Designing your own website can be a harrowing process. For the unacquainted or blissfully unaware, each step of the design process has the chance to make or break the journey towards effective website design. We’ll go through some quick and easy do’s and dont’s of website design to help you design a website that will rank.
Or you possibly already have a website up and running, but you’re struggling to achieve user engagement. As a website owner, you just can’t rely solely on content, website design and marketing initiatives to maintain a steady flow of traffic. You will have to do a lot more to not only make them stay on your site but also to convert them into customers.
There is a lot to consider and keep an eye on as you build your website. Here are some of the main do’s and dont’s of effective online design you should consider:
#1 DO – USE PROFESSIONAL HOSTING
Go for professional hosting. Avoid the free services which not only make sites super slow but are also stuffed with unrelated ads. You can find reliable and professional hosting services for less than $20 a month. Poor hosting will take your site down, it will constantly go offline and this will hurt your brand and your organic rankings in google. If your site keeps going offline – get better hosting.
#2 DO – MAKE IT MOBILE FRIENDLY
Make sure that your website is mobile friendly. More and more people are ditching their desktops and using smartphones to access the internet, which is why it is extremely important to ensure that your website is responsive as this is where the bulk of the traffic currently resides. For some sites mobile devices are bringing in more traffic than desktop devices, and our friends over at google agree that mobile and responsive design is the way forward.
Tablet use is also extremely high, so a business that caters to all of these will more likely benefit from the effective website design across devices.
#3 DO – SPEED UP YOUR SITE
Slow websites are a huge turnoff and a sure shot way to drive audiences away. A website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load will more than likely push searchers in the direction of competitors. Immediacy is key as users look to get results instantaneously. Giving your audience that access is one of the best ways to convert. A website that manages its expectations and delivers the essentials well, will likely attract users. Server optimisation and site optimisation go hand in hand, bulky scripts that load incorrectly can cause your site to slow down. Not sure if you have a slow site? Get a free checkup via GTmetrix.com
#4 DO – GIVE EASY ACCESS TO MORE INFORMATION
Call to actions, easy navigation – a nice flow of information so users know where to go next and how to engage with you.
#5 DO – INVEST IN SITE NAVIGATION
Smooth and easy navigation of a site is a cornerstone of effective website design. Guiding your visitors on a seamless journey through your content is the best way to lead to increased interaction. Focused action items should be used so that you give customers the chance for interaction.
#6 DO – IMPLEMENT SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
Social media integration is essential. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are some of the platforms which you can utilize to promote your business and extend your reach in an easy and affordable manner. Providing links on your website to your social sites and vice versa creates a connection that increases user interaction. It gives visitors the opportunity to access and share more content, as well as stay informed with the businesses offers.
In addition, it will also prove useful in boosting the rankings of your website on search engines.
Conversion rate optimisation will also determine the website design. Find out how here.
#7 DO – SECURE YOUR SITE WITH SSL’S
If you are running an online business, you must also secure your site with an SSL certificate. This will keep the user data protected and instil confidence in them. This form of encryption is extremely important for promoting initial interaction with your website for new customers.
*Update* – Recent changes to Google Chrome will now affect the rankings of sites with or without SSL’s. It will also make this distinction more visible to users.
#8 DO – ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS
While it is a good idea to market your services and products through different online and offline platforms, you should not hesitate to include customer testimonials. They will make you look more credible, which will prove useful in the long run.
You should also set up a customer review process where people can provide reviews of your business. This is a great way of receiving feedback and showing your ability to satisfy customers. Reviews can also help with your Google search rankings
#9 DO – PROVIDE RELEVANT AND ATTRACTIVE OFFERS
Creating an exciting offer which does not appeal to your target audience is a waste of time and effort. Websites with high traffic make excellent use of call-to-action buttons by ensuring that their users resonate with what’s being offered to them. Make sure everything you offer has value to your customers.
#1 DON’T – PUT IN UNNECESSARY ADS
If your business relies on ads, then you obviously cannot do without them but you should not overdo it either. Free web hosting services will cover your site with unnecessary ads that can become a hindrance to the design of your website. So don’t be stingy!
Also, studies have shown that people do not trust online ads as much as they trust ads on other forms of media such as newspapers and television. So make intelligent but limited use of any form of online ad by choosing their locations and use carefully.
#2 DON’T – HAVE ILLEGIBLE CONTENT
Website design is not just about attractive images and colours but text as well. If your website content is difficult to read, then expect a high bounce rate. Keep your text clean and combine them with contrasting colour combinations. Font size should also be paid attention to. The body text should at least be 14x while the headlines can be around 22x or larger. Also, avoid Comic Sans at all cost.
Content should be easy to read across devices, which means mobile compatibility is necessary. Any business should also try to maintain a brand consistency and identity across every form of content. Producing a constant tone that their customers recognise.
#3 DON’T – STICK WITH AN OVERCOMPLICATED DESIGN
An overly ambitious website design can get a business in real hot water. Often when people bite off more than they can chew with, they produce an extremely underdone website.
Focus on what you can deliver and what is essential to your business. Manage your resources and determine what is capable moving forward with your site. Large graphics or animations have the possibility of lowering download speed immensely, so only implement them on your site if they are essential to design, you have the expertise/resources and they add to the audiences likelihood of interaction.
#4 DON’T – PUSH OBTRUSIVE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
Gating your site with mandatory registrations can be dangerous. It is hard for some businesses to give their content away without something in return. But, blocking searchers who are used to receiving what they want can have an adverse impact on your overall conversion rates.
A business should persuade customers to interact with their content, rather than putting it behind a wall. This leads to a much more cohesive interaction between the two. So use it only when it’s absolutely required.
#5 DON’T – IGNORE AN ILL-DEFINED NAVIGATION STRUCTURE
A lot of website owners are guilty of making their navigation options so complex that the users end up getting caught in a maze. An unclear navigation not only hampers the user experience but also affects the ranking of your website. Arranging your site properly and keeping it simple means less hassle for people seeking information.
Don’t overcomplicate your design. A site that isn’t clear with its navigation will often see users hit unintended points, giving up and moving on. It can also have a negative impact on analytics used for future campaigns.
#6 DON’T- GET OFF TOPIC
It’s important for businesses that do link their social media content closely with their website that they maintain a consistent tone of voice. Some businesses have been caught up in online trends or ‘click-bait’ that is guaranteed likes, but doesn’t contribute to the operations of the business.
Valuable content is information that adds to a discussion or drives users along the conversion funnel. Stay away from the gossip and keep your content tight.
#7 DON’T – HAVE OUTDATED PLUG-INS
If all your sales content is mired in Flash files, then you are certainly going to have a hard time finding customers as they are not going to have the patience to update such plugins. To achieve higher conversion rates, HTML5 is an ideal choice. However, try to have minimal add-ons and plugins.
#8 DON’T – IGNORE A POOR WEBSITE PERSONALITY
There are multiple mistakes businesses can easily make with web design. One of the worst things a website can do is be boring. Each site has to have unique value which draws and holds the attention of users.
Another is to try and copy other people’s design and intellectual property. A website that does this will fail to develop its own online personality and struggle to implement future campaigns as they haven’t defined their own identity, unique to their market.
Treat your website like a brand and give it a distinctive and appealing personality by making it informative and useful for the visitors. It shouldn’t look like just about any other site.
#9 DON’T – ALLOW VIDEO AUTOPLAY
Avoid it at all costs unless you want to drive your visitors crazy and never want them to visit your site again. Let them decide whether they want to watch a certain video on your site rather than shoving it down their throats. It’s a huge turnoff!