What do I need to include in my website?
This is one of the most important questions you should ask when building your website.
But, if you’re new to the world of digital marketing and web design, knowing what to include – and NOT include – on your website can be challenging.
To help you start right with your website, we’ve made a list of the 9 most important website design tips below to help you get started.
A clear USP
Imagine you’re pitching your services to everyone who steps through your business’s front door. If you had 20 seconds to tell them why you’re better than your competitors, what would you say?
Your answers would probably focus on things you do better than anyone else in your industry. This is what makes your business stand out from the hundreds of other companies in your industry.
Your unique value proposition (also known as a unique selling proposition) clarifies how your company is different from your competitors. Things like superior service or quality are why customers will choose you over your competitors.
It would be best if you clarified your unique selling proposition before you create your website.
A good USP on your website can hook visitors within seconds and encourage them to try your products or services instead of your competitors’.
Here are some ways you can convey your company’s unique value proposition:
- Using it as a tagline in your company slogan
- Showing off an impressive case study or gallery of your past work
- Highlighting your company values in your copy
Thoughtful website design
Research shows that websites have around 50 milliseconds to make a positive first impression.
If your site greets prospective customers with low-resolution images, page load times, and baffling navigation, what sort of impression do you think your brand will make?
Every second counts.
It’s also critical to consider your website’s visual elements from your site’s target audience’s perspective.
- Consider using sans-serif fonts since they’re well-suited for displaying content online.
- Use white space to emphasize each design element on each website page.
- Go with original photography to give your site more authenticity than any stock photo.
Research your target audience and create buyer personas — what are their needs? How can your business help them achieve their goals?
Once you know the answer, you’ll be able to use your website to sell them on your services.
Effective SEO strategies
Search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental for website success. SEO can increase your site’s visibility, boost its ranking, and help prospects find your website at the right stage of their customer journey.
Here are some tips for improving your website’s SEO:
- Use title tags and meta descriptions to tell search engines and users what content is on each page.
- Research keywords carefully to make sure your content is relevant and helps the right users find your site.
- Use high-quality images and add descriptive alt tags (to add extra keywords to your site and help attract visitors through image searches).
- Keep URLs short by using the most important keyword for each page, and reflecting site hierarchy for more straightforward navigation.
- Add landing pages to target specific keywords or regions.
Paying attention to small details like this will improve your website’s rank in search engines.
Once upon a time, mobile optimization was a nice-to-have item. Now, it’s mandatory — over half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
What’s more, Google’s “mobile-first” approach primarily uses a website’s mobile site for its indexing and ranking, so businesses that overlook this can lose out in a big way.
But effective mobile optimization isn’t just an SEO tool; it can also lead to increased engagement and sales:
- 58% of smartphone users feel “more favorable” toward businesses if their mobile sites remember their previous behavior.
- 63% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from a brand if their mobile sites provide relevant recommendations (such as ‘products you’d be interested in…’).
The bottom line?
Don’t sacrifice good web design on mobile devices. It could cost you valuable leads.
Stellar user experience
A positive user experience (UX) is a win for everyone involved! Although user experience sounds a bit ambiguous, user experience is a real factor to consider for your website.
Things like speed and good website design affect whether your website’s information is easy to find for website visitors.
The happier your site visitors are, the happier you are. So here are a few things to note when aiming for the best user experience possible.
The longer a page takes to load, the more likely it is that people will leave your website. The risk of a bounce increases by 32% when users are left waiting for 1-3 seconds for your website to load. But it jumps to 106% for load times of up to six seconds!
Your website’s speed can be improved drastically by compressing content, combining files (CSS, HTML, etc.), and decreasing server response times. This might seem daunting, but optimizing your website’s speed has a tangible impact on user experience.
Another key way to optimize your site for experience?
Arrange information in a way that makes sense for people who visit your website.
This is known in the design world as information architecture.
It’s all about arranging content on a page based on its importance.
Present the most valuable copy, images, videos, and products higher up a page. Place less-valuable elements further down, in descending order.
You should also arrange your website’s information architecture around your website goals. If you’re trying to get people to follow you on social media, embed social share widgets or buttons.
If you’re trying to explain your services or products to a new market, arrange your web pages so people can easily find information.
This way, your visitors won’t have to crawl through irrelevant material to get to the information they want to find.
Defined actions to guide visitors
It’s your role to help visitors take actions that bring them closer to buying from you.
For example, calls-to-action (CTAs) invite them to click a button to purchase a product or proceed to a relevant page.
To get your website visitors’ attention, use buttons, clickable images, and links across your site to direct prospects to where they need to go.
Some specific examples of calls to action are:
- Like us on Facebook (or your other social media platforms)
- Contact us
- Get a quote
- Book an appointment
Website copy that delivers real value
Adding fresh, valuable, keyword-rich content to your site regularly can help to cultivate a loyal audience.
But each page on your website must provide useful information and insights to make the experience worthwhile for your website visitors.
The more visitors and backlinks you can attract with your up-to-date content, the more authority your site will build, and the greater exposure you’ll get.
One great way to do this is with a blog. The more regularly you post fresh content, the higher you will rank over time (if you do it correctly, of course).
But you must write naturally about your services: don’t just cram keywords on your website. That can result in a penalty and lower rank by Google and other search engines.
Instead, write easy-to-read body text that provides real value to your human readers – not just search engines.
Up-to-date regulatory compliance
Your website must comply with various types of regulations (GDPR, ADA, etc.). If not, your business could be fined and suffer severe damage to reputation.
Streamlined navigation and hierarchy
Your website’s navigation and hierarchy should be designed with the ideal visitor in mind. What information are they looking for first? What might different types of customers intend to buy?
Menus should be built and presented to deliver the most convenient, streamlined experience. Use descriptive page names and visuals (font, colors, etc.) that allow for instant clarity. Don’t try to be too clever (e.g., avoid naming your blog “the ledger” rather than merely “blog” if your users won’t get it.).
Using these website design tips in the real world
By following these 9 tips, you can transform your website into a user-friendly, convincing, and visually appealing site that’s way more likely to achieve a solid ranking.
It takes time to design a website that perfectly represents your brand, and the learning curve may be steep. But as long as you use these web design tips to refine and improve your website, you’ll build a platform that directly enhances your business.