“How many leads do you get each week from your website?” I asked my client.
“Ah…..” they looked at me, blank-faced and confused.
If you’re feeling the same, never fear. In this blog post, we’re going to be talking about website design best practices for 2021. Not so you can have a super fancy award-winning design, but because your website should be working hard for your business. Think of it like your star sales staff member. If your star sales staff member isn’t bringing in the right business, then you need to let them go. So, let’s run through the five attributes that your website needs in order to be a winning team member.
Super Slick SEO
We’ll start with SEO because it’s crucial to allow new customers to discover your products or services. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, uses a range of different tools to optimise your website, so you appear higher in organic search results. That means more people find you on Google, your site gets more traffic, and when designed appropriately, you get your ideal leads.
Like most things in business, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach SEO. Using unethical SEO techniques like cloaking and keyword stuffing might be seen as a quick way to get results, but in the long run, they do your website more harm than good.
For a website to be designed using best practice, it should incorporate the following SEO essentials from the outset:
- Responsive design
- A clear and logical heading hierarchy
- Effective heading and title tags
- Use of relevant keywords
- Effective meta descriptions
- Short and relevant URLs
- Optimised images
- Links to high-quality websites
- Optimised page speed
- Crawlability and indexability
We’ll explore these in more detail in another post.
Clean, Modern Design
If you saw my blog post, 8 signs it’s time to redesign your website, you might remember that it only takes a customer 5 seconds to form an impression of your website. What is the first thing they judge? The design, of course. If your website looks as though it was designed the same year that Madonna brought out her hit tune “Holiday,” you can be sure that you’ll lose some potential clients. Instead, you want your website design to be clean, modern, uncluttered, and most of all, to reflect your brand.
A clean design allows for easy readability. The last thing you want to do is use 29 different fonts and sizes with ten tonnes of information squished into a tight space. Make sure that you use consistent font sizes and style sizes with plenty of white space to let people’s eyes rest and let’s not forget to keep it on brand.
Remember; make it easy to read, make the information easy to find, and make it work on any device.
Carrying on from the design of the website, let’s talk about usability. The two can’t be separated as good design must incorporate ease of use. Too many companies design sites with the business in mind rather than the customer. User experience is at the forefront of all design, now more than ever before. Companies like Apple have invested years of research and millions of dollars developing incredibly intuitive systems so that even someone who has never used a smartphone before, can quickly and easily figure out how to use one. The same principles need to apply to your site.
There is no point driving people to your website if they can’t find the information they want when they want it. Your website needs the information architecture (the way that content is structured on your site) to be logical and straightforward to ensure people aren’t clicking around blindly, getting increasingly frustrated.
The navigation tools on the site also need to be intuitive. It’s not the time to get carried away reinventing the wheel. There are various standards that people expect, like a logo in the top left-hand corner that navigates back to the homepage, links that are easy to distinguish from standard text, and contact information included in the footer of the page. Plus, you need to make sure the basics are solid, like using a good web host so your site doesn’t crash, checking that all your links are working, and include a clear call-to-action so they know what to do next.
So, you have made it past the first few hurdles. Someone has found your website and decided it’s worth a closer look. The next essential in web design best practices is to include relevant and useful content that aligns to the viewer’s search intention.
Your web content needs to answer people’s questions in plain language. It should be split up into easily digestible segments, and you might want to consider displaying it in varied formats to convey the information best. Think about infographics, videos, blog posts, and images. It’s also a good idea to regularly update your content for effective SEO indexing.
We talked above about driving traffic to your website through organic search results, but another avenue you should leverage is your social media channels. You might have added buttons to the bottom of your site, but you need to integrate the content on your website with the posts that you are putting on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn account. You can offer small snippets of advice that lead to more in-depth content on your website, and provide share buttons on your web page to encourage organic links and additional traffic.
|Our fitness client wasn’t getting the results they needed, so they turned to us to redesign their website using best practices. With their new website, they dominated their local search for the search terms “Personal Trainer” and “Personal Training Studio” and shot to #1 in Maps.|
In short, when you use best practices in web design, you’re rewarded with more traffic and higher conversion rates. If your website isn’t delivering, contact us today to turn it into a star performer.