The way your website is laid out, the colors, images and fonts you use or don’t, may be the difference between the success or the failure of your business. If your goals are to make your visitors leave your website just minutes after they come in, then you just need to handicap the process of getting the information searched by them.
However, if your goal is to keep your visitors as long as possible inside your website and make them purchase any product, then follow these 13 simple tips to improve significantly your web design.
1. Have a professional logo— “Your logo is the most important part of your brand, so make sure it’s are well placed on your website”, says Tiffany Monhollon, Content Management at online marketing company ReachLocal. “Always use high- resolution images and place them in the upper left corner of every page”, advises Tiffany. “Also, it is a golden rule to link the logo back to your homepage so that visitors can easily surf through it. “
2. Use an intuitive navegation. “ Primary navigation options are usually placed in the horizontal bar [menu] at the top of the website,” says Brian Gatti, Partner at Inspire Business Concepts, a digital marketing agency. Making available the “secondary navigation options underneath the primary navigation bar or in the margin on the left side of the website, also known as sidebar.”
But why intuitive navigation is so important? “A confusing navigation may result on the dropout of the visitor by trying to figure out how it works”, says Gatti. Said this, instead of placing less important links in pages with informations on the HomePage or on Landing Pages – which won’t benefit your CTA (call to action) or primary information- place them on the bottom of the page, also known as footer.
3. Get rid of the noise. “Nowadays is very easy to visually overload a website with images to the point that our brain stops processing information when confronted by too many options”, explains Paolo Vidali, head of digital marketing strategies at DragonSearch Agency.
To keep visitors on the website “make sure there’s not too many CTA or visual noise in the pages ( such as overuse of graphics, photos, or animated GIFs) they take the visitor’s attention away from the main information of the page”, says Vidali.
Another tip would be “keep paragraphs short”, says IAN Lurie, CEO of Portent, Inc, web marketing company. Usually on websites, paragraphs should be between 5 to 6 lines long.”
4. Give your visitors room to breathe! “You need to create space between paragraphs and images so that the visitor can ‘breathe’ and absorve all that your company has to offer”, says Hannah Spencer, Graphic Designer at Coalition Tecnologies, web design and web marketing agency.
“By controlling the blank space of the layout of your website helps users stay focused on the content”, adds Paul Novoa, founder and CEO at Novoa Media. ” With so much visual competition on Web and Mobile, less is more.” Controlling black spaces will improve the user experience, which will increase the website’s return.
5. Use colors strategically. “Using a mostly neutral color palette can show that your website has an elegant, simple and modern appearance”, says Mark Hoben, head of web design at Egencia company.
“Applying small color portions to the headings or the main graphics helps to lead visitors to the most important content”, explains.
It´s equally important tomake sure that the color palette used needs to complements the logo and be consistent with the remaining marketing tools.
6. Invest in professional, high-quality photography. “Whoever visits you website can realize in seconds whether you use or not generic photos, which can leave the idea that is a company with no relevance”, warns Zane Schwarzlose, Director of Community Relations at Fahrenheit Marketing. “If your company is not generic, show it by investing in professional photos”.
“We strongly recommend our clients to invest in professional images or buy high-quality photos”, says Gatti. Good images attract user’s attention, which can make him create an emotional connection with the written content”. On the other hand, low-quality images or random ones, not related to the message are worse than no images at all.
Extra tip on photography: ” If your goal is to attract someone’s attention to a specific portion of content, then you should include an image of a person looking at the content”, suggests Elie Khoury, Co-founder and CEO of Woopra, which itself offers real-time costumers and visitors analytics. ” We are automatically drawn to other human being and when we see someone doing something, we tend to do the same.”
7. Choose simple fonts and easy to read When it comes to choose the font, keep in mind that people won’t just check out your website on a computer, but also in mobile devices “. Some large-scale fonts can be perfectly read on a computer screen, but it may not be the same on a mobile version, which ends up losing the desired effect”, explains Novoa. Therefore he advises to use an universal font.
“Choose a font that it’s easy to read and the size should be at least 11pt”, says Ethan Giffin, CEO of Groove Commerce. “If you are using Web Fonts, try to use no more than two fonts from the same family to ensure that the page loading time is as the fast as possible”.
“If you are using a fixed-width font, then use a size that allows writing 15 to 20 words per line”, says Lurie. ” If you choose a more fluid design, use a font that will let you write 15 to 20 words per line with width between a 900 to 1000 pixels.”
8. Look at every page as landing pages “Most websites have a design that automatically assumes users access the website from Home Page and thus browse through it”, says Michael Freeman, Analytics and Research Manager at Shoretel, Inc. “The reality is that most website visitors start on a page that isn’t the Home Page”, says Freeman.
However, it’s necessary that each page has a design where the most important information is highlighted, wherever the user is.
9. Call to action When asked to Web Designers from CIO.com for tips on how to get a professional design , they immediately replied: “Place your CTA at the top of the website, along with your cell phone number and email (in case you want to be caontacted by these options)”. Regarding images on the Home Page, “I recommend avoiding sliders with full width and use sliders or set of images to cover up two-thirds of the width, allowing the most important information to be the first thing the user sees, without any need of scrolling the page down”.
10. Create a Website with a design Responsive – automatically adjusts to the frame it’s being viewed“Instead of creating a website for every device, a responsive one is designed to adapt to the size of the browser, making the user experience as pleasant as possible”, says Jayme Preyzloff, Director of Online Marketing at Wixon Jewelers. The better the user experience, the more time he/she will spend navigating your website which leads to higher conversion rates.
11. Flash? Forget it. “Thanks to the ongoing dispute between Adobe and Apple, the days of Flash as a Internet standard are slowly coming to an end, so why fall behind when there’s many other user-friendly options on the market?”, asks Darrell Benatar, CEO of UserTesting.com. “As an alternative, use HTLM5”, says Benatar.
“HTLM5 is getting more and more support on the Web, with a user-friendly text search engine and has the full capacity of working on different mobile operating systems without the need of plug-in installation. The same cannot be said about Flash”.
12. Do not forget about buttons. “’Submit’ or ‘Send’buttons may be the less pretty part about the website”, says Watters. That’s why he encourages designers to create buttons of form submission as appealing as possible, to make visitors feel the need to click”. ” And when a visitor places the mouse over the button, it should change color, gradient, opacity or font”, mentions Watters.
13. Test your design ” Whether you’re testing diferent locations to place your call to action or different colors, website optimization can reflect a huge impact”, says Lindsey Marshall, Director of Production at Red Clay Interactive, an interactive marketing agency. “The manager of the user experience on Bing once reported that Microsoft billed an additional $80 million annual revenue just by testing and setting an specific shade of blue!”
“Each design decision is just a possibility”, adds Mike Johnson, Director of User Experience at The Nerdery, an interactive production company. ” User Testing, A/B testing can help you continually improving your designs by providing feedback from real people.”
Are you looking for a specialized Web Design team? Look for Mixlife.