Uncover The Secrets Of Website Design That Your Customers Will Love
Most local businesses today have a website. It is a place where customers and potential leads can go to learn more about your company, and possibly even buy your product or use your services.
But a lot of websites don’t always perform as they should. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the ‘bounce rate’ on your website is high, meaning that people are coming to your website but leaving soon after they get there.
Or it could be that you’re just not seeing the traffic numbers you would like to. Maybe you don’t even have a website yet, but you’re in the process of getting one and are wondering how to make it dynamic, so it does fulfill its purpose.
When this is the case, you need to focus on your website design. Of course it’s easiest to create the website design you want before your site even goes live, but even if you already have a website, it’s easy to make small changes and tweaks to get the results you want to see.
To help you get the most from your site and maximise the chances of getting sales and leads, this article will uncover all the secrets of website design that you need to know about in order to create a layout that your visitors will love.
The General Layout
Every great website starts with a great layout. The layout includes many different aspects of the website including where the navigational menu will be placed, what kind of font will be used, and the colors you’ll use.
Initially, it might seem complicated, but each aspect of the layout is very simple to create and/or change and a great layout is the first step to getting a professional design that your users and potential customers will love.
Define The Purpose of Your Website
Most small businesses will create a website with the purpose of generating more leads and getting more customers. However, putting that on your homepage will not only turn people off, it also won’t give those potential customers anything to work with. You need to ask yourself what your customer will be looking for when they land on your site.
Are they looking for products? If so, you’ll need your homepage to clearly show where they can navigate to find those products. Is the purpose of your website to entertain? You may want to place images and videos on your homepage. And if it’s information visitors will be looking for, you’ll also need to place the most important information right on the homepage.
Keep A Note of Your Ideas
When you first set about creating a great website design, the chances are that you’ll have so many different ideas. Some of these will be great, and some of them won’t be. You definitely don’t want to have one of those awesome ideas only to forget it when you’re bogged down with other aspects of the design.
For this reason, anyone who is trying to improve or create a great web design should have a journal where they can jot down different notes so they’ll never be forgotten. You don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, use every idea that ends up in the journal. But it’s a great way to start brainstorming, sort things out, and keep those great ideas front of mind when you get a bit deeper into the design process.
Sketch it Out
Just like every new home is completely sketched out in the form of blueprint before it’s built, your website should be, too.
Images, content, video, menus, and landing pages should all be roughly sketched out before the website is designed. If you start looking at a blank screen, you may find that the menu is too big to be placed where you want it; or that a video is going to cover up and run into text onto the page.
There are many issues that can crop up when designing a website and starting without a clear plan is a bit like trying to place a bathroom in a house before the foundation has been laid.
A rough sketch can be just that – rough – but it can greatly help you (and your web designer, if you’re using one) understand what works and what doesn’t.
Get a Grid
Every awesome website you’ve ever seen has started with a grid system. This can be done in Photoshop and if you don’t have the program, your website designer certainly will. The grid is your opportunity to place the items from your sketch exactly where you want them; and to make sure your site stays consistent throughout with sizing. A grid will support every section of the website and help you get a perfect layout for your website.
When it comes to designing a website, templates are perfect.
Templates are webpages that have already been designed, making it easy for web designers and local business owners to simply plug in their own information including text and images. However, you do sometimes have exercise caution when using templates. Because they are pre-designed, it’s easy for many businesses to end up using the same one. And when a web designer has seen success with one, they sometimes have the tendency to use it over and over again because they know it works.
The problem with this is that when the same template is used for many different businesses, it stops working at some point. Websites will start to blend together, looking the same, with none really standing out in the crowd. As a business owner you definitely want your website to stand out, so any template must be customized in order to do so.
Don’t worry. This isn’t hard to do. Customizing a template simply means changing the fonts, colors, borders, shapes, page sequence and other integral parts of the layout so that it matches your branding. You can still use the template, but when you customize, you’re not bound to every detail used by many other businesses.
Choose the Right Font
When users visit your website they won’t know about the sketch you made beforehand, or the grid you used to get perfect placement. They won’t see any of the hard work and preparation that you have put in. But one of the first things they WILL notice is the font used on the site.
The trend for fonts is starting to lean towards bigger and bolder, but this really only works if the rest of the website is kept clean with minimal text and other elements. If the homepage of your website does have a lot of information, including text, video and images, you’ll need to use smaller fonts to keep the page from looking too cluttered.
Experiment and play around with different types of fonts before deciding on the one that’s perfect for you and your site. But there is one rule of thumb to remember: try not to use more than two different fonts on any one page. Doing so will only bring confusion to the page and make it look tacky.
Coherent Color Themes
Even if you love every color of the rainbow, it doesn’t mean that they should use every single one on your website. Colors will bring life to your website and make certain sections pop, but you have to be careful when using them.
The best way to begin choosing a color for your website is to look at the business itself. Does the company logo have certain colors in it? That’s a great place to start because it will bring cohesiveness and continuity to not only the website, but to the brand as a whole.
While a logo can be a great starting point in any website color scheme, it’s not necessary to restrict yourself to just that. Including additional colors can be a great way to make a website’s design even more interesting and appealing to users, you just have to know how to do it properly. Start by choosing colors that match those you’re already using, such as those within the logo and work from there.
