With the ever increasing battle of search engines changing their search algorithms and so many websites written and published on the same topic, it’s not surprising that you want to ensure your website design results in repeat and returning visitors, and one which offers them a compelling and enjoyable browsing experience.
Your website represents more than just the service you offer or the products you sell. To the people who visit your website, they’ll be looking at how easy it is to find the information that brought them there in the first place, if there are any reviews or testimonials from others, how easy it is to contact you or make a purchase on your website. This is where good website design should not just be left in the hands of your website designer but considered from the perspective of those who will be looking at and reading your website.
Tip #1: Make your website design clutter-less
We all have heard the expression – less is more, this is especially true in website design. You don’t want to immediately overwhelm your visitors with pop-up boxes, unnecessarily large fonts, loud clashing colours, and images which are not optimized, making the website take a long time to download/open in a browser. Make sure that all your visuals are complementary, colours match, font size responsive to whatever browser or device your visitors chooses and images are optimized i.e. they are fast-loading and harmonious with the style of your websites design.
Organise your website into pages, categories and topics that would make it intuitive for a first time user of your website. You don’t want to have all your call-to-actions or special offers on your homepage because not all your web visitors will arrive on that page. However, it is important that your call-to-actions are placed prominently on the appropriate web pages, preferably in the top half (known as above the fold) so your web visitors don’t need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it, and figure out what you intended them to do, or what they wanted to accomplish.
Tip #2: Offer web visitors a content rich experience
Although you want your website to load quickly and be concise, this doesn’t need to be at the expense of giving your web visitors a boring and bland experience. Your website needs to be interesting and pique their curiosity, enticing them to return to your website many times.
How do you do this? By offering your web visitors new and fresh content regularly, using language which is engaging and entertaining, responding to comments and feedback which shows you are human and connecting with them. The more content you have for them to read, the more opportunities you give them to interact with you. Think about websites you visit regularly, it’s always fun to see what’s new and see something you haven’t read before.
Tip #3: Create a consistent web design style
This may seem obvious, but it is surprising the number of websites I have visited where the side navigation has moved from the left on one page to the right side on another page in the same website! Or the logo has changed colour, size and positioning within the same website. When you are setting up a website for your business, it is essential that the layout is consistent across every page of your website so visitors don’t notice any significant style changes in your website design, making it difficult for them to navigate through your website.
Keep the font sizes, navigational elements (such as your menus), logo placement and size consistent. If your website alters in its look and feel significantly between web pages, it will look unprofessional and your web visitors will be confused about where they are. If the layout; font colours and sizes change, your web visitors will lose focus and not return to your site. The design needs to be consistent so as to create a strong and pleasing visual aesthetic, as well as invoke a feeling of confidence and recognition.
Tip #4: Stay with familiar design elements
There’s a reason why some websites all have the same social media icons, or have the name of their website/logo as a link back to their homepage or some maybe have an RSS feed on their websites – they are instantly recogniseable and immediately identifiable by website visitors.
There are certain web design elements that need to have a certain standardization for your web visitors, so they can immediately have the confidence of using your website. Doing something that is different and looks unique may be detrimental to your web visitors because they aren’t necessarily drawn to click on things they don’t understand or doesn’t attract them.
Tip #5: Build your website for browser friendliness
With more people choosing how they look at websites on a variety of browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge etc) and many different devices (i.e. laptops, tablets, iPads, smart phones etc) it is important your website is able to be configurable and accessible by all. This means regardless of what device you are using, or what browser you use, your website should not have a negative impact on your web visitors.
You should thoroughly test your website throughout the web design process to ensure your website is robust enough and gives your web visitors a good consistent experience. By testing the usability of your website you get to see exactly what your web visitors see and experience. You don’t want to unwittingly exclude any of your web visitors by having a design that does not make it easy for them to access, navigate, read or give them any reason not to return.
Website design is not just in the eye of the beholder (or the hands of your website designer), you need to really design your website to attract and entice your website visitors to want to come back for more. By making your website memorable, easy to use, publishing fresh new content, and by applying these straightforward tips your website will be a site that visitors will find an enjoyable and compelling experience.