Any designer will tell you that everyone’s a design expert — or at least they think they are.
But there’s a good reason web designers make the big bucks. There are thousands of websites out there failing to meet their true potential thanks to poor design.
Don’t get caught out by the basics. Here are 10 web design tips every webmaster should know.
1. Full Speed Ahead
Speed is everything. It’s hard to overstate how important it is to visitor retention.
If your site is slow to load, visitors will click away. Even if they’re not moving to competitor sites, they may switch to other tabs and never really come back to your site.
We live in a world of distractions. There are other sites out there screaming for the attention of your visitors, so it’s vital that your site leaps into action from the moment your visitors arrive.
2. Permission to Land
Your landing page exists to convert a visitor into an engaged customer. When you boil it down like that, it should be clear why vague or convoluted landing pages are a no-no.
Strip landing pages back to their bare essentials. Present only the most relevant information in a digestible format and make your call to action clear. This makes it clear what you want from your customers and reduces the brainpower you’re demanding from customers who want to engage with your service.
3. Clean Up Your Clutter
We all understand the stress of a cluttered environment in the real world, so why do some webmasters insist on cluttering their web pages?
There’s nothing attractive about clutter. You may think you’re providing interesting information or visual appeal, but clutter will only have the opposite effect.
In a worst-case scenario, clutter can drag down your site’s speed. It can even lock up your visitor’s device — hardly something that will win them over as a customer.
We’re in an age of minimalist design, so stick by that philosophy and keep things clear and focused. Make use of white space to keep your visitors’ attention where it matters.
4. On the Go
A majority of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices. So if your site still isn’t ready for mobile in 2019, you’re making a serious mistake.
There are numerous online tools you can use to check your site’s mobile compatibility, so there’s no excuse, either.
Check that your site displays correctly on mobile devices. It also needs to be fast and responsive. Watch out for overlapping graphics, corrupted menus, or elements that refuse to load on mobile.
5. The Font of All Knowledge
Fonts are one of those areas where laymen and professional graphic designers clash. Laymen tend to use “interesting” fonts, often quirky fonts, or fonts in complex cursive. Meanwhile, graphic designers know the value of basic, clear fonts.
The precious few extra seconds it takes a visitor to read a complex font are just another little frustration for readers. Once they accrue enough of these frustrations, they’ll move on.
Once again, this is all about how easy it is to navigate your site. Using weird and wonderful fonts may look visually interesting, but it’s a nightmare for useability. They can even cause accessibility problems for dyslexic or visually-impaired visitors.
For that reason, readable fonts are always the way to go.
6. Make Friends with Robots
It’s not all about those squishy humans. Good website design also appeals to robots.
Said robots are the ones working for search engines. They’re the ones who will read your website and report back to let search engines know who your site might be relevant to.
SEO optimization is a deep topic, but it all comes back to helping search engines categorize and rank your site. Follow good SEO practice to ensure your site appears in the right searches, or you’ll struggle to bring visitors to your site at all.
7. Cool Down on the Pop-Ups
It’s trendy to smash your visitor with pop-ups the moment they arrive on your site, urging them to join mailing lists or receive your free stuff. But in many cases, these are counterintuitive.
Readers have to click through these obtrusive messages before they even find out who you are. And many people will click through them without ever reading them, so the more complex they are, the more frustrating they make the user experience.
Add additional pop-ups like cookie notifications and (for Europeans) GDPR notices, and it can take an extra half a minute just to access your homepage.
8. Don’t Dig Too Deep
Theseus may have loved a maze, but your regular customers will feel like they’ve been thrown to the Minotaur if they can’t find where they want to go.
Complex, nested menus will leave visitors lost in the winding corridors of your site. They’ll struggle to find the information they’re looking for if they even bother to stick around. Keep your menus no more than a level deep for the sake of navigation.
9. Feeling Listless
Lists are a fantastic way to impart information in a readable format. But if you use them, then keep them short.
The problem with long lists is that humans are impatient. We see a long list, and we read the top few items before skipping straight to the bottom — missing out on everything in between.
10. The Social Network
In an online world defined by social media, a good landing page is about more than a sales conversion. It’s also a chance for your customers to connect with you on an ongoing basis.
Make your social media buttons loud and proud. You could also choose to include social media feeds on your homepage. This is a great chance to also share glowing reviews of your service, killing two birds with one stone.
Web Design Tips for a Killer Website
These web design tips can transform a weak site into a killer one. By following these tips, you can boost both your retention and your conversion rate, turning your site from a laborious money sink into a money-maker.
Want to make sure downtime doesn’t kill your site? Contact us today.