Always be careful when it comes to colors, however. Never use colors that may be irritating to the users, or that simply don’t make sense on the page. Just because you like luminous pink, doesn’t mean that everyone will feel the same way.
We are a very visual society, especially online. Study after study has proven that when users go online today, they’re attracted to images before text. Images in this case include not only still photos but videos as well, and local business owners and website designers need to be very careful when using them.
There are two rules when it comes to placing images within a website: they must be relevant, and don’t use too many.
Deciding whether or not an image is relevant is fairly easy; all you need to do is decide whether it relates to the other content on the page and if it will capture the user’s interest.
For example, if your local business has shot a commercial, you may want to display it on your homepage. But while it may relate to the other content on the page, especially if you’re trying to capture leads, it might not capture the user’s interest. No one wants to go to a website just to see advertising. A video of a company barbecue or a virtual tour might be more appealing.
You also need to be very careful when it comes to how many images you’re placing within your website.
Websites with a lot of images take far longer to load than websites that contain mainly text. And if users have to wait a long time for the website design to load, they’ll likely leave that website and go find one that loads a bit faster.
So while integrating them is important, it’s even more important that you prioritize the images you want users to see the most.
Look Good on a Mobile
The world has gone mobile, and that trend isn’t one that’s going to slow down any time soon, if ever. Because of this, keeping mobile users in mind when designing a website is one of the most important things a local business owner can do. In fact, it is essential.
One reason for this is because customers don’t only search at home now. They may be out shopping and want something to eat, so they search for restaurants that are nearby. If you’re one of those restaurants and you don’t have a mobile site, your website may not appear properly on their smartphone, which could potentially mean a lost customer you could have reached otherwise.
Even when customers are in the comfort of their own home, many still choose to just whip out their tablet or smartphone to search rather than boot up their desktop and sit down to look. Again, if the website isn’t optimized for mobile website design, the user may only be frustrated by having to scroll up and down and side to side, and leave to find another website that is optimized for mobile.
Making sure your website design is optimized for mobile is important for another reason that has little to do with the user. Search engines, Google in particular, have also realized the growing trend of users going mobile and have incorporated this into their algorithms. When websites aren’t optimized for mobile users, search engines may penalize them by placing them lower in the search results, meaning that less traffic will make it to the site.
Keep Navigation Simple
Navigation simply refers to how easy it is for users to move around different parts of your website. Making navigation as easy as possible for users is important because you want visitors to see every section and every part of your website. That is why you included those sections, after all.
But not only do you want users to see all the different sections, users also want to see the different sections. If you haven’t made it easy for them to do so, they’ll quickly become frustrated and leave for another website; one that has made navigation easy.
In order to have easy navigation, it’s important that pages have a logical page hierarchy, preferably with clickable buttons and categories telling users what to do and how to get where they want.
When it comes to navigation, web designers use what’s known as the “three click rule”. This means that users should be able to get to wherever they want to go within a website in just three clicks.
The left-hand side of the page is also very important when trying to make navigation easier. Users typically tend to look for information along the left-hand side of the page, and in the top left corner. Keeping this in mind, this is where important information, clickable buttons and calls to action should be placed. The right-hand side of the page, specifically the top right corner, are largely ignored by users so important information should not be placed here.
Clear Calls to Action
A call to action (better known as CTA in the world of website design) is just that – a call to your visitors for the action you want them to take. Subscribing to your newsletter, contacting the company for more information, or buying a product are all calls to action, but there can be many more as well.
Calls to action typically show up on websites in the form of clickable buttons, forms, or fields where they enter information such as their email address. They are very important for every website, so when designing yours it’s very important that you think about where you want them to appear on your website.
Be the King (or queen) of Content
‘Content is king’ is a phrase that originated almost as soon as websites started appearing online, and it’s one that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Content is crucial to a website, it’s how visitors know what you’re about, what your company does, and what action they are encouraged to take.
There is so much to know about content that there have been millions of blog posts and articles written on this one topic but in the end, clear and concise is always best.
Don’t stuff your landing page with huge sections of text; the chances are people just aren’t going to read through all of it. Use your landing pages to get your point across quickly and concisely. If you have lots of information to convey to visitors, place a blog button on your page and write individual posts. It will still give them access to that information, but it won’t clutter up your website either.
In some cases, there may be a lot of content you want on your website that simply doesn’t fit within a blog layout. For instance, if you’re a contractor that offers many different types of services, you may not want a blog post just to identify each individual service. Grouping content into categories within the website can help with this, but make sure you don’t fall into the trap of including every single service individually.
For example, if you offer plumbing services in addition to other services, you may not want individual sections for each type of plumbing. Instead, just have one category for ‘plumbing’ and a different one for ‘roofing’ and another for ‘flooring services’. People will still know where to go to find what they need and your website won’t look congested.
Transform Your Website Design
If you are concerned that your website isn’t performing as well as it should, or you are contemplating getting a site designed, give us a call.
We are experts in designing and building websites for small businesses just like you.
We take care of everything so that you can just get on with running your business.
Set your company apart from your competition and contact us today. You will be glad that you did.