In a prior article, we had covered what an ideal website footer should contain. However, the header is equally (if not more) important and can make or break the reputation of the website. This means that everything that goes into the header should be well planned and must be of utmost utility to the website visitor. This article deals with what am ideal website header should contain.
Unlike a footer, the header of a website is its first impression. This means that the entire image and perception of the company is formed by the look and feel of the header. If the header is unsuitable or inappropriate it may repel people from buying from the website or going through its services. Besides the logo or identity of the website, abstract branding design can also be incorporated to give the website a universal brand feel.
Some companies prefer to highlight their phone numbers or live chat options in the header itself, so that a paying customer doesn’t need to go through the website to search for the details. Similarly, some companies just mention their email address or a slider with a Live Chat form for instant support. Apart from all this, there is not much information which can be put in the header, lest it look cluttered and crowded. The more white space or free space a header has, the more people can focus on the important parts.
Recently, people have started putting social media icons in the header and have started putting direct links to their video streams and other marketing content online. Some social media icons change on a per page basis and can also show a summary of how many times the page was liked, clicked or referenced on that platform, by having a small tool tip at the side of the icon.
Some website owners prefer to put a login button with a dropdown login form. Others prefer to incorporate the form directly into the header. Either way, a login form is an important addition to the header area, to ensure that clients can access their client area or private area, without having to search for a link or clicking more than once.
Internal search is important for all websites, especially those which contain a lot of editorial or academic content. Having a search box at the top of the website can also add value to the header and also give the user a quick way of locating exactly what they want through your website. You could also have a search box with suggestions or even a category list, which will save them the time and effort of typing in the most searched or most common phrases associated with your website.
The bottom line when setting up a website header is to ensure that there is maximum focus on the website as a brand and not on showering the visitor with content. Cluttering up the header and putting in too many items can make it very overwhelming, especially for a user who is not very tech savvy and not familiar with navigating websites.