We know that a good campaign is bound to bring people to my website. However, with the focus so much on bringing people to the site and conversions talked in rather abstract terms, let’s get down to one of the key parameters that decide whether the visitor will stay on the site and ultimately buy or whether they will leave without biting. That parameter is web design. People hire site developers, graphic designers, and content writers to create their website when in reality they should be hiring a web designer. Web designing anyways encompasses both graphic designing and content development. However, it also goes much further than that. When you hire a designer, he/she will also design your website layout and bring all components together in the most seamless manner possible. A web designer is often either part of or closely working with the developer to create the website, and is as such the most important person in the team.
Just like everything else, web designing has a specific grammar, grammar which gets tweaked over time, but always aims for customer attention. Website design is more a selling tool than what many might realize. It has been proven time and again that website design can actually make as much as 30% difference in conversions. In this article, we are going to cover some of the technical aspects while designing a website, while also mentioning some notable good practices that you can use to make the website more attractive to the visitor.
Most good CRO and SEO audits will point these aspects out. I have listed what I feel the most important ones below. The most critical technical aspects that go into creating a good website are:
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1. Site Speed:
If your site speed, especially while loading, is slow, visitors WILL LEAVE. The internet generation is an impatient one. Google itself has made website speed as a ranking factor. Ideally, any webpage must load within 6 seconds. Why 6 seconds? Because that’s the average threshold of an average user, after which they will move on. Ensure that the website is bereft of elements which can increase loading times of its webpages. Too much data and heavy images/videos on any webpage slow it down, taking greater time to load. Compress images, remove unnecessary data and make your website clean and simple.
2. The first fold is critical:
The first fold of the homepage or for that matter any webpage is the hero in the equation. It is your biggest asset and as such must be good enough to have the visitor hooked. Often, I have seen businesses follow this rule on PPC landing pages, but fail to implement it on their actual website. Guys, you must treat each and every page, especially your homepage as a PPC landing page. The first fold should have enough value propositions to encourage the customer to explore further.
3. Make the visitor scroll and not click:
While designing websites, the thing that all designers must keep in mind is that a lion’s share of browsing and internet access happens on handheld devices, devices with touch screens. By their very nature, touchscreens are easier to scroll than click on. Hence users also prefer content and pages where they can scroll down. The user experience is important as it is a huge factor in a user staying or going from a website. Avoid carousels, sliders, tabs, and accordions. They might look great, but they are extremely difficult for the user to navigate on a handheld device.
4. Reduce choices:
People keep saying how great diversity is. Well, in social diversity is terrific, in website designing, not so much. Having too many choices only confuses the consumer, who ends up not buying due to not being able to make up his/her mind. Keep the website simple with as few tabs as possible. Ensure that the user stays as much as possible on the homepage. Reduce the number of fields on the form, have a single CTA button and implement uniformity across the site/page. It is always better to stick to one motto, one goal on any given page.
5. Find and Fix 404’s as much as possible before launching:
Before launching, test the hell out of the website and find and fix as many errors as possible, especially the extremely annoying 404’s. Errors are a great turn off for a customer and they don’t just bring down the overall user experience, but also create doubts in the minds of the consumers about the website and the service/product it headlines.
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1. Keep it clean:
Don’t be afraid of white space. Content must be justified, and not just fill up space. Users like a website which is to the point and has a clean look. These load faster too!
2. Create good content:
Content speaks on your behalf. While the entire website helps, it is the content that makes the sale. Keep content original, simple and easily palatable. What’s easy to read is also easy to trust. It is also a good practice to present your content as a list. Lists are better absorbed by visitors and you have a greater chance of getting through.
3. Use Visual Cues:
Humans are intelligent, yes. But it helps if you provide visual cues. Simple visual cues will help you guide the visitors’ attention to exactly where you want. Visual cues can range from simple arrow forms to actual photos of babies or people looking in a specific direction.
4. Avoid stock images:
Images are part of your content, and your content needs to be original. Avoid using stock photography and invest in getting your own photos clicked.
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Off course, all this is easier said than done and it is impossible for someone with no experience in designing websites to have these implemented. That’s why the safe thing to do is hire a designer straightaway. In case you are facing budgetary constraints, you can also look at dedicated designers in India too since India has a huge domestic market itself and a majority of their web designers will have hands-on experience executing versatile projects. There are agencies which offer a package deal of designing, content and digital marketing. For businesses whose core competencies don’t lie in this direction, hiring such agencies can only prove beneficial.
This article is written by John Tie. He works for Virtual Employee, remote staffing agency, offering affordable and scalable remote staffing solutions for mainly Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) around the world in over 150 domains. He is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring the latest trends about outsourcing offshoring, remote staffing, virtual employment.
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