In today’s digital age, practically everything and anything happens online, which is why a dedicated website is a must for any startup business. If you think that a Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram share is enough to market and sustain your small business, you better think again, because you’re most likely missing out on the many opportunities that a dedicated website can offer.
A dedicated website is a central or focal point in marketing your business, and it can provide a better opportunity to connect and engage with potential and regular customers. It is also an excellent way to showcase your products and services, rather than solely relying on social media to do the job. If you’re thinking about setting up a dedicated website for your business, then this article is for you.
This post will tackle the ten best practices for web design that you need to know. It will also briefly tackle the standards that are being followed by web designers, so you will have an idea on how to go about it properly.
10 Best Practices For Designing Your Website
Keep it simple – Your website will reflect your brand and its aesthetics. Consider a fresh, eye-catching design, especially on your homepage. Pre-made or existing design templates may do the job, but they rank a bit low on uniqueness. Chances are you may have chosen a template that is already used by thousands of other websites. You should consider a fresh, unique look for your website in order to create a good first impression on customers. Try not to overload the customer with too much information or images, which can be overwhelming for first-time customer. Keep it simple, direct, and engaging — with the most important information highlighted on your web page.
Show off your brand – Your homepage should showcase your brand in a neat and professional way, so make sure it is aligned with your brand message and what you want your customers to know or discover about your brand. Product photos, graphic images, and descriptions should be clear and appropriate. Select the best products shots and take it from there. Again, do not make the mistake of overloading your website with too many images — Keep it uncluttered and feature only the best ones.
Load pages fast – Load times have a huge impact on conversion — after all, people are impatient when it comes to browsing, and they only read about 28% of texts during website visits. Pay attention to hardware infrastructure and bandwidth to make sure they are sufficient enough for your website loading requirements, especially if your site has a lot of videos and graphics. Also, pick a good website host to ensure that your website will run efficiently at all times.
Make it accessible – Design and navigation of your website should be consistent, with a similar overall layout and design. Pay attention to details such as site load times for those with slower internet connections, or website viewers with color blindness — this may also have an impact on potential customers. Consider the various disabilities or disadvatages your users may have and how you can make it easier for them to use.
Tweak for a stronger User Experience – A website should be structured to ensure easy navigation, with information presented in an orderly manner. Customers typically look for specific information while browsing. Headlines and small texts are likely to be scanned or skipped off — Customers look at the entire page and focus on images or graphics. Fonts and bullets should be easy to read, and bold letters are preferred for texts that you want to be highlighted. It is also important to note that search engines have a preference for websites that are properly structured and organized.
Develop Strong and Relevant Content – Web content should up-to-date. Ensure that your information and images are fresh and current. You may want to visit and study successful competitors just to see how they present their products or services. Take a look at web design standards or guidelines to see if your website is updated, or aligned with visitor expectations.
Don’t forget about Web Development – Web design and web development are two different things. Each one requires different skill sets so you may wish to hire different people to do the job properly. Developers typically specialize in frontend or backend work. Frontend developers focus on what customers or clients want to see on your website, while the backend ones concentrate on server and database interaction.
Find a memorable URL – It would be best to find a URL that matches your brand or business. A domain is a good way to access your website easily. If this is not feasible, then an alternative URL that includes the name of your business or complements it will do just fine.
Optimize for SEM and SEO – Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization make take up a lot of time to learn and monitor, but they can certainly provide marketing advantages particularly for small businesses. There are numerous web references and articles that tackle SEO and SEM, so it would be great to brush up on those to take advantage of these highly specialized fields.
Design for responsiveness and ease of use – Responsive web design provides better access and user experience for customers as it allows for efficient web viewing regardless of the device a customer is using. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Responsiveness requires both design and programming, so make sure that it is incorporated in your website in the initial stages of development. It would be difficult to add it to a site that’s already built.
Additional Resources and Information
So there you have it. It is essential to learn the best practices of web design to ensure that your website meets industry standards, and to provide a better user experience that will, hopefully, translate to better conversions and help your business grow and become more successful. For more information on web design, development, and digital marketing, please visit the Arcalea blog.