Designing an effective website requires you to be thoughtful and develop a clear strategy.
Atomic design refers to breaking down websites into bits that need to be designed to create a simplified and strategic approach to development, and we’re here to help you do just that.
Here is our checklist of the top 10 best practices you need to consider when it comes to website design
1. Design with your target audience in mind
Before you dive into designing your website, take a moment to consider your target audience.
The idea is to put yourself in their shoes - if you needed to buy one of your products, what would you want the website to look like? Take into consideration demographics like age, income, location, and more when you develop your design.
For example, if you target millennials, consider adding interactive tools or short videos to your website. They want an immersive experience - if they see paragraphs of text, they will run in the opposite direction!
2. Create a Style Guide – and Stick to It
If you think that developing a style guide for fonts and colours is less important than the actual content on your page, think again.
Stanford’s Web Credibility Research Report found that over 75% of buyers will judge a company’s credibility based on its website design. Viewers look at the visual aspects of your website and use that information to make a quick judgment.
So, make sure you make the right first impression!
Creating a style guide will help you choose a website colour scheme of three to four colours that best represent your brand. Think about the brands we know and love - Starbucks is always associated with green, and Target with red. This is not an accident!
The goal is to design a cohesive website. When a viewer comes across your page, they should be able to identify the image style, font style, and colours as belonging to your brand. The style guide will also ensure that everyone who works on building your website is on the same page.
3. Consistent Messaging is Essential
Any good website is going to have more than just a landing page. Make sure that the messaging and branding are consistent no matter which links viewers click!
Instead of coming up with five variations of a call-to-action for each landing page, focus on developing one that works. Once you have it, use it consistently across your website -there is no need to change it each time.
If your users see the phrase ‘click to purchase’ on every single page, a subconscious reinforcement will occur. When you keep changing up the language, this doesn't happen.
4. Keep Navigation Intuitive and User-Friendly
According to research conducted by the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), 77% of agencies feel that their clients' main weakness is poor website design. This means that most organizations struggle to optimize their sites to enhance the user experience, and their KPIs suffer as a result.
Most users will be less likely to return to your website after a bad experience but keeping the navigation intuitive and user-friendly can help you address this issue!
Avoid overly complex design features and make it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for. Have you ever noticed that most major websites place the shopping cart in the top right corner? At this point, it is so common that it feels weird when it's not there - don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to!
The major takeaway here is that if users struggle to navigate your website, they will find what they need elsewhere. Eliminate unnecessary menu options and go for the simple choice whenever possible.
5. Focus on SEO Optimization
If you want your target audience to be able to find your website, you need to focus on SEO optimization. Everything you post should link back to SEO and the keywords your customers are using when searching for your products.
Your website should have working backlinks and a domain name that makes sense for your organization. Creating an XML sitemap that makes it easier for search engines to review your webpages can also help boost your rankings!
While you may not feel like having an ‘about us’ or ‘contact us’ page is essential, having them can set you apart when it comes to SEO rankings.
6. Don’t Underestimate the Effectiveness of White Space
It is important not to underestimate the effectiveness of white space on your website. While adding images and a beautiful colour scheme can help, avoid overcrowding your pages.
White space makes your website look clean unless overwhelming, which will help users stay engaged and retain the information that you want them to.
7. Make your Call-to-Action Pop!
When you consider where to place your call-to-action, make sure it pops off the page!
Don't bury one of the most crucial aspects of your web design. Use big, bold lettering and powerful colours so that viewers can easily identify it as the next action they should take.
If it takes longer than a few seconds to find the CTA button, you're doing it wrong. It should be visible on every single webpage and should indicate what your visitors need to do next. Getting this part of your website design right can significantly boost conversions and drive revenue.
8. Compress Images to Boost Site Performance
Although images and embedded videos can help make your website functional and aesthetically pleasing, they can also bog down its speed.
According to Adobe, almost half of your users will leave your page if it takes too long to load, or the images are not displaying properly.
Compressing the image files will help you speed up load times without compromising the quality of your images. If you're including videos, embed the code on your site but host it on a third-party platform like YouTube. This will keep it from slowing down your page
9. Mobile Compatibility is Key
A website with mobile compatibility is key to your success because 87% of people will use their device to search online each day.
If you want to make your website functional and aesthetically appealing on a mobile device, make sure that you integrate responsive design. This means that your webpages will adapt to any device used to browse your site, so this screen orientation and aspect ratios are optimized.
Allowing customers to shop from their mobile devices will significantly increase your chances of success while also boosting your brand's credibility.
10. Run A/B Tests for Continuous Improvement
An A/B test involves creating two versions of a website and performing user testing to see which one works best. No website is perfect, so continuously running these types of checks will help you improve and figure out what is working – and most importantly, what needs to be fixed.
For instance, you can test out two variations of your call to action to see which one drives more conversions. Consider testing the location of the CTA button and the images you're using on each page too!
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into designing the perfect website. The good news is, there is an easier way! At OPIN Digital, we specialize in building custom website solutions to help your company maximize its online presence.
Contact us today to learn more