The old saying that you do not get a second chance to make a first impression really applies to your website.
This is why creating a proper first impression is so important. Your website is the front porch of your business. Whether you are totally online or run a brick and mortar business, the goal is to create the best first impression possible when people visit your site. What follows are seven essential practices of web design that will help your online efforts enjoy the greatest success.
Today, more than half the internet traffic comes from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. That number is only going to increase as more people use their devices to find what they need on the internet.
Add to this that Google is now emphasising mobile-friendly sites to ensure that all users find them first when searching for what they need. With computer-only websites being actively discouraged by Google, it only pays to have a mobile-friendly or responsive design as part of your website. A responsive design means that the website information will be properly presented on screens of all sizes.
It is true that some online businesses still use two types of sites, one that is mobile-only and the other computer-only. But those days are quickly passing as the difficulty in maintaining two separate sites only adds to the burden of your work. Be sure that you are using a responsive site, so you only have one website to monitor.
As important as it is for a website to download quickly, it is equally important that the navigation be intuitive and responsive. This means that the longer it takes for potential customers to get to the pages they want, the more likely they are to find another site. This means that navigation that is simple, easy to understand, and responsive is vital to the health of your website.
When you consider that time is of the essence, you’ll want to make your web design intuitive for easy navigation. This means allowing customers to find the items they want quickly and pay for them with as little hassle as possible. Speed is so important as part of the navigation effort. Be sure to test out your navigation as you build your site for maximum efficiency.
You can achieve proper navigation by using clear directions, large buttons, and categories that are simple to figure out. Keeping the menu bar on each page is essential, especially the checkout portion of your site so they can pay for what they want.
Search engine optimisation is the heart of passive marketing. It gets your website seen by those who are searching for it on sites such as Google. The heart of SEO is using the right keywords. They should be keywords geared towards the audience most likely to purchase your products. This will require research and effort, but the results will be well worth it.
When you combine appropriate keywords with a responsive design, proper title and meta descriptions, and relative links from high-quality websites, you create a nearly perfect storm that will help bring more traffic to your site. Remember to update your site frequently, so that you can catch backlinks that no longer work, incorporate new keywords that help bolster your presence, and do all this without overloading the site so that it becomes more problematic for Google and other search engines to quantify.
Speed is life in terms of web design. When you consider that over 40% of visitors will leave if the site takes three seconds or longer to download, consider just how much money is never going to arrive at your door.
Fast download speed is considered essential for an online business to thrive. So, you will need to keep the web design simple, attractive, and fast. You can achieve this by minimising the file sizes, especially graphics and images which tend to take up a lot of space. This will allow visitors to get into your site quicker and not be driven away when it takes too long to download.
To trim away the unnecessary elements from your site, start with the old phrase ‘when in doubt, take it out’. If you are not seeing a purpose for a design element to be present, then remove it so that it speeds up the download time.
A custom website design is the best way to get a speedy website.
The proper use of colours and designs should be heavily considered when creating your website. This means to create an interesting visual look. It should start with the right colour combinations that are enhanced by the overall pattern or design chosen for the site.
You can augment this approach by including 3D graphics and visuals, bright colours, and interactive elements that help increase engagement. One nifty technique is to include human faces in the mix as well. There is something so compelling about having a few faces on the screen that makes the interaction seem more personal. That is why so many successful websites include photos of people either alone or in groups where their faces can be clearly seen.
Just be sure to not go overboard. As with any of these techniques, they need to be included in the right amounts to maximise engagement. The right colours combined with an attractive design can really make your site look great. Add to this enough white space to give it a little breathing room, and you may have the perfect colour design.
Images & Graphics
While you should be careful to limit the size of images and graphics so they do not slow the download speed of your site, you should use them as part of an overall visual presentation. In other words, the days when blocks of texts brought people to a website are long gone. While text is still essential, it should be minimised so that your site can have a more pleasing, visual presence.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That is actually true as the brain can process a visual image roughly 60,000 times faster compared to text. So, it’s not just adding nice images and graphics, it is adding the proper ones that help explain your site. This means fewer words and more images and graphics to bolster the effectiveness of your presentation. It also impresses visitors as it minimises fluff and gets right to the point.
Tell a Story
Finally, be sure that your website tells a story to its audience. It does not need to be a complicated story. In fact, it can be quite short and to the point. But what is true is that no matter how much humans have advanced digital technology, the art of storytelling is still the most important aspect. From our ancestors sitting around the fire to people today watching videos or reading stories online, the better story your website can tell, the more engaging it will become.
You should tell the story of your brand along with the products that you carry. The About Us page is a good place to start, but you can tell short stories on your home page and catalog. Remember that text is only part of the storytelling effort. You should include visuals, images, and other features to create an interesting story for your visitors to follow.