A carefully designed website built with the user experience (UX) in mind can win over new prospects 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And on the flip side, a poorly designed site can send them running (well, “clicking”) away to find solutions elsewhere.
Below are vital design, functionality and value principles of web design that will help a business win over prospects – and keep current customers loyal to your brand.
Go With The Flow.
Within seconds, each page of a website should clearly identify what the site is about and allow visitors to flow smoothly though content and call-to-actions. By making the online experience valuable and comfortable, any web site can prove to be a valuable asset and resource to someone searching for specific products or services.
A great website allows visitors to funnel easily through actions, such as buying a product, subscribing to a service, or learning more about a business or industry. A poorly planned website with hard-to-navigate and cumbersome content and disorganized pages leaves visitors confused and dissatisfied with their experience – and your brand.
An interesting fact: eye-tracking studies reveal internet users read webpages in a F-shaped patterns – scanning headlines 1st, then top sentences of paragraphs to determine quickly if they’re in the right place. Headlines and lead sentences utilizing effective keywords keep visitors on a site longer than wordy overstuffed paragraphs.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have extensive information accessible, just offer it up in strategical manners like “learn more” hyperlinks, attention-getting callouts and expandable tabs to keep content organized and easier comprehend.
By nature, we’re attracted to aesthetically pleasing visuals and if a website is “easy on the eyes”, it’s already ahead of the game. Our brains process images up to 60k times faster than words, so using images and styles that reinforce a brand and tell a story is immensely beneficial. High-quality photos and videos, along with consistent and well-planned typography, layout/styles, color schemes and graphics throughout a website can provide an appealing, cohesive familiarity.
Website visitors want instant gratification and research confirms that more than 40% of visitors will abandon a site if it takes too long to load. Also, search engines like Google and Yahoo/Bing take page speed very seriously when it comes to ranking your website.
Ensuring each and every aspect of a website is fully optimized for speed takes a lot of work on the backend. Images, files, codes and scripts must be tested, compressed, and tested again to achieve the best page-load times possible, without sacrificing content.
New Phone, Who Dis?
Mobile traffic makes up more than 50% of online traffic, so if your website doesn’t look and perform well across various devices, you’re fighting a losing battle. Test each web page on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops – not just for aesthetic, but also for speed, functionality and flow. And if something is wonky, tweak it until it’s fixed!
An Ounce Of Prevention is Worth A TON Of Cure.
Before your site goes live, it’s absolutely vital to have 3 resources set up, fully optimized and running: 1. backups, 2. software updates and 3. website security. If these functions aren’t being performed on a regular basis, things can and will go terribly wrong over time, causing devastating and irreversible damage.
Prepare For Takeoff!
Whether you’re designing a site yourself or hiring an experienced website design and marketing expert, take each aspect mentioned here seriously. And once your site is designed, test it, tweak it and test it again, until the final result is a fine-tuned machine, ready to turn your new visitors into longterm clients!