Whether you’re running a one person operation or a national corporation, you need to have a fully-functional website that enables you to grow and connect with customers online.
But what exactly do we mean by a “fully-functional” website? At a base level it means a website that performs well, has an attractive design and provides an overall positive user experience (UX).
To give you a deeper understanding, let’s take a look at 10 tips for designing a website customers love.
1. Design a responsive website
In our tech-obsessed age, there’s an ever-growing number of devices being used to browse the internet, in the form of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, phones and everything in between.
So responsive web design is an approach that futureproofs your website for the endless influx of internet devices being created. It allows you to produce a fluid layout that’s capable of optimising based on the device and browser your website is being accessed from. This means your website visitors will enjoy a consistent and positive UX whenever they visit your site.
2. Showcase your knowledge on your website
Trust is one of the most important aspects of the business-customer relationship. And one of the best ways to create bonds of trust is to show that you know what you’re talking about.
One of the most effective ways to convey your authority and expertise is through a dedicated blog page on your website, where you post quality written content that tackles issues relating to your industry and your customers’ pain points. Post this regularly and over time you’ll become something of an oracle for consumers and Google will reward your efforts with a prominent search engine ranking – which means loads more visitors to your site.
3. Include impressive visuals on your website
Whilst written content is an effective way of showcasing your expertise, visual content can capture the attention of customers faster and enhances the appeal of your crafty copy.
Here are some examples of website visual content that your customers will love:
- Business photos – Long gone are the days where stock photos of businesspeople sat around a boardroom table is seen as attractive and compelling. These are overused and say nothing about your brand identity. The best sites have professional photos of their own team and premises to give customers an insight into the inner workings of the business.
- Product photos and videos – If you’re in the business of products, you need high-quality photos that showcase them in all their glory. You can take things a step further with videos that show your products in action, so customers know exactly what to expect from their purchase.
- Infographics – infographics allow you to convey complex topics and ideas in a more digestible visual format that busy customers will enjoy, appreciate and share.
4. Include social media buttons on your website
A website with high-quality, valuable content that resonates with consumers is pretty meaningless if you aren’t giving users the opportunity to share it. By including social share buttons on content such as blogs and videos, visitors can pass them onto their family and friends, who, if they like what they see, might just hop over for a browse of your website.
It’s also worth having follow buttons which allow users to follow your social media profiles. This paves the way for longer-lasting, more meaningful relationships with customers, because social is the ideal forum for interacting with and entertaining them until they’re ready to buy your products or utilise your business services.
5. Create website pages with clear calls-to-action
When it comes to your website, you’ll have a desired journey you want your visitors to take, such as subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a free guide, or making a purchase. Web users aren’t psychic though, which is why you need to create clear calls-to-action (CTAs).
A CTA is basically a command for your visitors to do something – ‘click here’, ‘learn more’, ‘buy now’. Using them might feel a little bit pushy, however, if executed correctly, they provide a clear sense of direction for visitors so that they remain focused on your website and what you can offer them. For a better idea, take a look at these excellent CTA examples on HubSpot.
6. Have a clear website navigation path
Navigation is an integral part of website UX, in that, if users struggle to find their way around your site, they’ll view it negatively, become frustrated and head off to a website with a superior navigation interface. Including a navigation bar with clearly differentiated sub-headings that provides a logical and straightforward pathway for customers to follow is therefore a wise idea.
Historically, navigation menus have been placed at the top of website pages, but more and more business are breaking with tradition. So don‘t be afraid to mix things up with your placement. As long as it’s easily visible and clearly laid out, it’ll be just as effective.
7. Make use of white space on your website pages
When it comes to web design, some businesses see white space as meaningless and overfill their web pages with content for the sake of content. Don’t fall into this trap.
Whitespace is actually an essential design element that helps enhance the aesthetic appeal of a web page by creating a sense of harmony and sophistication, breaking up chunks of text and images, and increasing page readability.
So don’t be afraid to use whitespace – as long as your web pages look good and contain valuable content and CTAs, it won’t do you any harm. Not convinced, feast your eyes on these whitespace examples on Creative Bloq.
8. Make sure your website loads quickly
Your customers are busy people, so if your site take longer to load than a snail climbing Everest, they won’t hang around and your bounce rate will shoot up, whilst your conversions dwindle.
Exactly what constitutes a fast website load speed is up for debate. However, Google research found that as your page load time goes from one to five seconds, the probability of users bouncing increases by 90%. So for best results, make sure your pages are optimised to load in a mere matter of seconds, so you can make a great first impression on prospective customers and maintain their attention.
9. Be consistent across your website
Your website is often the place where people first come into contact with your business, so you need to make a positive and lasting impression by conveying an image of trust and professionalism. Consistency is key to achieving this.
This means that all of the main elements of you site, including fonts, colours and images, should have the same look throughout and contribute to one unified brand message.
In essence, a user should be able to browse from one page on your site to another and not feel as though they’ve landed on an entirely different website. When you can provide this high level of consistency, it strengthens your brand, whilst making your website more memorable to customers.
10. Keep your website simple
Customers ultimately want a website that is quick and easy to use. The key to achieving this is simplicity – as Moz founder Rand Fishkin puts it, “Simple sells, simple’s usable, simple scales”.
So rather than bamboozle users with countless pages with conflicting CTAs and thin content, create a simple website that runs smoothly, where everything is clearly laid out and users can easily access the information they need.
Web design is a discipline that’s advancing at a rapid speed and new websites are being launched every day, which means customers have more choice than ever. This means you need to be constantly working on innovating your website.
In order to design a website that stands out as a cut above the rest, you need to strike a careful balance between visual aspects such as images and white space; and technical ones such as responsive design and page speed.
If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to designing a website that customers love – and your cashflow will increase accordingly.