Stop what you are doing! Why waste time searching online for ‘web design best practices’ when we have done all of the hard work for you?
Here is our take on a web design checklist for best practice. We have taken the time to go over the elements of each of your web pages, making sure that when you pass the project to your web designer, they take care of every part of it effectively. Professional web designers will do this automatically, but it is always good that you are proactive, knowing not only what they will do but what needs to be done. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of web design best practices because when things are done right, your conversion rates will soon be on the up.
Here are the key things that need to be considered:
- Know your audience
If you don’t know your audience, how can your web designer create pages that they will respond to? Think about what they would be looking for in terms of not only product but the navigational experience, and web layout. A clever way to do this is to create a profile i.e. your buyer persona. With your persona in mind (give them a name too!), start to think about layout and features that will pull them in. Make notes as you brainstorm this, increasing your understanding of what makes them tick.
- Compressed images
Is your audience attracted to large, high resolution unique images that stand out and catch the eye? If this is key, think carefully about compressing the images in order speed up the site. JPEG is a good image format to use as even when its compressed, it won’t lose out on quality. HubSpot tells us that people can recall as much of 65% of information seen visually for up to 72hrs, but only 10% of information they have heard. Also, 37% of the population are visual learners, so great photos will take you a long way as far as your brand is concerned.
- Crystal clear content layout
What would your buyer persona want? Lots of text or mainly images? Also think about choice of font and how it will look when viewed on a mobile. It goes without saying that your site should be responsive and easy to view on any type of device.
- Don’t go overboard and clutter
Leaving whitespace can be powerful so don’t go crazy with either images or text. It might feel odd to begin with, leaving space empty, but having too many distractions on your page is a negative. Humans have an attention span of only 8 seconds, so page layouts need to be designed to grab their attention quickly and keep it there.
- Keep the CTAs minimal
CTAs (Call To Actions) are vital but too many is overkill. Focus on putting them only on the relevant pages and don’t fill up side bars with them as this can be annoying and off-putting.
- Be consistent
Be sure that all pages look similar and have something in common. Make the mistake of adding in a page that looks very different and viewers will be confused and even put off. Keep the layout the same as well as design themes.
- Fix on your buyer persona
Think about ‘Fred’ or ‘Freda’, your buyer persona and ensure that they are at the core of your website strategy. Construct the design and layout to suit them, ensuring a strong engagement. Do plenty of research to be sure of your ideal buyer’s likes and dislikes. Once you understand their needs clearly, your web page layout can be designed with them in mind, ensuring engagement. 48% of people think that website design is the No. 1 factor when calculating business credibility. If yours is bad, your buyers will be put off; something you do not want at any cost.
- Loading time speed
If your page takes just one extra second to load, sales can drop by as much as 27%! Your web designer will probably work to a loading time of something like two seconds as 47% of visitors expect your website to be loaded within this time. 40% of them will leave if it takes more than three seconds. Page loading times therefore need to be minimal.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO increases the number of visitors to your site by making sure that you rank highly when it comes to the search engine results page (SERP). This is done by reading your keywords that are sprinkled throughout your content. Taking care of SEO is crucial and something that all website designers can attend to, so make sure that yours does.
- Simple navigation
Your customers need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Loading should be speedy and navigation clear. By optimising the experience for your viewers, you will be making a hugely positive difference. Identify the most important pages and make them the easiest to access. Also limit your menu bar to a maximum of six options; 88% of sites have the main navigation bar in the header at the top of each page. A search bar is also a necessity and make sure that your contact details are easy to see. Adding a button that takes viewers back to the top will also save them wasted back-clicking time.
- Email marketing
77% of people prefer to receive marketing via email, rather than another form. Make sure that your website’s email capture form syncs with your email system seamlessly. Also make the email sign-up box easy for your customers to find, usually placing it in the header or footer.
- Social media
72% of websites have a social media icon in their footer. Make sure that you do the same in order to get the most amount of traffic heading towards your site. One thing to note is that by sending your viewers away from your website and to your social media sites, your traffic will lessen a little and bounce rates may go up; by putting the icon in the footer, you are making use of clever psychological tactics as your customers should have already been through the site and found the icon just as they are about to leave anyway. This way your metrics will not be so badly skewed.
- Focus on your brand
This means your colours and general personality. Also make content easy to read and the site visually appealing.
Making use of the web design best practices is not hard, particularly if you work with an experienced website creator. They will already know what to do so you must push them in the direction of your brand as well as your customer persona. By following our checklist and adhering to these clever marketing practices, the impact on your business will be hugely positive.
On a final note, we will leave you with the statistic that 94% of people have referred to web design as the key reason they rejected a website. Make use of these web design best practices and you won’t be one of them!