Your website is essentially the online face of your company. If that’s the case, what does your website say about you? Is it easy to navigate? Can visitors determine what your company does within seconds of landing on your homepage?
The truth is your website can’t succeed simply by the quality of content alone. For the optimum user experience, you have to offer great design. Plus, you have to clearly communicate to your audience what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it.
Let’s take a closer look at a few things you can do to make your website design look more professional and engaging.
❶ Start With a Plan
It’s a bad idea to jump in with both feet and start designing your website without deciding how it will most effectively meet the needs of your visitors. Your website intends to convert visitors into customers, so you have to decide the content they are going to read, and how this content will serve their needs.
It’s best to choose a simple design. As with most elements of design, less is more, and a minimalist approach makes a webpage look fresh and clean. Years ago, web design was cluttered and complicated, but those days are gone. Remember to focus on impressing your visitors with how great your product is rather than how flashy your website might look.
❷ Remove Distractions
Recent studies show that the average human attention space is only 8 seconds. That’s shorter than a gold fish. So that’s all the time you have to create a first impression that conveys your main points.
Your website needs to be designed with short, powerful sections of content, great photos, and clear, concise headers. Get rid of images that clutter the page, as well as any terminology that is confusing or overused.
❸ Integrate Social Media
Today more than ever, you cannot overestimate the value of integrating social media buttons on your company’s webpage. If you’re not familiar with social media sharing buttons, they are small buttons that can be included at the top or bottom of your webpage so that visitors are allowed to share the page directly with friends.
If you haven’t included these buttons on your webpage, you are likely missing out on a ton of traffic generated from a wide variety of popular social media platforms.
❹ Implement a Call-to-Action
Call-to-Action buttons are a website design element that directs the user to take the next step on the page. Keep in mind that some visitors might not know what to do or where to go next unless you provide some form of visual direction.
Every call to action button has a different purpose, whether for downloads, to see more information, to watch a video, or to see pricing options, and should be implemented into the design in such a way to make navigation relatively effortless.
❺ Great Images are Vital
Your website needs to be visually appealing, and choosing the right photographs is one way to make a significant difference in forming a visitor’s first impression. This is one of the keys factors in how to make your website look professional.
Using stock photos is an effective way to include high-quality images, but we highly recommend that you opt for using photos that reflect your company in a more specific way. People can usually tell when you’re using stock images, so try to use them sparingly.
Whenever possible, include images of your employees, and the office your environment, as well as photos from community events your company has been involved with. This is a great way to let visitors get a feel for what your company is all about.
❻ Make it Easy to Navigate
Easy and intuitive navigation is one of the most important elements of effective website design. The biggest obstacle for poor navigation design is a site with a disorganized and confusing navigation. Getting around your website should be an effortless experience, where users can easily scroll through content, and click from page to page.
When visitors get confused or can’t find what they are looking for, they won’t have any reason to stay on your webpage. The best examples of good website design offer seamless integration between content, layout, and ease of navigation.
Don’t be hesitant to have a long homepage that allows visitors to scroll for a number of sections before being directed to other pages.
❼ Optimize for Mobile
Believe it or not, approximately 80% of internet users own a smartphone. In addition to that, mobile devices generate 31% of traffic to the top 10 websites in the world. This makes it crucial for your website to be optimized for use on mobile platforms.
You should give serious consideration to the fact that the majority of users that have trouble accessing a mobile site are unlikely to return. Mobile optimization is becoming more critical with every passing day as the number of mobile devices on the market continues to grow exponentially.
You can’t afford to lose sight of the importance of responsive web design, which simply means how your site will adapt to any screen or device. Your webpage needs to load quickly and have an elegant, intuitive design to be attractive to mobile users.
Keep Your Website Fresh
You should be continually reviewing your website to see if anything needs to be updated. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to let your website design or content become outdated or stale. You’ll notice very quickly that visitors will begin to ignore you, and then forget you. And once they forget about you, they’re unlikely ever to return.
Learning how to improve your website is essential if you hope to stay competitive in a crowded marketplace. Good website design is as important as your business itself.
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Oftentimes the best way to learn 'WHAT' to do is to first learn 'WHAT NOT' to do!