We all know the saying: “Your website is the face of your business online”. It represents your brand, conveys your company’s message, and showcases your products or services.
Since it is an integral part of taking your users through the buying journey, ideally, you would want an effective website that turns leads into sales.
So, what qualifies as a good website? Are there really rules you should stick to when you design it? Industry experts have been debating about this so-called set of rules since the earliest days of the Internet.
From an agency perspective, there are certain guidelines that we recommend to clients. In the first part of our article, we look at a few of these points, so you can drive your users from awareness to action.
1. Keep It Clutter-Free
Imagine landing on a website with things scattered everywhere: images, headlines, sub-headlines, buttons, calls-to-action, and a pop-up banner or two. If the content looks irrelevant and all over the place, you are stuck with an instant recipe for a high Bounce Rate.
When it comes to a website interface, users want a clean, clear, organised UI, so they can find what they are looking for with ease. These are the main points you should try to avoid:
- Too much content on the screen (especially text).
- Content that is not organised in a logical order.
- Too much visual “noise” because of flashy imagery and striking contrasts.
Below is an example of the old British Gas website, before they did a revamp:
The revamped website (below) is clearly more organised in terms of where they want the user’s focus to be. The actions they want the user to take on the page are also clear:
2. Make It Easy to Find
Google and other search engines do not like playing “Where’s Waldo”. To comply with SEO best practices, there are elements you must get in place from the start, and others that you need to do continuously.
The actual list is quite long, so to keep it simple, we have put together a few basic points:
- Submit your sitemap on Google Search Console.
- Register a Google My Business listing (if you have a business with a physical location).
- Create unique, accurate Title and Meta
- Ensure your URLs are clean and well-structured.
- Optimise your Offer quality content to readers, optimise your images with alt text, and use heading tags appropriately.
- Use a txt file, so Google can crawl your site.
- Google gives preference to the mobile version of a site, so keep that in mind when you design.
- Promote your content in the right ways (whether it’s sales, brand awareness, etc. think about the objectives you want to achieve. Choose your channels and budget accordingly).
3. Made for Mobile
On a daily average, people spend over three hours on their phones engaged with digital media. Undeniably, it is the largest-growing platform on which you can reach your audiences.
Mobile gives you the opportunity to tap into your market’s micro moments – those moments when people turn to their device to learn something, discover something, go somewhere, or buy something.
When you design, it is important to design with the mobile user in mind first. You would not want to lose out on an untapped market and sales just because of poor mobile load speed and display.
4. Structure, structure, structure
Being different from your competition is something all businesses strive for (obviously).
Unconventional is good, but do not bring too much “weirdness” into your design. Instead, put your brand’s uniqueness in WHAT you say.
With design, there are a few basic principles you should stick to. A typical website usually contains the following:
- Company logo at the top left.
- Horizontal navigation in the header menu.
- A unique selling point, or what the company does, above the fold.
- Social Media icons at the bottom.
- Mobile-responsive design.
- A contact form and contact details at the bottom.
- Calls to action throughout the page (in moderation).
5. Avoid Too Many Sliders and Carousels
Sliders and carousels can be engaging and visually-appealing, but you cannot always guarantee that someone scrolls past the first slide.
Instead of having sliders and carousels above the fold, stack your slides. That way, people are urged to scroll down on your page and view the rest of your content.
Use your most impactful slide as a featured image, add a strong call to action, and you are already on the way to a winning website.
Below, is a screenshot of the GAP website. A good example of stacking content, to make users scroll down and read further:
Need advice on your website? Contact us today:
(012) 771 7640