How do you create the “perfect” website? In these high-tech, and truly competitive times, websites are a must-have for small, medium and large businesses. Whether you own a hardware or a restaurant, or you’re a freelance graphic artist or photographer, a great website is essential for your success. Read on to learn more about a couple of expert-approved ideas on how to build a website that looks beautiful, converts more visitors, and gets a lot of value from every one of those hard-earned visits.
Use Pictures of People (But Don’t Use Stock Photos)
In the field of web design, faces are uniquely powerful, very powerful imagery. Not only do faces draw attention both offline and online, but they correlate with conversion too. In a recent study conducted by Basecamp, a US web software company based in Chicago, Illinois, a major rise in results was seen when faces and testimonials were both used on a sales page.
So, make sure your website doesn’t look like an abandoned cruise ship with not a soul on board, because the magnetic power of pictures of real people is very useful in designing websites. However, don’t rely too much on stock photos, because while there’s a time and place for stock photos, if you overly use them your website won’t feel genuine, and they won’t build trust with your site visitors.
Utilize Color to Guide the Attention of Visitors Towards Calls to Action
Colors also play a major role in the world of web design, as they have emotional connotations and they’re part of brand standards. For example, blue means calm while red means urgent. Colors also have the opportunity to pull the eye of site visitor’s towards buttons and CTA’s, or calls to action!
According to a study about website button color by UK software company Eyequant, color and luminance contracts have the amazing power to draw the attention of website visitors. However, the study also showed that colorful buttons are not always effective.
So, if you want your website CTA buttons to gain more prominence and draw more attention, try these suggestions: Contrast the button color with the background, contrast the button color and the button text, and contract the button color with nearby elements on the page (Or, you could place a lot of white space around it).
Always be Descriptive
In designing websites, navigation is visually prominent, which means there’s a lot of opportunity to communicate. In general, a website’s visitor often begins his or her visit by scanning across the header, which means that anything that’s placed there (including the menus) will likely be seen by visitors!
Get Rid of Jargon, & Use Simple Words
Good web design also means using simple words, and avoiding the use of excessive jargon. If the website is easier to read, the more successful will it be. Thus, web designers should use common words that most visitors expect, and do away with long sentences or fancy words that muddle the brains of readers.
According to Roger Dooley, the author of the book “Brainfluence”, “cognitive fluency is a measure of how easily your website visitor’s brain processes what they are looking at. So, when something is hard to read, people unconsciously find it time-consuming and hard to grasp”.
The author further added that web copy that works well for users who have low literacy usually works well for everyone (Although he stresses that it’s not about dumbing down!). A few studies have also shown that bringing down readability levels can improve a website’s success rate. Yeah, even university professors or PhD holders prefer reading at an 8th grade level sometimes!
Go For Standard Layouts
A study conducted by US search engine giant Google has found that websites who follow standard processes of web design are more likely to have better visitor conversions. But, what ‘does a standard web layout look and feel like?
Again, according to the experts at Google, a website that has good design standards includes (or incorporates) the following aspects: A logo in the top left, a horizontal navigation in the header, a search bar at the top, social icons at the bottom and a mobile-responsive design!
Show One Thing at a Time
In a 2012 survey that was again conducted by Google, it was noted that more complex website designs are less likely to be perceived as beautiful. In fact, the researchers said that in general website visitors don’t like clutter, prefer whitespace and low visual complexity. So, if you’re in the process of designing your business’ website, cut the clutter and make one or two elements the focus at each scroll depth!
Be Careful About Linking to Other Websites
When it comes to linking to other websites, just make sure you link to sites or pages that help your visitors attain their goals. For example, it’s okay to link to a blog post, which often links to dozens of helpful articles and studies.
However, on service pages and your homepage, make sure to link to other sites with caution, because that service page might just be used to convert your visitors to leads which favor the others!
In summary, the principles of good web design help to create websites that are truly customer-centric. They are designed to provide the information that site visitors are looking for, and the information is presented in an interesting and organized manner. They also let the site visitors see the real you (or the real company), which ultimately builds trust and confidence!
And, in an information-saturated world, your website’s visitors are likely to be impatient, or in a hurry. This means that if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, then they’ll move on! So, put your site visitor’s wants and needs first as you create the site content, and watch your conversion rates rise to the heavens!