Essential elements of a good website design.
A few weeks ago I sat in an interview with a potential client. One of the interview questions they asked was “what makes a good website design?” I was thrown off a little by this question but eventually answered it in the best possible way I could. Here’s the short version answer to this question. A good website design tells visitors who you are, what you do and what you can do for them. If your website’s design is not set up with these answers then failure is lurking. Your website design should also resonate with your visitors – appeal to their eyes and guide them with ease. Your website should also be optimized to be found in search engines and be viewed properly on multiple devices.
1. A stunning home page
Your website’s homepage is the virtual front door for your business. If the front-door is broken and has cracks and dirt, your visitors start forming opinions about you. They might not walk away immediately but will certain not want to pursue doing business with you. If, however, a new visitor to your website, doesn’t like what they see, their initial reaction is to hit the “back” button. Yes, a lot of people online do “judge a book by its cover”.
An attractive homepage can entice your visitors to stay longer on your site and explore other pages. Your homepage welcomes your audience to your site and tells them what you want them to do next or discover more. The goal obviously, is not just to “wow” your visitors, but to have them convert into customers. Your homepage is that foot in the door that will help customers discover more of what you can do for them. Therefore, make sure you leave an impression that is lasting and enticing to potential customers.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The first place that people online ask questions to find answers is Google or any preferred search engine. Chances are that whenever you wanted to find information about something online, you’d use a search engine. The first few search results that gave you the answer you were looking for were optimized for that. This is what you should be doing for your website – Optimizing your site to be the right solution for your customers. Employing tactics on your website to increase traffic from search engines is what is known as Search Engine Optimization. A good website design is set up with the right content and keywords to be easily found in search engines.
There’s a number of elements that can help you succeed in Search Engine Optimization. Good search engine optimization involves having the right Keywords that people would search for online. Your Meta-Title and Meta Description are both critical as they both appear in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Also, having alternative titles/tags in your images with the Keywords you’d want to rank for helps in your SEO ranking. Google Search Engine was created from the idea that every website online is linked to another – The World Wide Web. This is a crucial part for your website. In your SEO strategy, always ensure that your site has backlinks to help boost your ranking. These backlinks could be traffic from Social Media, directories or other websites.
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3. Website load speed
Website visitors expect your website to load fast, if not, they are gone and will possibly never return. Business owners should know that a slow website can cost the business money and may damage its reputation. “Why is that so?” You may ask. If your competitors also have a website, they are just a click away from yours. You’ll do well to ensure you have a website that loads faster than your competitors. A rule of thumb for a good website design is to aim for a load speed of 3 seconds or less. 50% of website visitors are likely to abandon your website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. That’s a staggering drop of potential sales and revenue.
However, when your website loads fast, your visitors are likely to stick around, read your content and possibly convert. Visitors to your website will have a better user experience that will positively impact your marketing and sales process. More organic traffic to your website will also increase helping your website rank top in search engines. In 2018 Google announced that load speed, especially for mobile search is now a huge factor for ranking. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your website is not heavy with code scripts and big high-resolution pictures. Pagespeed Insights is a tool you can use to check your site’s speed and get advice on how you can optimize it.
4. A good website design has a mobile first approach
The number of people accessing the Internet on the phone has grown over the last few years. As of June, 2019, StatCounter shows that mobile phones accounts for 68% of Internet users in Zambia. This growth has mainly been attributed to the ever increasing number of smartphones penetrating the market. Therefore, it makes business sense to have a good website design that is responsive. A responsive website is one whose content and pages are flexible across all screen resolutions and devices. It doesn’t matter if you’re viewing the website on a laptop, tablet or phone. If the design is responsive, its content will be unified and be easy to navigate despite the differences in screen size. Your visitors will then have a better user experience without resizing or scrolling too much to find content on your site. This in turn increases the likelihood of having more conversions.
source: StatCounter Global Stats – Platform Comparison Market Share
5. Having the right Call-to-Action (CTA)
Whatever you’d like to achieve with your marketing or advertising, you’d not do it without the right Call-to-Action (CTA). A CTA is an instruction to your audience designed to guide them to take the next step on your website. It is usually in a form of a button or link. Here’s a few Call-to-Action examples in everyday life:
“Call this number for help”
Not having any or the right CTAs can be detrimental to the success of your website and ultimately your business. You might have a killer Ad copy but without a CTA that seals the deal, leads, conversions and sales will not come. Marketers, therefore, need to pay close attention to also having CTAs that convert. This, however, is not just catchy phrases that you may get tempted to craft. You’ll also need to think about the colors and fonts of the link or the button being used. The font used and colors of the both the buttons and text can influence a user’s decision. The call-to-action buttons or links need to be distinct from your website theme colors.
Your CTAs positioning also matters as one scrolls through your website either on the phone or desktop. Space out the CTAs per screen (if needed) and ensure that you don’t confuse your visitors with what action to take. A good practice is to have one Call-to-Action per page.
Other Notable elements of a good website design
There you have it. Those are the essential elements we consider for a good website design. Obviously, more exist like tracking and reporting tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, etc. Also, having content that provides value to your customers is essential. It might seem trivial but always make it easy for your visitors to contact you through your website.
I hope this article was helpful. Let me know in the comment section what other elements you’d consider to have a successful website.