When a new user lands on your website are they seeing what you want them to see? Are they reading what you want them to read? Are they taking the actions that you would like them to take? If you find yourself answering no to any of these questions then it is time to review your website design and implement some changes that will make your website more user friendly.
A website needs to clearly display your services to your target audience and communicate your offerings in the right way, with the right navigation and structure both above and below the fold.
Here are 7 website design essentials that will help you to improve the user experience and the overall performance of your site.
1. Keep it Simple
Navigation and menus need to be clear and simple. Your calls to action need to be easy to understand
With a clear path of navigation using easy to find menus and calls to action you are improving the viewers experience and also helping the search engines to index your content correctly. Remember that your primary should be on the top of your site and created in order of importance. If you have a lot of services and products list them in secondary menus. Don’t forget about your footer menu. This is more important than ever with mobile responsive sites as we often wait until the footer to take an action.
Once you have written your website content or gotten us to do it for you, be sure to review it and delete the clutter. When we look at websites these days we are scanning pages and plucking out key phrases that apply to our needs. Make it easy for the user to understand the messages you are trying to convey. Use contrasting colours, images, simple fonts and headlines to captivate your audience.
2. Be Visually Friendly
39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. (Source: Adobe)
Did you ever hear the saying that A picture tells a thousand words. Images will help to bring your products and services to life. In the Adobe State of Content report we learn that 38% of people stop engaging with content if it is unattractive in its layout or imagery. Images can provide more context for text descriptions, giving you the power to trigger emotions and encourage actions from your users.
When you are choosing images for your site remember that background images can present a story and create atmosphere and images of real people works well for both websites and social media.
3. Speed is Crucial
There are many ways that you can improve your website speed and it is absolutely crucial that you monitor the speed of your website to optimise for the best possible performance. Do you know how long it takes for your pages to load? Speed is a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile. Faster speed means a better user experience. 3 seconds is said to be a good page load time, however many web pages can take up to 10 seconds to load. After 3 seconds you are losing the attention of potential customers and they will look elsewhere for services. If you can track your bounce rate through Google Analytics you will see how many people are jumping off your landing pages. Ultimately a slow site will cost you conversions. Here are a few ways to improve your site speed:
- Minimize redirects and plugins
- Compress files
- Optimize images
- Adjust the content for different devices
4. Make it Interactive
By treating your website like a living marketing tool you can make plenty of elements interactive and encourage more engagement on your site. Never assume that your website reader knows where to direct their attention next. Instead tell the reader where to go, what to read and what to do next with clear Call-to-action buttons.
Use micro interactions to engage with your users and let them know that you care about their needs. Examples include: offering tips, saying thank you after they fill in a form, encouraging sharing, video animations, tutorials, animated buttons and chat functionality. Here are a few simple beginners tips for creating a more interactive website: Use contrasting colours to highlight calls to action, add an FAQ section, Enable comments on your blog posts and don’t forget to include a contact page with all of your relevant details.
5. Be Social
Use social sharing icons and encourage your readers to be social with your website content. There are many ways to persuade readers to engage with your content. Write inspiring content, write useful content, ask them to share it friends, ask frequent questions, present easy to use social sharing options and link back to your site from all of your social channels. Social media management is often one of the most time consuming aspects of your marketing strategy but it is critical when it comes to brand awareness and strengthening brand engagement.
6. Make it Responsive
Responsive design is crucial for every website today. Your website should be desktop and mobile friendly on every page. Put yourself in the shoes of the website user, test every page, fill in your forms and ensure that the website is appearing how you want it to appear on different screen sizes. Remember when and where your audience is viewing your website. If they are checking out your site on their mobiles they might be on the bus or out for a walk. The mobile version of your site needs to be clear, have appropriate sized fonts and provide as much detail as possible in as little space as possible.
7. Optimise for Search Engines
SEO is a buzz word that has been around a long time now and you need to consider this everytime you in invest in the content of your site. Getting your website found online these days is becoming more and more difficult. For this you need to consider the buying behaviour of your target audience and put yourself in his/her shoes each time that you are developing content for your website. Don’t feel overwhelmed with the possible keywords to rank for. Start by choosing a handful, assess the competition and get creative when it comes to using SEO tactics to build your website traffic.
We are partnered with the very best web designers who have years of experience developing unique sites that out perform their competitors using all of the UX tricks of the trade.
We are here to help you every step of the way here and thoroughly enjoy implementing the above design essentials. Get in touch with us for a free mini website audit and proposal.