Websites have come a long way over the last 20 years, what might have worked well back in 1998 would no longer cut it in such a competitive and technology driven time as today. Gone are the days of tasteless over the top graphics, pop ups and Times New Roman and in are the days of simple, practical websites produced with the user in mind.
A half built, barely functional website often won’t drive the same success as a fully functional, well thought out website. In fact a successful website is made up of a number of elements, from design features such as colours and fonts, to functional elements such as your navigation, device compatibility and load times. If you’re looking to build the perfect website for your business, then it’s important to consider every factor.
But what makes a good website? here’s our tips for creating a beautiful, user friendly website that won’t leave you, or your visitors disappointed.
Functionality & Usability
Every element of your website should work well, a broken, poorly constructed or incorrect website can often leave your customers feel frustrated and untrusting of your business. Your aim should be to create a website that works as expected, which includes working links, contact forms and searching, helping your visitors get to whatever they need to and ultimately allowing them to use your site for it’s intended purpose.
Your site needs to be both functional and usable, creating a great user experience and giving your customers a reason to return to your business. Let’s look at some of the key elements you should include:
Every page of your website should have a clear purpose, be it to tell your visitors about your brand, to sell your products to your customers or to give your visitors the opportunity to get in touch with you. Ask yourself what your visitors will be looking for from your business and aim to create pages that will apply to these needs, instead of creating too many or too few pages for your site, which could effect how people view and interact with your website, resulting in them heading elsewhere to find the exact information they are looking for.
Your website visitors want information quickly which is why it’s so important to communicate with your visitors clearly, making your information both easy to read and easy to digest. By organising your website into headings and subheadings, organising information in a certain way and even using bullet points to shorten paragraphs, you can cut down on how much text you’re using, giving your visitors a much better browsing experience.
From links to your homepage to links to your product page, your navigation is essentially how your visitors get around your website and is a huge factor in building an effective website. Even if you have the most beautiful, creative website in the world, if your visitors aren’t able to access that information or get sent to other content instead of the intended, your website can be viewed as a failure. By creating a clear navigation, with links to the correct pages in as few clicks as possible, you can offer your website visitors a much easier way of browsing your site.
With millions of people per day using mobile devices to browse the web, these days it’s commonplace for websites to all be mobile and tablet friendly. If you’re not already using a responsive layout, then you need to get started, by only having a desktop site you could be missing out on a huge audience who are using mobile devices, as well as potentially getting penalised by Google, who have been putting mobile first for a number of years now.
Quick Loading Time
Nobody wants a slow website, especially your customers, which is why it’s so important to make sure your website is loading within a matter of seconds. Your customers aren’t going to sit and wait for your website to load when they can simply head elsewhere at the click of a button. By optimising your image sizes, making sure your code is running properly and making sure any videos or audio aren’t harming your load time you can optimise your loading time, giving your visitors a great, speedy, experience.
Not only should your website be functional and usable but it should also be visually appealing, professional and should ultimately reflect the values of your company. Your website is often the first impression your visitors get of your brand, so it’s important you make the best impression possible, in order to keep your audience captivated and keep your visitors on your website.
If you’re looking to keep your audience happy, generate a better impression and keep your business looking as professional as possible, here’s how you can keep your business attracting the right attention:
A well thought out colour scheme can go a long way to give your visitors the best experience. With a complementary colour palette, that includes one or two primary colours you can create an experience that will be easier on the eye, fits the mood and tone of your business, as well as one that fits in with your branding and brand identity. While you shouldn’t overdo the colour, as it can distract from your text and imagery, colour is a huge part of your website design and is something that needs to be considered before being implemented.
Your website needs to be eye-catching! Don’t forget that your images can say a lot about your company and including the right images in your website can play a huge role in the visual appeal and the overall success of your website. Especially important for retailers and brands offering services, by including high quality, professional images and stock photography you can really lift the look of your website, creating a much more professional and high quality website, helping you communicate with your audience much more effectively.
Your fonts and typography can fall under both the appearance and functionality, making them a hugely important element of your website. Your visitors want to be able to read your content, which is why you need to consider which fonts and font sizes will work effectively for your site. Don’t forget the importance of using sans serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica and Verdana, all of which are easy to read online as they don’t feature decorative elements.
One of the most recent and biggest trends in web design is a simple design that offers valuable content, great images, a practical layout and an overall attractive design. Made popular by the likes of Apple, with large images, white space and thin fonts, a simple design works effectively on desktop devices as well as mobile and tablet devices, letting your reach out to a huge audience. Keeping your site simple and well organised can be all it takes to keep reaching new audiences and engaging your current one.
A good website grabs your attention, evoking emotions and encourages you to stay longer, browsing different pages in order to find the information you need. While it might seem like a simple task, building an effective website takes a lot of planning and plenty of consideration.
Have you got a website that needs optimising? Or perhaps you’re looking to build the perfect site from the get go? With these tips you can be running a more engaging, informative and memorable website that is likely to achieve the results you really want in no time!