Whether your business is marketing or HVAC services, you need a quality website design to reach prospects. Think about it: In today’s Internet-focused society, people will often find your website before they ever contact you. When they do, you’ve got a golden opportunity to convert them into clients. Website design makes all the difference.
How do you create the kind of website that attracts clients? What are the hallmarks of effective design? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at 10 best practices to incorporate.
Good design is as much about what you leave out as it is about what you include. You don’t want to overload visitors with more information than they can process. Keep your site streamlined and direct, highlighting the most important information about your company and answers to customers’ most common questions.
Fast sites are not a luxury for today’s impatient web users; they’re a necessity. When someone comes to a site, he or she expects it to load immediately. More than that, search engines pay attention to site speed and can penalize you if your site loads too slowly. To check your site’s load times, use Pingdom or PageSpeed insights by Google.
In today’s on-the-go society, more of your website visitors pull up your site on mobile devices than on desktop computers, at least according to statistics from Statista. This means if your site doesn’t work properly on smartphones or tablets, you’re losing your audience. It also means you need responsive design. Responsive websites adjust layouts, images and content to the visitor’s viewing device. Taking into account screen size, platform and orientation, they respond by making information more accessible.
Prominent contact info
If one of the chief goals of your website is increasing leads, you need to make it easy and convenient for visitors to contact you. This is why you need a clickable phone number or contact form placed prominently on your site — so an interested prospect can take action immediately. Many companies will place a contact button or link at the top right-hand corner of every page.
A simple navigation menu at the top of your site
Your website’s navigation menu should highlight only its most important pages in order to point visitors to the information they’re likely to need. With that in mind, aim for six or fewer items in the menu. Likewise, the best place to locate your menu is usually at the top (or sometimes on the left side) of every page. Ignore this convention and you risk a higher bounce rate, fewer pages per visit and reduced conversions, says Neil Patel.
A clear value proposition
Whether you do it in a phrase or sentence of text at the center of the homepage, or in a short snippet above the fold, you want to clearly communicate what you offer. Show prospects why they should work with you by telling them what they can gain. Make the value proposition front and center, where they can’t miss it.
All content on your site, from the homepage to blog posts, should be optimized for keywords. Why? Search engines can be one of your biggest traffic sources, bringing people to your website who are already looking for what you sell or do. Target specific keywords relevant to your industry. Likewise, link internally. Label images with ALT text to tell searches what they show. These are a few of the SEO best practices.
Clear content hierarchy
Think of how confusing it would be to land on a website where everything from the menu to post titles to body copy were all in the same font style and size. Without a clear visual hierarchy differentiating headers, subheaders, etc., it would be tough to know what’s most important. For this reason, you need to establish a hierarchy of content that styles each header and content type appropriately. It helps get your message across faster and clearer.
You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s especially true online, where visitors often scan pages without thoroughly reading text. Someone who arrives on your site may not wade through long paragraphs, but it would be hard to miss beautiful photos or graphics. For best results, balance clear, crisp, quality imagery with sizing that doesn’t slow down your site.
Calls to action are vital for prompting visitors to sign up, buy products or contact you. To be most effective, CTAs should follow compelling text, be set on buttons that stand out against other content and incorporate language that moves visitors to action.
No matter what your industry or target audience, your web design matters. So, to make yours as effective as possible, you want to follow what are considered today’s best practices. The 10 ideas are a great place to start. Use them to guide your design and make it easier for your online prospects to become your clients!