The details of your website layout will be part of the overall design process, and will be informed by your content as well as SEO strategy considerations. However, the most basic level of layout is often a subjective aesthetic choice. Here are some of the layouts designers are using for websites now.
The three column style is a traditional look. There’s a central column for major content, plus two sidebars which can hold images, extra information, or dynamic elements. The right-hand column sometimes contains ads, and often has things like a search box, Twitter feed, or subscription forms.
There can also be two-column layouts. The site below, several years old now, has left-column navigation and a rotating banner in the right-hand column above the main text.
In the past, we saw one-column layouts, but people generally find shorter blocks of text easier to read on a screen, so we don’t often see those now.
Another popular style is the banner-plus-buckets look. With this one, a large often rotating banner sits atop three or so images, each of which links to another part of the website.
This general layout can be adapted in many ways, giving entirely custom effects.
A banner above columns of content is a very common layout.
Again, there are so many variations of this approach that it can look completely different on different websites.
A banner can also be partial, either appearing above some of the columns of text or, as in the screenshot below, partially covered by another element.
The example below shows a banner stretching only partway across the page.
Another style puts the visual focus lower, using spotlight boxes to draw the eye down the page.
Here’s the stacked style, which puts one screen’s worth of content on top of another. This is a popular trend among designers right now.
One of these layouts may immediately appeal to you more than another, or your content may be better suited to one or another of the basic layouts. If so, be sure to convey this to your designer at the beginning of the redesign. Regardless of which you choose, a good designer will make your website look different from all the other sites on the web.
The screenshots on this page show Haden Interactive websites designed by Tom Hapgood, Paul Fraley, and Jay Jaro.