Let’s face it, if you’ve got an unappealing website and it’s difficult to find things, you can guarantee anyone landing on your page won’t be staying for long. For most businesses, a website is one of the most important investments you can make so it’s important to make a good first impression with potential customers.
You want to look credible and encourage people to take action and buy your product or service, right? How your website is laid out, what colours, fonts and images you use can mean the difference between a sale and someone clicking the back button.
When it comes to website design, these certainly are the fundamentals to ensure your website has a fighting chance of attracting your customers and encouraging them to stay on your page.
ONE: Keep it functional.
Effective web design isn’t always about how it looks; it’s about how it works. Navigation is possibly the most important part of a website, particularly for businesses that have multiple pages. If you’re wondering how intuitive a navigation bar should be, design it in a way that your grandmother can understand.
TWO: Make it easy to read.
We like to read from top to bottom and left to right, some refer to this as the “F” pattern layout. Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, you can use the F-layout to walk the users through your website naturally. Keep in mind that users aren’t going to read every single word you publish on your website, so make sure you prioritise the information and the messages you need to get across.
THREE: Get the aesthetics right.
First impressions count. A first time visitor to your website will give you no more than five seconds to gain their attention. You need to ‘wow’ them, so this is where the look and feel of your website comes into play.
Typefaces: It’s important to make sure users can actually read the information on your website. If you struggled reading that line, chances are most of your potential customers will too. You don’t want your web font encouraging people to hunch over their keyboards.
Colours: It’s amazing how much power colour has over our attitudes and emotions. When it comes to your website, you need to use colour in the right way. Avoid colour overload, don’t dismiss white (Google: the most popular website in the world is practically all white!) and make sure the colours align to your branding. You should use colour to encourage certain user behaviours such as purchasing your product. For example, bright primary colours are the highest-converting colours for calls to action.
Images: Professional photos will not only give your website more credibility, they will create a more accurate representation of your brand, products or services you’re trying to convey to the users. It’s also a great opportunity to get some head shots of your staff, as people like to know they aren’t just dealing with robots.
Space: Don’t overwhelm the users. If there is too much information to digest on the home page, forget it. Space can be used to create a focal point for the readers and it doesn’t always have to be white. Space can equally be a background colour or a texture.
FOUR: Have effective calls to action
There’s nothing more frustrating for a user wanting more information and not knowing where to get it or who to call. In saying that, your website’s call to actions should be obvious and prominently displayed with visual cues.
When you have a clear call to action, you’ll ensure the users are being led into the desired action as efficiently as possible. If you have a call to action button, make sure the text describes what kind of information they can expect from clicking on it. For example “Why choose us? or “View our services.”
FIVE: Can it be read easily on multiple devices?
These days, websites are accessed from multiple devices on many different sized screens so it’s important for businesses to ensure their website is built for optimal display on all devices. According to a study conducted by Google, 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to purchase a product or service.
If you’re not ready to rebuild your site, start by simplifying your site design. Open your website on a smartphone and you’ll see the need for design changes (Tip: Don’t forget to ensure the touchable buttons are fat-finger-proof!). Or create a mobile version of your site as an alternative to editing your website.