Web Design | 9.17.13
Out of all of the different digital media marketing components to pick and choose from, the most important of all has to be the website. The head honcho, the shining beacon, home sweet home. According to Hubspot, 86.6% of U.S. SMBs cite websites as their most important digital marketing tactic, which makes sense considering it’s usually a helpful tool for customers to learn about a brand.
In fact, 78% of Internet users conduct product research online (Hubspot). And with 90% of users on multiple digital devices, it stands a good chance of being a prospect’s very first impression of your company.
As a result, websites have become more user-centric over the years in terms of usability and utility. Here are six features to include for the best possible website design.
First things first, keep the overall design as simple as possible. A website that looks like it was made in 1994 will lose a visitor’s attention almost instantly. A clean, simple design is usually all you need. Fancy bells and whistles are nice to have, but the key is to not make a website too overcrowded. A simple website will look good and will help you stand out against your competitors.
Usually, the first thing a visitor will do when they first stumble across your website is explore. They’ll take a look at your navigation bars, buttons, your basic “setup,” so to speak. Make navigation bars clear and consistent as to not confuse users and place links consistently on pages. Consider placing all navigation and important content above the fold. In addition, be wary of adding pop-ups or objects that appear out of nowhere. Users usually want to be in control and those types of components can be off-putting. Ask yourself who will be visiting your website? How would they use and navigate your site? Are they very tech-savvy or not at all? Keeping an image of your target audience in mind will be helpful when laying out your site.
“40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.” (Hubspot) And worse, the bounce rate will spike to 100% if it takes longer than 4 seconds; it jumps to 150% if the page takes 8 seconds to load or more (Mobile Jooma). Make sure your developer tests website speed to ensure that all images and content load at an appropriate time. This may take a bit of strategy to figure out where to place content on web pages. Compression tools can be used to lower the size of images and video to prevent lagging load time.
A responsive website is one that will adjust to any size screen it loads onto. This is crucial if almost all visitors nowadays are loading websites from several different sources (i.e. desktop, mobile, tablet). Responsive websites allow you or your web developer to edit and add information quickly and easily. Learn more about responsive web design here.
5. Focal Points
Users don’t read as much as they scan, especially those who are just getting to know more about you. They search for fixed anchors or focal points that allow them to quickly get a feel for what you’re offering. Usually a nice slider at the top with stunning imagery or quick call-to-actions will catch their attention, encouraging them to click and learn more. The best place to put a focal point is the homepage above the fold. Create a focal point that gives users quick access to an important piece of information about your brand. Videos are also a great way to catch visitors’ attention and share information at the same time.
6. Good Content
If good design catches a visitor’s attention to your website, good content is what keeps them there. There’s a reason why “Content is King”. Websites that provide high-quality content win credibility, even at times trumping those with good design. However, overly long content can be hard-to-read and daunting. Break up the content into different bite-sized sections and use short, clear, and precise words when communicating, especially in places like the navigation bar and side panels. Consider search engine optimizing your content so it can be found. You wouldn’t want to spend your time lacing sentences together if it gets lost in the world wide web.
When writing copy for your website, always provide knowledgeable, relevant, helpful information about your company, products, and services. Pieces like blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, and ebooks convey important information without overselling and can be valuable content marketing items to include.
For additional website tips on how to bring more visitors, leads, and sales to your website, check out our free ebook below!