For most businesses these days, your website is one of your primary assets. This is the case even if you are not offering e-commerce or online services.
Your website can serve as your virtual shop window and numerous studies have shown that customers are increasingly researching their purchases online, even if they shop in-store or go on to order a physical service – whether that is building work or dog-walking service.
Every website is as different just as every business is different, but here are 10 general web design tips for making sure yours is successful…
Deliver A Strong Brand Message
Your website is often the first port of call in your customer’s journey and first impressions count. From your home page to your landing pages and through every page of your site, you get to sell your own story and brand. This can run through an ‘About us’ section and should also be reflected visually through your logo and other visual elements.
Make Your Website Responsive
The way that people shop and browse has changed massively over the past few years. Worldwide, more people now access the internet through mobile than desktop, while in the UK it is pretty much an even split.1 Not too long ago it was common to have different versions of your website depending on the type of device it was viewed on but now it is more effective to have a fluid, responsive web design.
This can adapt to the devices and screen sizes it is being viewed on, presenting a mobile-friendly view when required. The prevalence of apps is also making complementary mobile app development more and more important.
Use Clear Navigation Methods
Allowing prospective customers to get around your website in a simple and intuitive manner is crucial to your website’s success. If visitors cannot easily navigate they are less likely to find what they want or respond to your calls to action. This can also increase your bounce rate – the number of people who enter the site and leave without doing anything else or exploring further. Clear navigation bars and menus can certainly help and again, you should ensure that people can easily navigate when viewing on mobile devices.
Make It Easy To Use
As well as navigation, you should concentrate on usability, making sure that people can complete the tasks that they want to (and that you want them to in your calls to action). This is particularly important for e-commerce web design, where the purchase journey might both begin and end on your website. Using visual hierarchy, for example – a technique that arranges elements such as menu icons in a way that allows users to easily understand the information in an intuitive way – can be used strategically to guide them to key parts of the website.
Whether they are browsing between pages or looking to complete a particular task, visitors to your website will generally appreciate a consistent design and experience. Pages that look strikingly different or are not arranged in a similar way can be disorienting.
Using the services of professional web designers can help to ensure that all your pages are consistently functional and navigable, improving the user experience and helping your users to achieve what they want to while visiting your website.
Aim For Simplicity
When it comes to web design, less is often more. An uncluttered design can help your visitors to concentrate on the important pieces of content and also helps make it easy to understand. Plenty of white space and small sections of text, for example, can help visitors to scan and digest the content in order to find what they need. This doesn’t mean you can’t use nice imagery or clever touches, but one of the rules of thumb is that simplicity is often the best option.
Build-in Backwards Compatibility
Leading on from the point of keeping things simple, it can often be useful to simplify your code and make sure your site displays, loads and functions properly without your visitors needing to be on the fastest smartphone or highest-spec computer. You don’t want to compromise on high-quality design and functionality of key elements, but you should try to ensure that your site will display and work well on a range of devices and operating systems.
Have A Need For Speed
Many people will abandon a page if it does not load quickly enough and low page-loading speeds can also have an effect on your rankings on Google and other search engines. There are a number of ways you can boost your speeds, including optimising images and videos and making sure your website host is able to handle your bandwidth requirements.
Think About Your Target Audience
As well as ensuring that people can access your website from a range of devices, you should design it with your target audience in mind. This applies to the copy and content of your site as well as the way it looks. Your business and brand will determine your tone of voice to a large part and you might have to consider whether you want to come across as formal and professional or friendly or quirky.
No one knows your own business or customers better than you, but analysing your website performance and what works or doesn’t might provide the odd surprise and prompt you to tweak or even radically change your approach.
There’s little point in having the sleekest, most usable and navigable website that’s packed with valuable content if no one ever gets to see it. There are a number of ways to drive traffic to your site but in most cases, the most important remains search engine optimisation or SEO. Think about the number of times you venture beyond the first page or two when making a search on Google or another search engine, and you’ll start to understand the importance of appearing high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).
Essentially, this means using various techniques to make your website easy to find for web crawlers and helping it to appear as close to the top of the search results as possible when people look for keywords relevant to your site.
Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2022 in Web Design.