The most important aspect of an authority website is the content. Therefore, you want to put the content front and center. The best web design for an authority site is a blog focused design or a magazine design where the content takes center stage. The best way to build a website like this is to use self-hosted WordPress as your platform. There are many free and premium WordPress themes that you can use for your authority site. But whatever platform you use, it’s important to follow basic website design rules.
1. Visually Pleasing
Using images, whitespace, colors and space in a visually pleasing manner means you need to understand how web design is different from designing something for print. People read the web differently than they read a book or a magazine. Understand how people scan websites, compared to how they read magazines and you’ll do a better job creating a visually pleasing website.
2. Easy Navigation
Don’t try to be clever with the names of links. Give links the names they should have such as Signup, Contact, Subscribe and so forth. People know what these words mean, don’t create a new word just because you want to be different. Instead you’ll create confusion.
3. Fast Loading
No one is going to wait 5 minutes for your site to load. You’ll be lucky if they want 30 seconds. Creating a fast loading site is essential to your success with an authority site. You want readers to be able to get to your content without any frustration.
4. Responsive Design
Today, with more people purchasing smartphone technology than personal computers it’s imperative that your website be designed so that it’s responsive to the type of devices being used to access the information. When determining your target market, find out how they typically access the web.
5. Unobtrusive Signup Forms & Ads
Don’t put a bunch of popup and flashy, intrusive sign up forms and ads that will frustrate your readers. If you do use pop-ups or pop-unders use well-made designs that are easy to close so readers can get to the content.
6. Up Front & Center Features
If you want your readers to do something make it simple; put it up front and center. If your goal is to get readers to sign up for your newsletter, make it clear by putting the sign up form above the fold, and ask them to sign up. Tell them how; give them the steps in a clear manner.
7. Useful Content in Many Forms
Avoid promotional writing, and focus on creating informational content in text, video, imagery, and all the forms that you can. Some people enjoy reading short blog posts, some will enjoy getting deeper and reading a white paper, others will love watching your step-by-step video tutorials. Give them everything. Repurpose each piece of content into several forms for best results.
8. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
It can be tempting to make a totally different web design to be different but it’s better to stick with current convention than to make a site so different that users are confused. Your readers have expectations that a website will look and behave like a website, don’t scare them off by making your site too different.
9. Test Everything Always
Anytime you add a new feature to your website it’s imperative that you test it to ensure that it works right. Get someone else to test it out, to make sure they understand how to get around your site without you leading them. Testing it yourself never works well because you understand what you did; get someone who has never seen it to test it.
Designing a website that works well as an authority site isn’t much different from designing any website except that in the case of an authority site the content is the main thing, so you want the content to be front and center. A blog type design works very well for an authority site, and self-hosted WordPress works very well for this type of website. Once you understand the fundamentals of effective website design, you’ll need to think about how to choose a niche.