As consumer behavior has shifted to the online space, a professional website is a must for all businesses. However, simply having a website isn’t enough. You need to have a modern and optimized website that attracts visitors and encourages them to convert. If you want to learn how to design a website for success, here’s what you need to know.
How to Design a Website: Website Design Best Practices to Consider
Here are the latest trends and best practices to consider when designing a website.
1. Consistent Web Design
No matter what design you choose for your website, make sure that it is consistent. Consistency is crucial in establishing trust with website visitors. It also contributes to a pleasant user experience, which encourages your visitors to keep coming back.
Choose a design that reflects your current branding, especially if you have a physical store. This will influence the color scheme, typography, images, videos, and layout of your website. It’s also best to establish your design aesthetic right from the start so that website elements appear organic and purposeful. With a coherent web design, consumers know what to expect when dealing with your brand and your website.
2. Responsive Web Design
Mobile is responsible for 51.53% of all website traffic so there’s a good chance that users will be viewing your website from their smartphones or tablets. Visitors will not engage with your website if it looks cluttered and unorganized, though. They will just leave and more on to the next website. As a result, you lose a lot of potential leads and sales.
A responsive web design (RWD) ensures that users have the same experience with your website no matter what device they are using. RWD automatically adjusts the layout of your website depending on the screen size of the device. A seamless experience can help businesses keep their visitors engaged for longer. In addition, mobile compatibility is also an important factor that can boost your search rankings.
3. Fast Loading Speed
Page speed is another important factor to consider when designing websites. The average user will only wait up to three seconds for a website to load. Any longer than that, they will just leave. Page speed can affect conversion rates as well. For every additional second of load time, there is a potential 7% drop in conversions.
There are many ways to improve the loading speed of your website. You can use a content delivery network (CDN), which uses servers closer to a user’s physical location to deliver files faster. It also helps to compress files or content and use image formats that reduce their size but not their quality. You can enable browser caching, use caching plugins, or upgrade your hosting plan.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you create a professional website, optimizing for search engines is just as important as the design itself. After all, you need to have a high search ranking to be able to attract visitors to your website. On-page SEO strategies include using relevant keywords in your content pages, specifically in the title, URL, meta description, and alt text. Schema markups and XML sitemaps also make it easier for search engines to index and rank your webpages.
SEO also goes hand in hand with mobile responsiveness and fast load speeds so incorporating these elements can help you design a website that converts.
5. Strong Calls to Action (CTAs)
CTAs provide visitors with the next steps to take when they land on your website. If these are no strong CTAs, visitors may just leave your website without completing any action — whether it’s signing up for your email list, downloading a lead magnet, or booking a consultation. This makes it harder for you to convert leads into customers.
As such, when you design a website, make sure that the CTAs are visible and compelling. Use simple, action-oriented text to encourage visitors to click on your CTA buttons. The use of contrasting colors, as well as placing them above the fold, can also help catch your visitors’ attention.
6. Easy and Clear Navigation
Website navigation makes it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for. You don’t want to make it any harder for them with cluttered and hard-to-click links. To reduce visitors’ bounce rates and increase average time on your website, make the navigation clear and easy to use.
Some effective practices include limiting navigation options to about 4 to 6 options, using sub-navigation, adding “back to top” buttons, and adding clickable contact information. Using color to indicate visited links can also tell visitors where they are and what pages they have been on. By improving the user experience, you’ll be able to reduce visitors’ bounce rates and increase average time on website.
Common Web Design Mistakes to Avoid
Aside from using the latest trends and best practices to design your website, it’s also important to steer clear of these common web design mistakes.
1. Violating Web Design Conventions
All businesses want to design a website that stands out. But some take it too far by breaking website design conventions. Online users already have a general idea of how websites look like. If you break these expectations, you also end up breaking the user experience.
Taking some design risks isn’t bad. Just make sure that the overall design is still usable and intuitive. For instance, online users expect that the navigation and search bar will be located on top of the page. If you change the navigation layout, visitors will not know where to go. Thus, they will just leave your website and you lose potential marketing opportunities.
2. Not Utilizing White Space
Without white space, visitors may have a harder time consuming your website’s content. White space has many benefits such as highlighting important website elements, helping visitors focus and comprehend text, and serving as a break in between the different parts of your website.
Make sure to use white space on your website including having adequate spacing in between paragraphs and characters. On the other hand, you shouldn’t have too much white space as well. This can also make it harder for visitors to focus and comprehend your website. It’s about striking a balance between white space and website content.
3. Leaving 404 Pages As Is
404 errors appear when you delete or move a webpage. When a user lands on these pages, their first instinct will be to hit the back button and leave your website. The opportunity to gain a lead or customer is then immediately lost.
It’s important to use 301 redirects to send visitors to your homepage or another working page. Businesses can also get creative with their 404 pages. For instance, adding animation, humorous copy, or adding a search bar gives you the opportunity to catch visitors’ attention and engage with them. Instead of leaving, they will be more likely to stay on your website.
4. Low-Quality Content
Website copy or content is just as important as design. The words you use on your website can help guide visitors and encourage them to complete actions. It also helps draw visitors’ attention to important information about your brand and your products. However, if you have low-quality copy, it will be hard to engage with your visitors and have them take action.
You can improve your website content by using proper subheadings, shorter paragraphs, using bolded text, bullets, and numbers. Make sure that your copy is grammatically correct and there are no spelling errors. Otherwise, visitors will not see your website as reputable or professional.
Learning How to Design a Website for Online Success
Designing a website takes a lot of time, money, and effort. Not to mention, you must also constantly monitor metrics and test elements to ensure that the website is up-to-date. To save on valuable resources, make sure that you start on the right path. Knowing how to make a website helps you stay on schedule. You’ll also have a better chance of optimizing for traffic and conversions by avoiding common but costly website design mistakes.
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