If you haven’t done so already, please take my free website design audit I designed to help small businesses to use to access the current condition of their website design. For some, the audit won’t uncover any surprises, but for many, the results will help them significantly improve their website design.
Websites aren’t the kind of things you can have created once and never touch again aside from the occasional blog post. Your business website is the most powerful marketing tool a business can have. They establish credibility, grow your business, build brand recognition, and grab attention. Since this tool is so important, I want to make sure your website makes a great first impression. Below you’ll find 10 tips to help you improve your site design.
10 Tips to Improve Your Website Design
Your company needs branding and style guidelines
How will your graphic designer, marketing manager, or sales guy promote your business if they don’t have any guidelines controlling the look and narrative? The answer is, however they feel like promoting it. Public Relations 101 teaches you that you should always control the narrative and that holds true for your business branding and identity. Branding guidelines or style guidelines (whatever you want to call them) exist so everyone will know exactly how to use your logo, what pictures to use to represent your brand and what you do, what font to use for your business, the exact tone of voice that works, and more. Have your branding or marketing team come up with this and commemorate it in PDF format for future use.
Your website design should be cohesive
A website should have style consistency throughout. That includes everything from your home page to the scroll to the top button, down to the newsletter popup. It all needs to have the same look and feel like it was the plan and not the afterthought. Maintaining a clear and intentional brand is one of the most powerful attributes of not only your website but your business. Websites that look visually consistent are perceived as trustworthy and professional by your target audience.
There should be a mobile version of your website
According to Statista, in 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, which is up from 50.3% in 2017. You read that correctly, mobile traffic makes up over half of all internet traffic. That’s just the average. Consider if your target demographic is 13-25 years old, then that number will be significantly higher. A website that isn’t optimized for mobile is detrimental to your business growth.
Use quality stock images or custom photos to improve the look of your website
I know it’s time-consuming to have to comb through dozens of images on a stock photo website to find the right one, but you really have to do that. Avoid using images on your website that is clearly staged, have a watermark on it because you didn’t properly license it, or worse, old school clip art. That screams unprofessional and will cost you legitimate business.
Make your website navigation easy to find and use
Website navigation must be clearly laid out and organized. To reduce the volume of top-level navigation options, use drop-downs (sub-menus) in the navigation menu so the visitor can see the content under every heading from any page. Also, reserve those hamburger menus for your mobile site since people who use desktops have more than enough screen real estate to look at your full menu. Globalspex posted an article that included hamburger menus as one of the 8 website design trends that are already outdated.
Include at least one call to action on every page to improve your website design
No matter what your business or brand is about, your website exists to get your visitors to do something. Whether its to contact you, purchase a service or product, sign up for your newsletter, or share posts on social media, you need a call-to-action (CTA) to direct them to do so in a clear and obvious way. It may seem odd, but website visitors will be confused if there is no direction, i.e. a CTA, and they will leave your site without doing anything without your guidance along their buyer’s journey.
Write copy that prioritizes benefits over self-promotion
Whereas your website design is what draws the visitor’s attention initially, what keeps them on your website is the content. Small Business Chronicles found that according to the Nielsen Norman Group, viewers typically leave a website within 10 to 20 seconds. So in those few seconds, you need to tell website viewers about your product’s or service’s benefits rather than its features. Benefits describe how your product or service will help solve their problem, while features describe the functionality of your product or service.
Create headlines that grab attention within 3 seconds
Within 3 seconds a website needs to tell visitors what your business has to offer. It’s one of the most important pieces of copy on your website. Your sub-headline should supplement the headline by offering a brief description of what you do or what you offer. The goal is to focus on a pain point that your product or service solves.
Shamelessly share client testimonials or product reviews
Your product or service could be the best in the world, but consumers want to hear it from other people before they do business with you. Social proof is the concept of people purchasing and trusting a product or service based on reviews and testimonials. According to Inc., a whopping 91% of consumers consult product reviews. Another staggering 84% trust online reviews as much as they would trust their friends. Honestly, I don’t purchase anything online if I don’t see reviews or if the reviews are bad. spare me the “fake reviews” conspiracy theories. You’re a fool if you think consumers care whether the reviews are fake or not. It’s the appearance of truth that creates trust. Also, the fake reviews that are easy to spot.
Secure your website if you want people to trust your business
I know you’re thinking, “what could a hacker possibly want with my little website?” The answer is, it doesn’t matter, they’ll hack anything! Your website should be secure means even if you’re not accepting payments or collecting any personal, sensitive or financial information. Information shared on your site needs to be encrypted, protected and secure. Including when they fill out your contact form. Website browsers like Chrome warn website visitors that your site isn’t secure before it will even open up your link. How embarrassing is that?