For many companies, their website is the most important aspect of their marketing strategy. It is often the first thing a potential customer will see. Website design plays an important part in how people perceive your company and influences their decision when it comes time to make a purchase.
There are some great tools that make designing a website much easier than it ever has been. Whether you are selling gardening supplies, marketing financial services, promoting a restaurant, or have a gaming site, there will be a web template that you can use to quickly get your website up and running.
However, design trends change, sites age and sometimes some minor adjustments can improve your website’s design without having to completely redo it. Here are 14 tips for improving your website design:
#1. Improve Page Loading Speed
How fast a website’s pages load directly affects how long people will remain on a site. A webpage should load in 3 seconds or less. Any longer and you are going to start losing potential customers. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that over half of mobile visitors will leave a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
One of the easiest ways to improve loading speed is by optimizing image size. Compressing images before loading them onto your website can greatly decrease loading time. Getting rid of any unnecessary plugins is another easy way to improve page loading time.
#2. Mobile Optimization
More people use phones to access and search the internet than any other device. Websites have to respond to different screen sizes and browser choices so they can be viewed properly on a variety of phones and tablets as well as on computers.
Users who have trouble viewing the content will most likely leave your website and look someplace else. Not only that, but Google also penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized and ranks them lower in searches.
#3. Effective Use of White Space
White space is the areas of the webpage that are empty with no type of content. Some people consider white space a waste. They want to fill up the entire page with content. What happens is you end up with a page that looks cluttered. White space just needs to be used effectively.
It can be used to separate content and make it more readable. White space can also be used to help make certain elements stand out and draw the user’s attention. White space isn’t bad; it just has to be used in the right way.
#4. Page Consistency
The style on the pages throughout your website should remain consistent. The colors used on the site, font choices, spacing, button styles, and other design features should remain the same on every page of the site.
A dramatic design change from one page to the next can confuse users. They like to have some idea of what to expect as they navigate a website.
#5. Use Bullet Points
Bullet points are a great way to make key points you want to make stand out. A visitor to the site can quickly take in all the important details that you want them to without having to read a ton of text.
If the details included in bullet points touch on the reader’s concerns and interests, they are more likely to stay longer to learn more.
#6. Visible Call to Action
Generally, a visitor to your website has some interest in your service or product. You know this because they are on your site. The call to action (CTA) tells them what to do next. It should stand out and be clearly visible.
Button color of CTA’s makes a difference as well. Use an accent or contrast color. The CTA can be in the form of a button, a banner, a pop-up, or something else. A good CTA should also start with an action word.
You have no doubt seen some of the best calls to action words in use on many websites:
- Download our free e-book
- Sign up for our monthly newsletter
- Click here for more information
- See prices
- View all our services
- Watch the video
Basically, you are telling the user what to do next. Getting them to interact with the site gets you one step closer to a sale.
#7. Use Headings and Subheadings
“Content is King” is something you hear a lot when discussing successful websites and this is true. However, how that content is formatted and presented is also important.
Using headings and subheadings correctly and using the proper format makes it easier for users to read your valuable content. Content should be well organized and fit in with the design of the rest of your site.
#8. Simplify Navigation
Navigation is one of the most important parts of your website design. Users want to find what they want and be able to get to it quickly. Over complicating navigation will lose you visitors fast, as will the inability of users to quickly find what they need.
Navigation bars should run horizontally across the top of each page and should be fixed. You should avoid overcrowding the navigation bar. Limit the links there to broad categories of your site.
Sub-category links can be included on the broad category page, or better yet in a drop-down menu that only becomes visible when you hover over a broader category. Just avoid having too many options in drop-down menus. Ideally, you want to be able to reach any section of the site within 3 clicks. Two is better but it will depend on how big the site is.
Consider including a search bar at the top of every page. A search bar lets people find precisely what they are looking for quickly without having to search through several pages.
Another good practice that many websites like gaming site AskBoosters follow is to include a clickable company logo in the upper-left corner of every website page. This should link to the homepage so that users can return directly there from anywhere on the site. The bottom line is to do whatever you can to make navigating your site as easy as possible
#9. Include a Blog on your site
A good blog provides value to your users and will also help improve your SEO. Blog posts are also easily shared on social media. The content of your blog can demonstrate to readers your knowledge in the field and give them confidence in your related products and/or services. It should contain well written content aimed at your target audience.
#10. Include Social Sharing Buttons
Social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have close to 2 billion regular users between them. Social buttons are a way for users of your site to share content such as blog posts that they find interesting or useful with their followers on social media sites.
They don’t even have to leave your website to do it. Social buttons are a great way to pick up new visitors who would never have been aware of your site otherwise.
#11. Font Choice
The fonts you choose to use on your site can make a difference. Sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are the best choice. They are easier to read than serif fonts. The use of serif fonts should be limited to headings, if then.
People tend to skip over text that is difficult to read and they may leave your site. You should also limit the number of fonts you use to just two or three. Any more and your site can start to look messy and confuse readers.
#12. Have a Contact Page
It is a good idea for websites to have a separate contact page. This is where users of your website will be able to contact you with any questions or problems they may have. All too often website owners just add their contact information in their footer where it is easy to overlook.
Include as many types of contact information as are available to you. Having an actual contact form is also a good idea. Potential customers are likely to look someplace else if they have difficulty even finding out how to get in touch with you and having a separate contact page makes it easy for them.
#13. Include a Balanced Amount of Graphic Media
Including pictures, videos and other graphic media can definitely improve your website. Many of your users will enjoy this type of content.
However, it is easy to get carried away and overload pages. A good rule of thumb to use is to include no more than 1 type of graphic for every 500 words of text. Remember to optimize graphics so they don’t slow page loading time too much
Test your site regularly to make sure everything is working properly. Links, buttons, videos, and other elements of your website need to all function perfectly to provide the best user experience.
Use these 14 tips to improve your website design and convert more visitors into customers.