How simple and effective web design can improve website performance
Web design is a key part of building an attractive and successful website that can turn visitors into customers. After choosing a web hosting provider from the best web hosting services, you can use one of the best website builders to produce your site, but the informative and useful web design and content must first be planned.
Make sure your site is easy to use, as modern internet users visit websites with the hope that they can understand how a site works on the first visit. If this confuses them and you have an eCommerce website, they’ll likely head to a competitor’s site, which means you’ve lost a potential customer.
If your site is well designed, it can subconsciously lead your visitors to exactly where you want them to go and help streamline the journey from your initial landing page to checkout. By making each step intuitive and easy to follow, web design can help you subtly sell your value proposition.
While every online store and business is different, they can all use similar tips to improve website design and thus improve website traffic and, most importantly, sales. Read on to find out what you can change to improve your web sales.
Traditional print media may seem like a dinosaur compared to digital media, but the way people interact with websites reflects the way they read physical newspapers and magazines.
The home page of a website is like the front page of a newspaperâ . There is usually a logo, several headlines and main articles, and sections pointing to other pages where the reader can find more information on the topics that interest them most.
It’s good to have a site overflowing with pages full of useful and exciting content, but you shouldn’t try to cram as much information into the homepage as a newspaper does on its front page. The home page should be simple, uncluttered, and clearly indicate how to navigate the website.
Sub-pages should not deviate from the basic navigation structure introduced on the home page. Consider differentiating each type of content by giving it a different color. For example, define shopping cart items as one color and information items as another. Maintain this pattern throughout the website, so the visitor always knows how to access the content they need.
Below, we outline 10 design choices that always make a website better and 10 that should always be avoided.
Web design back
1. Be aware of age
If you have an older readership, avoid small fonts. Serif fonts are also harder to read, so don’t use them.
2. Use the logo
Visitors expect to be able to return to the home page from every page on your website. Typically, this should be done through your company logo, located at the top left of every page.
3. Use a footer
Include a footer on each page that links to important information, such as hours of operation or how to contact your business.
4. Don’t forget about mobile users
Your website should work on mobile phones as well as desktop computers. Sometimes you will need to change the look and feel of your site on mobile devices to accommodate smaller screens. If your website has a lot of images, be aware that lower resolution images will load faster and use less bandwidth while reducing web hosting service charges.
5. Speed ââis critical
A slow site will quickly frustrate visitors, so be sure to use a fast web hosting service with a good track record. Pay close attention to the homepage when optimizing your website speed, as it is your most visited page.
6. Think about people with disabilities
A significant proportion of Internet users are deactivated, so take steps to ensure that your website can be viewed by them. Web design guidelines created by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) explain how to make sure everyone can understand, navigate and interact with your website.
7. Count those clicks
Using web analytics tools, you can see which pages on your site are the most popular. Count the number of clicks it takes to get to these pages from your site’s home page, and consider reorganizing your site structure to make it easier to access these pages.
8. Show color control
It is common to create a color scheme for your website by combining those of your company logo with complementary and contrasting colors. Once you have chosen a diagram, check if it is readable by a person with visual impairments or color blindness.
9. Use larger images
Large, bright images grab a visitor’s attention and sell your products to them. However, larger images will impact load times and increase the bandwidth costs charged by your web hosting service. Optimize larger images for the web using image compression, making them faster to load without reducing quality too much.
10. Large buttons
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons encourage visitors to take the important actions you want them to take, such as adding a product to their cart. Make sure these buttons are big, bright, and obvious on every page.
Web design does not
1. Stay away from certain web technologies
Web technologies such as Flash and Java that do not work on all systems should generally be avoided, as they reduce the potential audience for your website.
2. Do not use side bars
Because sidebar banner ads have become the norm, people have learned to turn them off automatically when reading a website. Therefore, avoid using sidebars for your important content.
3. Keep fonts under control
Minimize the number of different fonts you use on your website. As a general rule, two to three policies are sufficient.
4. Limit scrolling
You should include the most important information on your site “above the waterline”, which means readers shouldn’t have to scroll down to get to the main focus of each page.
5. Never underline text
You should avoid underlining the text, as users will mistake it for a clickable hyperlink.
6. Avoid long forms
Every field you add to a form requires effort on the part of a visitor. Many people will just click when faced with a long form. Keep the forms short and only ask for the information you really need from the visitor to take them to the next step in the buying process.
7. Don’t be rude
Avoid pop-ups that bombard the visitor as soon as they reach your homepage for the first time. They are boring and inefficient.
8. Don’t be long
Typically, online text should be less than 20 words per line, as long lines are difficult to read. Paragraphs should normally not exceed 50 words.
9. Never overload a page
While it’s tempting to include a lot of content showing why your products and services are the best, remember that less is more. Use white space to increase readability and move some of the information from busy pages to subpages.
10. Avoid auto-running objects
Avoid automatically playing sounds or videos when visitors first arrive on a page. Leave it up to the visitor to decide if they want to play these elements.
Final thoughts on web design
Familiarity with your own website can make it difficult to find problems with its design. Therefore, it is important to ask someone who is not familiar with your site to test every part of it and give you valuable feedback.
If you don’t know where to start with a new website design, write down 10 websites that you visit often and what you like about their design. Also write down anything that you think could be improved. This will give you a short list of things to aim for in designing your new site.
Accept the fact that most website designs are flawed at first and need to be changed. Finally, don’t be afraid to break the mold. The trick is to have a memorable web design that sets you apart from the competition without being confusing or boring.
Further reading on website builders
If you’re looking to build your first site, find out what type of site is right for you in our guide to building a website. If you’ve picked your creator, but don’t know where to start, read our step-by-step guide on how to build a website from scratch.
We also offer other features related to improving your website, including free website content options and 10 ways to improve your website branding.