If it often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing more truer can be said about Good Website Design. Whilst artwork and design can be subjective, there are some guiding principles that can help make the decision on good website design a little easier.
The first step of the process is planning. Before you can get a good website design you need to be clear on what is you want to achieve and what you want to communicate on your website.
Website design should then match the purpose of the site. The key questions to ask is:
- What do I want to achieve on my website?
- What actions do I want my visitors to take?
The website should then be designed with this in mind.
Many websites we see do not have a clear purpose. Many contain great information but the information on the site does not work hard to convert browsers into buyers. This is a shame. A well designed website should not only look great, it should also perform.
Some key considerations are:
Decide What You Want Your Website To Do
Before you think about design, you need to consider what you want you website to achieve.
- Do you want to generate business leads?
- Do you want them to contact you by phone or via email?
- Perhaps you have a long sales cycle and want to build a relationship with your customers so the think of you when they are ready to buy.
- Maybe you want to provide answers to frequently asked questions to reduce call centre or help desk calls.
Be clear and decide on what you want it to achieve.
Make it easy for people to navigate their way around your website. There should be no more than 3 clicks to get to anywhere on the website. People get annoyed having to search around a site to find the information they want and will leave it is too difficult for them to find the information they are looking for. Having less clicks is more.
Ensure the site is Searchable (avoid flash)
Many older websites (and some new ones) use flash. Flash is not good from a search engine optimisation perspective because search engines can't tell what the website is about.
Flash based websites often take longer to load and it is common for people to get frustrated and abandon a site if a page takes to long to load. Flash based websites are not mobile phone friendly. This does not bode well for the future because location based searches expected to rise. You need a website that is mobile phone friendly.
Use Call To Actions
Make it as easy as possible for people to take the actions you want them to take. Use call to action words like "Call Us Today", "Find Out More", or "'Contact Us." Using call to actions will make it easy for people to take action without having to look around. However, don't just ask someone to take action without doing something to build trust.
If you are a well known brand, establishing trust probably won't be an issue but if no-one has heard of you or your brand, then you will need to give some compelling reasons why they should take action.
Establishing trust may involve:
- Giving away valuable information to visitors
- Using video as a means to establish a relationship
- Including images of yourself or your location and
- Including valuable contact information.
I know that if I visit a website and there is no information that helps establish credibility and build my trust then I am likely to take my business elsewhere.
Clear and Consistent Message
Make sure the messages you send are clear and consistent. They are many, many websites out there that fail to communicate what it is they do and how they are different to other businesses and why you should do business with them.
If you aren't sure your website meets these standards, ask someone else who doesn't know what you do to look at your website and explain back to you what you do. If they find it difficult to explain you can bet your visitors will. If a visitor is confused they are less likely to want to pick up the phone and call you or even email you.
Display Your Contact Details
Make sure your contact details are prominently displayed if you want people to contact you. All too often, I will visit a website hoping to do business locally and I have no idea where they are located or how I can contact them. Often the only way I can contact them is via a contact form (which whilst is important) shouldn't be the only thing you put on your website.
Be aware that different people prefer to communicate in different ways - some of us are more social and like to talk, others prefer the impersonality of email.
Integrate Social Media
Facebook is hot - everyone seems to be on it or using it. It doesn't mean you have to be. Facebook is not going to be right for every business. However, there are some cool features of Facebook that you can still use that can help spread the word about your business that might be worth considering.
Regardless of whether you use Facebook or not, there are countless social networking sites that may be appropriate for your target audience that would be well worth integrating with your site. Why? Because search is becoming more social and the recommendations of friends are starting to influence search engine results. You want to put yourself in a position where you can capitalize on this.
Ensure Your Website Loads Quickly
Ask your website designer to build you a site that is going to load quickly. Page load speed is a factor in search engine rankings and as I mentioned earlier visitors will leave your site if it takes too long to load.
Test it On Other Browsers
Make sure your website can be viewed in other browsers. The main ones are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Being visible in mobile phone browsers is also very important.
Use Good Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of a good website. Whilst they won't impact your design, they will make the difference between being found in the search engines or not and ensuring your website meets its key objectives. Many website designers say they do search engine optimisation. What they mean is that they put keywords in your page title and description. However, they may not necessarily do the research or apply any methodology or rationale for why you should use certain keywords.
As you can see, there are a vast number of things that determine good website design. A full service web development company can help you through each step of the process. If you would like to find out more information or discuss your needs, feel free to contact us on 0488 184 040 (see we even practice what we preach).