Menu
It’s hotly contested. Some designers love it; others loathe it. Its presence seems ubiquitous, though, and it does have some benefits. Many users already know what it is and how to use it, so you may consider having one on your site. Here’a a tutorial explaining how to add a hamburger menu in WordPress:
The Long Scroll
Some designers eschew the idea of keeping things above the fold. The counterargument is that today’s web users scroll through sites every day when viewing on mobile devices, so you might as well go for it. The long scroll allows for a form of visual storytelling, broken down into sections for easier navigation.
The Hero Image
One large, compelling banner, coming right up! This oversized header can be useful for immediately capturing attention. You can then prompt visitors to poke around further and learn more about your site.
The Card Layout
This allows you to break your information into bite-sized, rectangular chunks. The cards are “containers” for different topics, giving you the power to organize related information with ease.
Too much movement on a site can be distracting. Just enough movement can be compelling, though. Animations act as storytelling devices, enhancing interactivity and making the web surfing experience more entertaining.
You should now have enough website ideas to get started. Remember that brainstorming can seem tough, but if you make use of the wealth of resources the Internet has to offer, you can make the process easier.
Draw inspiration from others, add your personal touch and keep refining your own creativity. Anyone can carve out a spot on the web if they recognize what they have to offer and aren’t afraid to express it.
When designing your site, stick to the fundamentals, and don’t hesitate to call on some expert advice if you need it. Following these principles will put you in an advantageous position to stake your claim with a killer website that keeps the visitors coming back for more.