Visual appeal is crucial in web design, but it is possible to lose yourself in the look of a business website and forget about other important factors.
A good website needs to be functional, easy to navigate and contain all of the information a potential customer might need in order to make a purchase or further enquiries. If it doesn’t have these things, no stylish design features or faddy visual trends will make a user stick around.
To ensure your company’s website balances art and graphics with information and user-friendly functionality, bear the following in mind:
- What is the customer looking for? If you can use tools like Google Analytics to find out where your website visitors are coming from, the pages they visit and how long they stay on each page, you can gain a good understanding of what customers are looking for when they visit your website.
- Answer their questions. What you should discover from the research and analysis you’ve carried out is that visitors are nearly always looking for information. If you can find out what they want to know, you can answer their questions. This could be prices, images of products or work completed, location or contact information – all of which you need to be providing.
- Build trust. Web users are generally a very suspicious bunch, so your website needs to win and keep their trust – com has some very useful tips for gaining customers’ trust online.
- Keep the quality high. Don’t make the mistake of packing your website content with keywords, with no regard for the quality of the writing. Savvy web users know poor quality content when they see it, and it’s never a good sign of a trustworthy company offering a quality service.
- Update regularly. It’s very good both from a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) point of view and a customer perspective to regularly update your website with fresh content. A blog is a great way to do it, and to get your company’s personality and expertise across. Make sure you update it regularly though, as it can worry users if a blog was last updated two years ago – they may even think your company has gone out of business.
- Streamline and avoid clutter. It’s very tempting to waffle around the subject with website content, but you need to stick to the main points of information that visitors are looking for, especially on home or landing pages. You can link to further information on other pages if you want, but less is often more when trying to hold a visitor’s attention.
- Make fast loading times a priority. Extensive use of high quality images and fancy design tricks can make your website slow to load, and web users can only handle an average of 2 seconds waiting time before they abandon your site.
What do you think is the most important ingredient for web design success? Please feel free to share your thoughts.