Within few minutes after landing on your website, can your visitors determine what your company does? Could users easily navigate to the blog if they need to? Is the layout of your pricing easy to understand? Does your website have a low bounce rate? If your answer is NO, then it the time to take a sincere look at the way you’ve been designing and optimizing your website. A website truly excels when it has a design that feeds into your website’s user experience, functionality, and appropriately complements your content.
However, a successful website has both high performing content and an exceptional user experience that ensures your design goes above and beyond. The last thing you want is to be spending time writing some amazing content on your blog or service pages, only for it to go unnoticed due to design flaws, navigation issues, or confusing layouts, or missed conversion opportunities.
So, what do you need to know to start improving your web design?
Have a plan:
Now that you’ve acknowledged that your site likely needs some improvements, it’s time to work your way backward and create a plan detailing how you’ll tackle them. Start by mapping out your customer journey from the first time someone visits your website to the moment they become a customer. When doing this, think about which pages are they going to view, what content are they going to read, and what offers are they going to convert on. Understanding this will help you design a site that actually helps nurture leads through the sales funnel.
Certain elements on your website are going to detract from the value and message you’re trying to convey. Complicated animations, content that’s too long, and “stocky” website images are just a few examples. With an audience that only has an attention span of eight seconds, you need to make it abundantly clear what your user will learn on the page they’re viewing and your design must not detract from this. This should detail your font styles, colors, imagery, iconography, and logo usage. Without this, it’s easy for brands to struggle when designing pages. You’ll likely start to see arbitrary colors and varying font styles and sizes used, which in turn, can distract from your message or create visual confusion for people trying to convert. It’s also important to avoid too many on-page animations or interactions. If you’re scrolling through a page and see every button pulsing or a section of icons each with their own animation, it can feel overwhelming and distract them from reading what’s on the page.
Implement call to action buttons:
Once your visitors land on your site (likely through the blog or home page), you need to guide them to places on your website that will help nurture them to conversion. People are lazy, so make this easy for them. Point them in the right direction so they don’t have to struggle to find what they are looking for. One of the best ways to improve your web design with this in mind to use strategically placed call-to-actions in areas such as the top right of your navigation, below sections that require action, and at the bottom of your website pages.
Use of best stock images:
We always recommend using original photography on your website, but if that’s not an option, there are techniques you can use to help pick out the right type of stock photo. While stock photos save you the time of producing your own imagery, many websites have imagery that falls into cliché. You’ll also find a lot of other websites may be showcasing the same imagery, which certainly doesn’t help for your credibility.
Use of organized navigation:
When designing your website, navigation is key. It’s essentially the map that displays the core places users can visit. It’s how users can easily dive deeper into areas such as your services, products, blog, etc. There’s nothing worse than a site with a disorganized or confusing navigation interface. Poor design practices such as overstuffing your navigation, using vague or confusing hypertext, and lack or organization can make it hard for your visitors to find where they want to go. It is very important to ensure that your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. This would include streamlined content, navigation hierarchy, and responsive design, so the experience doesn’t drastically change on mobile.
These days, it is critical that you take the time to optimize your site for mobile. If you don’t already know, 80% of internet users own a smartphone and Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. But it’s more than just being responsive visually. It’s a necessity to tailor your site to fit the needs and wants of your visitors. Ask yourself, why would someone access my site on mobile? What things would they look for? Does my experience currently allow them to do those things easily?
Test and iterate website:
Your website needs to be a living, evolving piece of your company, not static. There is likely always room for improvement. Improving certain areas of your website can aid in improving conversions, time on page, and pages per session, but knowing what solution might work best in improving your website is the tough part. This is where running A/B tests comes in. Taking two variations of a page and testing them against each other can reveal if certain areas are creating issues for your users. In some cases, your pages may be performing quite well, but contain outdated information. A/B testing the page can show you how much of an effect the page’s content has on session duration or possibly conversions. In other cases, you may want to see if design updates could affect a page’s performance. Simple changes such as button colors, headers, or refining copy could make incredible differences in conversion rate.
Taking the time to implement these tips on your website can bring dramatic change that can help improve the performance, experience, and customer conversion rates of your website, but once you get some of these tips in place, you may be thinking that the greater project at hand is to refresh your website with a redesign.