Why Is Website Design Important?
It is simply not enough for a growing company to rely on social media accounts for sales. A good website can provide more opportunities for your company to grow bigger, capture the attention of more customers, and make it easier for existing customers to find what they are looking for. In fact, data from small and medium enterprises revealed that nearly half of internet users agree that website design plays a crucial role in judging a company’s credibility. Thus, a well-designed and functional website can improve conversion rates, reduce bounce rates, and greatly increase website traffic and engagement levels.
Best Practices for Good Website Design
Prioritize Fast Loading Speeds
This is one of the most important things your website can have. Research confirms that your website’s speed can influence bounce rate, user satisfaction, conversions, and revenue. Regardless of how well-designed your website is, if it takes more than half a minute to load, users will most likely exit out of the site without ever navigating through your website and experiencing what it has to offer. Tools like Pingdom or Google’s Pagespeed Insights can be used to check website speed and spot areas for improvement.
If users exit out of your website quickly, search engines will make note of this for their rankings. This means that in addition to good, SEO-centered copywriting, a fast website will help with your website ranking on search engines as they analyze which websites users value.
Leverage Your Content
One of the first things website visitors will see is the content above the fold. The fold is the cutoff at the bottom of the screen; everything above it is viewable without scrolling, while everything below it is out of sight unless the user scrolls down. Having thoughtful, curated content readily viewable can significantly reduce bounce rates and may potentially increase conversions.
To optimize the content above the fold, make sure to hook your audience so they are curious to learn more. This can be done by using a clear headline, good copywriting, an eye-catching call-to-action, and engaging media.
A clear headline will tell users why they’re on your website. It gives them direction and tells them how your website can benefit them. Make sure to be descriptive but brief; use simple words instead of complex jargon. Emphasizing your call-to-action and making it stand out can also increase conversion rates. Making it a different color from the rest of the page can increase the chances of it being noticed.
Good copywriting will hook your audience and keep them reading. Having engaging copy that intrigues website viewers while also answering their questions can lead to higher conversion rates. Your copy can also instill a sense of urgency in visitors to your website, making them more likely to take action to prevent missing out. Humans are very loss-adverse, meaning that we tend to overemphasize losses. You can leverage this by emphasizing the costs of not using your product or service in your copy, and create a sense of urgency using limited-time offers. If your product or service is scarce or one-of-a-kind, be sure to mention this in the copy to increase conversion rates.
Another way to get website users to read the text is by leveraging social proof. By having testimonials and reviews from other users, you are showing that your product is trustworthy. If users see that others are using your product or service, they are more likely to do the same.
Including engaging media can also help guide website users to where you want their attention focused. For example, if you want users’ attention to be directed towards a signup form or to a call-to-action button, you can use a picture of someone looking towards the form or button. You can also draw attention with an arrow or similar visual cue to achieve the same effect. In addition to using media to direct attention, including images of people can help users feel more connected to your website and product. One case study found that conversions increased by 102.5% when a text-based web page began including a photo of a person in the background. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that people can usually spot stock images and often ignore them, which is why it is preferable to use original images.
Simplicity is Key
To ensure a fast website with intentional design, it is better to emphasize simplicity. According to Hick’s Law, the more choices a person has, the longer they will take to make a decision. This can prove to be very bad for sales. A study actually found that people who had more choices ended up buying less of a product than people who had less to choose from.
To apply this knowledge to your website’s design, you can limit the number of choices people have to make on your website, which could mean limiting form fields so people have less to fill in, offering fewer menu items, or having only two options for a user to click. This last example makes use of framing bias as well; if you give your audience the choice to pick between a discounted package versus a more expensive one at full price, they are more likely to pick the discounted one rather than not buying anything at all.
You can also prevent user fatigue by having information scrollable, rather than making users click multiple buttons just to get to where they want to go. A case study by Crazy Egg proved that a longer, scroll-able sales page increased conversions by 30%. Instead of constantly clicking buttons that lead visitors to another page on your website, scrolling simplifies your site and makes it more user-friendly.
Making use of the serial-position effect can apply if your website design has scrolling rather than button clicks. The serial-position effect states that users are more likely to remember the first and last entries in a list, while forgetting what lies between. This means that you should be putting the most important information at the beginning and the end, and position your CTAs accordingly. This ensures users do not have to scroll all the way back up to find a specific call-to-action button.
Using short sentences in your copy, leveraging bullet points, having simple design elements and media, and making use of white space can also lead to better web design. A study by Google has shown that website visitors prefer simplicity over visual complexity; they were more likely to find simple designs more beautiful. A simpler design means fewer distractions for the user, allowing them to navigate your site with ease.
Ensure Easy Navigation
Website visitors value easy-to-find information over website aesthetics, which means that making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for should be a key priority for good website design.
One way to ensure that users find your website easy to navigate is to use standard layouts. This means that people would already be familiar with how your website works even if they have never visited it before. For example, on most websites, the search bar is on the top right, while the company logo is on the top left.
Remember not to leave out mobile users by using responsive design. This means that your website and its content will change and be optimized depending on screen size. In a time where mobile usage dominates, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that your website design does not sacrifice functionality or aesthetics when viewed on a phone. If your website is easy to navigate on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices, users will be much more engaged and will be able to access your site whenever and wherever they are.
Invest in Strong Security
Now that you’ve optimized your website to ensure that it is the best it can be, don’t forget to invest in strong website security so that all your work can be protected. If users and clients are leaving their personal information on your website, it’s all the more reason to include strong security and privacy tools to protect their information.