5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Web Design
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If you want your website visitors to stay on your site longer, click on links and interact with you then you need to follow certain design rules.
The way your website is laid out, the colors, size and type of font and what images you use can make a huge difference in your online success. Your website’s success is measured by the bounce or exit rate (how long a visitor stays on your site), conversion and sales. If you want to build your own website then it’s your job to make your website as user friendly as possible. Remember, you only have about 5 seconds to explain your value to users when they first land on your site.
Tip #1 – Navigation
Make your navigation intuitive so your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. Put some thought into organization your pages and create a primary navigation bar on the top of the page, above or below your header, where it is easy to see and use. Keep it simple and straight forward using only your main pages. Don’t use ‘cute’ or misleading page names that will only confuse your visitors. It’s also a good idea to have a second navigation option in the side bar of your page.
Instead of putting links to less important pages that detract from your call to action or primary information at the top of your home pages, place the less important links in the footer at the bottom of your page says Brian Gatti, a partner with Inspire Business Concepts. Don’t forget to link your logo or header to the home page so that your visitors can easily navigate back to it.
Tip #2 – Color
Use a color palette that complements your logo and is consistent with your existing marketing materials. Use contrasting colors or a simple, light colored background to make your text easy to read. Small dashes of color, for headlines, buttons or key graphics, helps guide your visitors to your most important content.
Ask a friend, or a co-worker, to give you a hand with the choice of colors that you’ve made on your website. It’s much easier to know whether a website is comfortable for reading and browsing, when someone offers a second opinion. I think Kathi Kruse from Kruse Control Inc. has done a nice job picking complementary colors for her web design. Her website looks professional, clean and easy to read.
Tip #3 – Clutter
Get rid of any clutter on your pages and give your visitors some breathing room. I have run into this problem myself from time to time. You have so much great content that it makes it hard to figure out what to focus on. It is super easy to get visually overloaded with images and too many options, your visitors end up overwhelmed and will leave your website instead of trying to make a choice.
“Create enough space between your paragraphs and images so the viewer has space to breathe and is more able to absorb all of the features your website and business have to offer,” says Hannah Spencer, graphic designer with Coalition Technologies.
Tip #4 – Responsiveness
Use responsive web design that will automatically adapt to how your site is being viewed. Give your visitors the best possible user experience by creating a responsive website that will adapt to all the different browser sizes. There are a few factors you need to keep in mind, these include:
- Don’t use mobile-unfriendly technologies, such as Flash
- Do use large, legible text in a font that is easy to read across all devices
- Be aware of website sizes, content to user screen (no side-scrolling to read!)
- Include spaces to keep links apart for easy finger tapping
61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing from their phone – Google Study
If you already have a website in place, give your site a quick Mobile-Friendly Test to see what it needs to be its best mobile-friendly self.
Tip #4 – Content
Content is king so keep it fresh, relevant and up to date. Website visitors read differently than someone reading a book. Most of us only skim the content, hopping from headline to headline, reading a few lines that interest us and skipping the rest. Write content that is easy to read. Include headers, lists, unique images, and links for more information. Keep your wording and paragraphs short and simple.
“If you want to draw attention to a particular piece of content or a signup button, include a photo of a person looking at the content” suggests Elie Khoury, cofounder and CEO of Woopra.Web Include images that draw the eye and provides an emotional connection to the written content. Take the time to make sure all your images appear correctly (include a descriptive title and alt text), and click on all the links.
Tip #5 – Social Media
Integrate social media to reach more customers and prospects. More and more consumers use social media sites as a starting point for accessing information on the web these days. It’s important that you incorporate social media into your web design and marketing strategy. Make sure your visitors can see the social networks you are on and are able to share your content.
As for where to place social media icons like for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.? “A good rule of thumb is that the more visible your social buttons are, the more users will interact with them,” says Jessie Jenkins, social media and content specialist at Thrive Internet Marketing. Include the ability to socially share your content on all pages, not just the home page.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that holds true for website design as well.
Of course, it’s not always the prettiest site that gets the most traffic. Once you have picked out your basic website theme, color scheme and created content for the various pages it is time to test your design. “Every design decision is just a hypothesis,” says Mike Johnson, director of User Experience at The Nerdery, an interactive production company. “User testing, A/B testing and simple analytics can help you continuously improve your designs by providing feedback from real people.”
Do you want me to take a look at your website design or do you have questions? Leave me a comment below.
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