Written by members of Lions Digital Agency
Websites are one of the most effective tools to communicate what your business offers to millions of visitors online. That is why it is very important to make your website stand out. There are two additional reasons to make sure your website has the highest quality.
First, if you give your visitors a great experience on your website, they stick around longer and are more likely to convert into paying customers. Second, we want Google to know that your website has high-quality content and to pick up on the indicators that your customers are truly engaging with it. Your site needs to please both your visitors and the search engines.
Our website design tips and principles will help you make your website stand out and still look like it was designed by a professional.
People don’t read. They scan a website.
- Keep your website very visual to generate feelings, which, at the end, is what people buy.
- Show don’t tell; Use more pictures and videos than words to help visitors understand more about your service or product. If you are using stock images, select them carefully so they look more natural and not too obvious. Keep a consistent and cohesive image tone in all your website pictures.
- Avoid slides. Customers won’t wait for images to slide; they just scroll down. Reduce full sizes of images so the page is quick to load. You can use tools such as “tinyPNG.com” to do so.
- Don’t forget to include some videos as well. Videos will help your visitors stay longer on your site, which is a good signal for Google.
- People trust people, not websites. So, to gain the trust of future customers, include a nice picture of yourself to show a little bit of the real-life person behind the website.
- Use white or negative space to let your website breathe. You can do that by making your sentences and paragraphs include bullet lists and breaking up the content. Create easy readability. You write to engage and inform, not to impress. Use simple and conversational words. Remember: show more, speak less.
- When it comes to fonts, don’t worry about having very artistic fonts. Choose popular fonts that are understandable and clear. You can use up to three different fonts along with your website. But it is recommended to use italic and bold format for important headlines and titles. For informational text (not titles) use a font such as SANS SERIF font as it is easier to read on a screen.
- Consider a single-color palette and stick to it along your website. Select one to two key colors (from your logo for example) and two additional shades of black and white for background and text.
- Choose two content widths to keep your website visually organized and professional. The suggested measures are 1100px for wide and 960px for narrow.
- Very important: Make your website mobile friendly. It should work on phones. Test it by loading your website on your phone. It shouldn’t look like the desktop version. It should be a version that fits your phone, meaning you don’t need to pinch and zoom. Your visitors are spending more time on mobile devices than computers, and that is where they are most likely to access your website.
Usability over Design.
- Very few pages are as important to a small business’ website than their home page. It is the entry point for your visitors into your business. For this reason, you need to create that good first impression and entice people to stay on your website.
- Offer clear navigation and accessible information to your customers. Focus on the product and service that you sell the most and introduce it with one main image and one strong headline and message. Then, describe the benefits that you offer to customers through images or icons and a simple and straightforward list of your business’ features.
- The navigation menu should be easy to use with simple and conventional titles, no more than seven tabs. Ask friends for feedback on navigation. People should find what they look for on your website with no more than three clicks.
Little details. Big difference.
- Use a custom domain and email address; this is a very noticeable distinction from a professional site and a not-so-professional one. For example: “yourbiz.squarespace.com” doesn’t look as professional as “yourbiz.com”. And for your email address, email@example.com looks much better than firstname.lastname@example.org. You can purchase your domain from websites like “namecheap.com” or “godaddy.com” for $10 to $15 per year and your custom email as an add-on from these websites, or you can sign up for “G suite” by Google which is $5 per month.
- Upload a custom favicon: a favicon is a small logo at the top of your browser window. Although it is small, it has a big impact on how professional your website appears. If you leave it blank, then the icon of the company you used to build your website is going to appear, which can confuse your visitors. You will either need a small version of your logo, take a part of it like the first letter of your business name, or the graphic part of your logo. You can use any of these options and turn them into your favicon.
- Limit the number of ads on your site: flashy ads can both date and clutter your site. There are better ways to make money online now. If you must keep them, be selective about which ones you show, and put them on your sidebar, not header.
Remember that you build a website to help you accomplish your business goals, whether it’s to increase sales, generate leads, or get people to sign up for a publication. Once you have set a goal, it will be easier to make decisions about how to design your ideal website.