Designing a good website is more than just cosmetic. It’s about the user experience, it's about conversion rate optimization, and it's about making your business stand out from all of the others.
This post will cover seven critical principles that every great website should have to succeed.
Have a clear goal for your website
Is your website goal to increase traffic?
To get people signed up for a newsletter or mailing list?
Is it to attract clients so that you can sell them something?
No matter the objective, every successful website should have these seven critical elements.
Keep a consistent look and feel
Regardless of the type of website, every page should have the same characteristics.
You want to keep your website organized so that it is easy for people to browse through and make your site look professional, attracting more customers.
Some of these characteristics include, but are not limited to:
- Ensure your website’s title looks the same on every page
- Use the same color scheme on every page
- Use the same fonts on every page
Be super clear on what your website offers in the first 5 seconds
One of the first questions we ask our clients: “What does your business do?”
If you can’t answer that question or what you say is not crystal clear, you have a website that’s not delivering on its promise.
Many websites fail to be clear about what their visitors will find when they land on the site, and as a result, they fail to attract the right audience and sell their products or services effectively.
One of the most common website design mistakes that small businesses make is easy to avoid.
A clear homepage answers the question "what do you do?" and "why should I buy from you?" first 5 seconds.
Keep your website design simple
Keeping your website simple means it is easy to use and provides quick access to the information your visitors want. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this:
- Design with purpose. Know why you are designing a certain page and what you want your visitors to get from visiting it.
- Remove clutter. Do not add useless information to your pages. Eliminate anything that does not add value to your content.
- Use white space. White space is a design technique that adds areas of blank, empty or negative space to compositions to make them appear more organized and balanced.
- Use simple language. Don't use terms or industry jargon. You will confuse the end-user.
There are many other ways to keep your website simple, but these three tips should help you get started on the right path towards better usability.
Design with the end-user in mind
It's a marketing cliché - but it's true. Whether you're a marketer, a designer, a copywriter, or a developer, it's vital to remember that you're not just designing for yourself but your users - and it's your job to make your website easy to use and super-intuitive to navigate.
The website should be so easy to use that your users don't have to think about how to use it.
They should be able to go about their business without using their brains to think about what they need to do.
Your website is a salesperson – an online salesperson.
And like any salesperson, it needs to know how to persuade its audience – in this case, its visitors – into taking action.
This action can be anything from signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, visiting another page, or spending more time on your site. So how do you persuade people to take action?
Have a clear call to action
The call to action is an invitation to your website visitors to take the next step and do something with your business.
They effectively encourage your site visitors to stay on your site and convert into paying customers. But successful calls to action are more than just pretty buttons that scream “click me.”
They need to be effective at grabbing your visitors’ attention and encouraging them to do something.
Create a call to action that does all of this and more. Here are seven critical elements your call to action should have, along with tips on how to make them work:
- Have an enticing headline
- Keep it concise
- Include the benefit you’ll provide if they click through or take the desired.
Use a grid to layout your website content
A grid can be your best friend when designing your website.
Using a grid to organize your content will give your site a clean, professional look and allow you to incorporate branding and personality while keeping a consistent structure throughout the site.
Design for mobile users first
As mobile devices continue to increase, according to Google's latest data, 68% of global internet users are now accessing the web via a mobile device. Mobile traffic has grown considerably in the past year.
So why is mobile-friendly important? Mobile visitors are more likely to convert than desktop visitors. Traffic from mobile devices is multiplying.
The longer a business waits to make its site mobile-friendly, the more visitors it risks losing to competitors.
Fast Load Times
Slow-loading websites are a severe detriment to the user experience. According to a study by Akamai, more than half of the internet users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Google has confirmed that site speed is a factor in the search engine’s ranking algorithm.
Slow-loading websites will not rank as well in Google search results as their faster-loading competitors.
A good website design that is responsive and fast loading will have a significant impact on the success of your business.
So don’t just focus on fancy graphics or cool animations. There is so much more to it than that!
You need to think about the end-user and design around that.
Get a free website audit
Whether you're a small business owner or a solo practitioner, a website audit is a perfect way to ensure your website is up-to-date and compliant with the latest web standards. A well-designed website can help you attract new clients, streamline tasks and increase your search engine ranking.
Contact us today to talk to a web design expert and start growing your business.