Best Practices for Designing a Successful Website
Although different web design projects have different needs, there are some principles that are universal to all websites. To create a successful site, it’s important to make sure that it’s useful, relevant to your business and has visual appeal.
Whether you are redesigning your current website or building one from scratch, make sure to be aware of today’s best practices for designing a successful website.
Design your website experience to suit your audience
You should have a visually appealing website, but you should also bear in mind that a website is designed to communicate your brand message and not to be a work of art. Customers do not visit a website to admire its beauty. They are there to find information or complete a task. An effective web design will consider the needs of the visitor before the desire for interesting visual elements.
Also, when considering the needs of the visitor, it’s vital to create a user-friendly experience. When the information they are looking for is buried or takes too much time to find, users tend to get frustrated and give up. The information on the site needs to be organized and the navigation should be intuitive and easy to use.
Design with conversion in mind
People are visiting your website because they are in need of the kind of product or services you offer. The design should lead visitors to follow through on what they are looking to accomplish. Therefore, the conversion potential of the website is integral to its design.
Conversion occurs when a casual visitor becomes more than that by taking a specific action. This could be placing an order, becoming a subscriber, completing a form or any number of other things. Every part of the web design process should help facilitate the goal of conversion. Things like image quality, font, color scheme and navigation all play a role that leads customers to take action.
However, just because a site looks good and is easy to navigate doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perfectly optimized for conversions. One way to tweak your design is through A/B testing. This simply means when considering two different options for a design element, you will conduct a test to see which one users prefer, either choice A or choice B. For example, this is especially useful when designing a call to action button.
Don’t be afraid to use white space
Companies often make the mistake of presenting their homepage as if it were a newspaper which fills every square inch with content. Although this makes sense for newspapers, people read content much differently on the internet. Print media users read for education or enjoyment, whereas web users are trying to complete a specific task and don’t want to spend time reading pages of text.
Although it may seem like blank spaces are areas where design has not been applied, expert designers understand the importance of space around images and text. Designers will often say that design is just as much about spacing as it is about placing content.
Placing space around page elements provides a more enjoyable experience for visitors and allows them more time to focus on specific items. Also, more space around an important element will give it greater emphasis.
Optimize for search
It’s true that keyword stuffing has become obsolete, but it is still vital to optimize your website’s content and structure for high placement in search results. Search engines rank pages based on their relevancy to users’ search keywords and to how well it can fulfill searchers’ needs.
To target the right users, include relevant keywords in titles, header tags, links, and images. Even more importantly, create content that is of high quality and useful to users, as this helps with search engine placement, is more likely to be shared on social media, and leads to higher conversion.
Web design is a broad topic, and there are many aspects other than the ones mentioned here. Even so, these tips should provide a good sense of how to avoid the most common mistakes and get you off on a good start to creating a successful website.
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