Designing an efficient website is a tricky and challenging task, however very essential in today’s ever changing world. Gone are the days where the only thing you had to do is just put some photos and links on a website and go live.
Great websites are designed around user behaviour, focus on solving a problem and above all play a vital role in the entire digital marketing strategy.
Effective website development requires collaboration of all departments within a business; everyone needs to understand that the online presence is another huge distribution channel and not just a nice to have initiative.
However, it does not have to be complicated and costly. Simplicity always win.
So, here are 9 website elements that proved to work very well
I am pretty sure that majority of us want to live in a clean and neat house, with things being in order and easy to find, latest trends show that modern houses adopt minimalism, with fewer furniture and plenty of empty space.
The exact same principles apply to a web design. Do you remember Excite? Well, yeah not really sure what the site is all about, tons of links and banners that make me confused.
See Google’s home page, I know the reason I am here and it is just one, search, no disruption, no crap.
It is just human nature to like cleanness and beauty, things being in order and easy to find. Avoid flashy banners that destruct users, less is more.
Having a person who understands user experience is vital, not everyone can create a website with content hierarchy and be able to communicate what the goals are. If your team does not have such a member, hire someone.
Convincing proposition & good copywriting
This is probably one of the most important elements of a great web site, make visitors understand when they land at your website what is in for them. Targeted business proposition is essential to increasing your website conversions. What exactly does your business do? What problem do you solve?
With the support of personalization technologies, you are able to localize content based on your website country of origin, hence not showing the same content to all your visitors.
Furthermore, use copy that is easy to read and be understood. Avoid jargons and complicated words. It is wise to hire a professional to craft compelling web copy that clearly articulates your business benefits and what problems you are solving.
Use emotions and make your audience get connected with your brand.
I used to believe that humans use their logic to make decisions; hence, a bad design is fine as long as you have a great product. Well, I was wrong; humans never use logic but emotions and vision.
What are the chances of a beautiful woman to be spotted and be remembered? Many, I can promise you that, the same principle applies to businesses and websites.
It is human nature to like beauty, so make sure your website design is attractive. You do not need to spend thousands, but do not be stingy.
Not to be misunderstood, a great product cannot be replaced by a great design but when they are both in place the combination becomes highly lucrative.
Find a good and reliable website design agency or freelancer. The worst thing you can do is go for the cheapest options. Worse case, if you cannot get a custom made design, get a readymade template and do some minor adjustments to fit your brand identity.
Clear calls to action
Another much undervalued aspect of a great website is its calls to action. What do you want me to do once I arrive at your website? Buy your product? Sign up for a free trial? Book a room? Subscribe to your newsletter?
You need to make this as clear as possible at all pages, not just the homepage. Every single page needs to have its own calls to action and it needs to be ONE. The more things you ask users to do the lower the chances they will do any, so stick to just one and make it very obvious.
Use split testing tools to experiment and see what text to use on your calls to action. A/B testing allows you to show two different versions of your calls to action and decide which one to use best on the highest click through rate.
Amazing & targeted photos
As the Chinese proverb says” One picture is worth ten thousand words” so, do not be stingy with your photography as it changes the entire perception of your website and brand. Images must not only be great but also targeted and try to sell the benefits of your product or service.
For example, a website for a gym club needs to have photos of extremely fit and beautiful individuals of its members, so those who interested to join will say “hell I want to look the same like this dude “
Avoid using stock photos unless they do not scream “I have been used gazillion times”. These days does not cost a lot of money to take great photos, hire freelancers or photography students who would be more than willing to build up their portfolio.
However, if you do not have an option but get stock photos, avoid the free options. Get a subscription at Shutterstock, and find photos that have not been over used.
Whether we like it or not, a great website requires fast loading speed. Do not try to save some money on your website hosting, if you require fast speed and reliability go for a dedicated server or hook up on the cloud.
With hosting prices going so low, I would totally exclude signing up for shared hosting anymore. Ask your hosting provider if they provide CDN services, this technology stores your website images in various cloud locations across the globe so no matter where your visitors access your website big files load fast.
Below are few good and reliable website hosting providers worth taking a look.
Runs on response design
If you are not aware about responsive design, then you better be. Responsive design is an approach that allows optimal viewer experience across all devices, laptop, desktop, mobile and tablets.
In other words, you do not need a different mobile site, all it is required is a change in your design CSS. The great thing about responsive design is that it allows seamless design across all devices.
With mobile traffic exceeding desktop, you do not have an option but run on a mobile optimized website.
Google recently announced the Mobile-first indexing. What it basically means is that the mobile version of your website will be indexed first and it will be used as the baseline to determine its ranking. As you can see, with the world moving into mobile businesses are left with no option but follow or risk left behind.
Run on robust CMS and use personalization technology
Although your customers will not be able to see this or really get a feeling of the entire process, the last thing you want is to run in an outdated CMS that takes ages to manage content.
Modern CMS allow you to create website with proper hierarchy, load content quickly and provide personalization experience. As just mentioned previously, you need to be able to tailor your content based on your audience behaviour and preferences.
Do you still show the same content to all your website visitors? You do not need to do this anymore, most of modern content management systems do provide personalization options so that you can tailor various website elements on your visitors’ behaviour.
For instance, you may want to have a “Welcome back” messages for returning visitors or be even more adventurous and localize the “Welcome back “message in various languages.
The more personalised the content is the higher the changes your visitors will feel closer to their identity and convert.
Collect visitors’ data
I do not mean cookies here, although these are very important to support your retargeting tactics, modern websites need to collect their visitors’ data by making them sign up in any form of a membership.
This can support hugely your entire digital marketing strategy and help you base a loyal customer base.
Think of few reasons why someone would like to be part of your website membership program. It could be better prices, free delivery or even fastest customer support, regardless, this makes them feel part of a closed community, hence better brand connection.
The more personal data you collect from them, the more personalized and targeted your marketing becomes. Why do you think Facebook wants everyone to sign up for an account before engaging with any content?
The most important asset to your business is its people, hire passionate individuals who are willing to try new things and grow together with the organisation.
Designing effective websites in 2018 is critical, however, essential to increase conversion rates and build an authentic brand. Put in place a realistic plan, allocate your resources and always execute having in mind your customers.