Within the first five seconds of landing on your website, a visitor should be able to tell what your company does. Can they easily navigate to a different part of the site? Is your bounce rate low? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you need to take a look at the design and optimization of your website.
Your website needs to have a design that improves your user experience, has great functionality, and complements the content you’re sharing. Your website must also communicate clearly and quickly to your audience what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. It’s easy to get distracted by shouting about how great you are and forget to address the core concerns of your audience.
Use These Essential Tips To Design A Better Website
If you don’t know where to start building a website, then you’re going to be more successful if you call in a professional instead of trying to handle the build yourself. Hire a design agency like the Makro Agency to handle the design for you, so you get a website that both looks great and functions well.
If you decide to take the DIY route, here are a few essential tips to help you create the best possible website and user experience for your audience.
Have A Plan
Don’t just start designing a website with no plan. If your website is going to effectively meet the needs of those who visit it, then you need to spend some time mapping out the buyer’s journey. This needs to start from their first visit to the website to when they become a customer.
Think about what pages a visitor will view, what content they will read, and what offers will encourage them to convert. If you understand this, you will have an easier time designing a site that will help your overall marketing strategy, and move leads through the sales funnel.
Your website should be designed for the next step, not just the final step. Make sure you answer the right questions in the right order. Consider context too. Take the information you already have about your customers, and research how they went from a visitor to a customer. Use this data to map out a strategy.
Remove Things From Your Website
There are some elements on your website that will distract from your message. Complicated animations, content that is overly long, and generic website images from stock sources are all common things that actually detract from the quality of your website.
It is safe to assume your website visitor has a very short attention span, so you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression that gets your main point across. Do this with a short, powerful sections of content, applicable photographs and icons, and section everything off with clear, concise headers.
Once you get this part right, it’s time to review the content itself. Make sure it doesn’t have any jargon or confusing terminology. This only makes your content confusing and turns off site visitors.
Stay away from obvious buzz words like next-generation, flexible, cutting edge, groundbreaking, innovative, and easy-to-use. These words are all over-used by hundreds of companies, and make your content less interesting.
Include Social Share Buttons
Producing great content and offers is all well and good, but it will only get you so far if you aren’t giving your users the option to share the content you’ve worked so hard on.
If your website doesn’t have any social share buttons at the moment, then you’re missing out on a lot of social media traffic that would be generated by those who already read and engage with your blog.
Social sharing buttons are small buttons that are usually found at the top or bottom of blog posts. They have icons from different social media platforms and will allow your users to share the content they’re reading directly to their social media channel of choice.
Buttons like this encourage social sharing from your visitors without being pushy about asking people to share.
Use Calls To Action
When a visitor lands on your site, they need to immediately know what to do next. They might not know what pages to look at or what actions to take if you aren’t giving them any kind of direction.
Call-to-action buttons are the simplest elements that show a user what the next step to take on the page is. Most marketers know this, but a lot of us don’t use them properly to guide users around a website.
Avoid the temptation to load your website with basic calls-to-action, without properly nurturing your users with other calls-to-action that lead them in more gently.
To see if you’re doing this, read through the pages across your website. Are you finding most pages, including blog posts, only have a call-to-action for a demo, a trial, or a consultation? If so, then you need to make a change.
Take some time to add in different calls-to-action that give users the tools to learn about your business and help them to solve their pain points. Once a user can identify your company as one that offers materials that relieve these pain points, they will feel happier about researching what you offer to see if they can put these solutions into practice.
Some examples of effective calls-to-action are things like ‘click here for more information’, ‘download our sample plan’, ‘sign up for a webinar’, ‘watch the video’, or ‘see pricing’.
Use The Right Images
Not every image is going to work with the message that you’re trying to get across to your audience.
Luckily, there are lots of images out there to choose from, many of which are free. However, a lot of businesses fall into the trap of loading their website with predictable stock-looking photographs.
Just because a stock website has the image you need, it doesn’t mean it will appear authentic and create a sense of trust in your company. Instead, you want to use pictures that include real people that actually work at your company and your actual office. If using real pictures isn’t an option for you, then there are some tricks to pick out better stock photos. This helps your brand feel more real and means the images you use match who you are and what your content is explaining.
From the color selections, to the background props, deciding on which stock photos to use should start with your brand and the company culture you are attempting to convey. For example, if you’re using photos that depict a structured corporate suit-and-tie culture, yet your brand is for hip female millenials, you’re sending the wrong message via imagery. Instead, look for stock images that show what company life would be like if you had the staff in place.
Get The Navigation Right
When you’re working on the design of a website, then the navigation is one of the most important things. Navigation is essentially the map that shows users the main places on your site that they can and should visit.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a website that is badly organized or has a confusing navigation interface. When you’re working on improving your website’s navigation, it’s important to make sure that your site visitors can find what they’re looking for easily.
Aim for a lean navigation bar, with streamlined content, responsive design, and navigation hierarchy. This means visitors can get around the site whether they’re using a desktop, laptop, or a mobile device to visit your site.
If a user can’t find what they’re looking for, then why would they stay on your site? Instead, they’ll just hit the back button and bounce back to their search engine, and might even head to the website of a competitor that offers a better user experience.
Make Use Of White Space
Whitespace is an important part of design and helps you to break up the page in order to increase the readability of a page. Sometimes called negative space, white space just means the areas around elements on a web page that are left empty, with no content or visuals.
Extra space might seem wasteful, but it’s needed for readability and content prioritization. It’s also an important part of the process of design, and the best positioning of website elements.
If you know you have pages on your site that don’t have much white space, look at the page again, and strip out any elements that you don’t need, and that don’t add anything to the purpose of the page. Make sure the content is grouped properly so users can tell where they need to be on a page.
Optimize For Mobile
Do not forget to optimize your website for mobile users. Most business owners and marketing professionals should know that a massive amount of internet users own a smartphone and use it to surf the internet. If a user visits your site on a mobile and they have trouble using it, they aren’t going to change the device they’re using to come back. They’re going to click off, not come back, and visit a competitor instead.
It is essential that your website is tailored to fit the needs and wants of your visitors. Ask yourself why someone would be accessing your site on a mobile. What things are they looking for when they get there? Does the experience on-site allow them to do those things without difficulty?
If your website is behind on being optimized for mobile, then look at other websites that will work on mobile to understand how seamless mobile experiences are created and what a good mobile site actually looks like.