Wondering why your website traffic isn’t going too well, and wondering what you can do to improve it? Or are you in the middle of building a site, but aren’t sure what it’s missing? The answer for both, is good web design.
Website design is more than just making a website or webpage look pretty. It’s about making the whole experience of the user, as simple and as appealing as possible. This means making your site easy to navigate, easy to understand, and, yes, to look pretty.
As we get into the meat of this article, we will cover off a bunch of fundamentals to ensure a great experience for customers on your site. Just for your knowledge, we at Castle Jackson are experts in websites and web design from Collingwood, but we’re just a phone call away for all of Australia and beyond. If you have any questions looming after this article, be sure to give us a call to discuss any of your specific enquiries. With that said, let’s get into it.
WEB DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS
Each fundamental is just as important as the other, if any are missing it will lead to a low conversion rate on your site.
Having a checklist and a strong design direction is going to serve you well throughout your website’s lifespan, it will always be helpful to you to find references that appeal to you, and to always be checking for changes in the web design world. Talking to a web design agency is going to be key to that, but more on that later.
Let’s get this show on the road.
FUNDAMENTAL 1: The User Is Always Right.
The user/customer/client is the person that is going to be visiting and interacting with your site. The most important thing to keep at the front of your mind is making sure that you can guide their experience as effectively as possible. Doing so easily is the goal of any well-designed website.
If you think about how people interact with websites in general, one of the worst things you can hear as the owner of a site are the two words, “it’s confusing”. If you have a site that is considered confusing, that is a wake-up call. A wake-up call to understand what about your site confuses people and how you can make the experience simpler and easier.
The best way to understand this principle of web design is to put yourself into a consumer’s shoes. How does the navigation process go? How does it feel to scroll through? Do the sections that follow each other make sense? or have sections just been put there, just because you had left over content? Whatever issues you flag as a would-be consumer, are probably worthwhile adjusting.
Passing on your site to someone who isn’t very tech-savvy is always a good strategy. If someone who gets intimidated and overwhelmed by websites and online content can navigate your site quickly, you know you’re thinking with the user in mind.
Another tactic is to take your site, or the idea of your site, to a professional agency. Web design agencies keep up to date on what works, what Google likes, and how best to design your site with the end user in mind.
Web design agencies mostly have free consultations and can clearly communicate some cost-effective ways to improve your site. They will have teams of people ready to help you increase the amount of time people will spend on your site, and how to increase your conversions too.
FUNDAMENTAL 2: Keep it simple
A fundamental that goes across multiple disciplines, ‘Keep it simple’, or KIS, teaches you that having a simple to understand web design will benefit you the most.
Majority of the time, a user is on a website looking for the information that they require. This could be a product or a description of a service; whatever it may be, having to go through flashy graphics, and videos can in some instances negatively impact the user’s experience.
What’s important when approaching your web design is that people can understand what you’re about within 4-7 seconds. This rule of giving people the most important information in a quick, attractive, and simple way will help your site’s conversion rate well.
Something that website tracking has taught web designers is that people don’t particularly read content, they skim it. Because this is the case in most instances, it is important to have simple to understand sections that flow on in a way that makes sense.
If your site tells people you do >web design in Collingwood, it should then have a link to help people make contact or learn more about your services. It should have bold headings that communicate the section quickly. The section underneath that should back this up by providing a taste test of what your services are, with a link in that section to the services page.
Getting good information, and relevant links on your site early helps people navigate your site simply and gives them a clear direction of what you are about, and what you have on offer.
FUNDAMENTAL 3: Relevance and Originality
Welcome to the website world of over 2 billion websites, all vying for attention and a good return on investment. This world is a tough one, as you as a site owner, may be wondering how you could stand out from the crowd. A really good way to do so is to not think too hard about your competition, but to really be solid in what your purpose is with your content.
Content includes the words on your website, as well as the images and any patterns and textures you might use.
Good web design is about matching form and function, and your form can sometimes be dictated by the content you have on it.
What we understand about media and the nature of thought is that there isn’t really original ideas, only iterative ones. This distinction is enough for Google.
What this all means is that when you produce your content on your site, it should take inspiration from references and sources, but it shouldn’t mimic those sources.
If you’re writing on-page content, think about how you would say it, don’t just grab it from another site and copy paste. If you’re wanting to take images for your site, be sure to take some photos yourself. Doing so is heavily favoured by Google. Google bots are able to identify stock imagery and they tend to rank less original content lower on it’s search engine results page (SERP).
The other thing to bear in mind with your site’s content is its relevance. With all the talk of making sure your website’s content hits “keywords” people can get into the thought process of just dropping in random keywords in bad places that make no sense.
They may employ techniques like keyword stuffing which just basically means chunking keywords together at the bottom of the page so that they rank better.
However, Google’s algorithms have been able to detect poorly written sentences and other black hat SEO tactics. Doing so means that sites get penalised by Google, meaning they are not seen high up on the SERP.
The take-away from this fundamental here is making sure that your content is produced by you and not copy and pasted content with your business name in the middle of it, and that it makes sense to you, the user, and also Google. Using your keywords sparingly and legitimately remains the best way to do so.
As experts in web design from Collingwood, we have seen it all when it comes to business sites providing a poor user experience. We have seen some dodgy tactics, and poorly formed sentences and overly stock standard websites make all the same mistakes. Hopefully these fundamentals help you better your eye for good web design moving forward.
The user is always right can mean that you as a user of your own site can make judgement calls on the experience. Going through your site and viewing any dead links, poorly worded sentences, or confusing elements will be key to your website’s success. Getting a second pair of eyes from someone critical, or from someone that is less tech savvy will be a great indicator of website friendliness. Talking to a web design agency is also a big help as they will have specialist knowledge surrounding web design in the modern day.
Keep it simple is a great design principle that will help marry up form and function. Not overcomplicating your website and giving people something really easy to use, will benefit you much more than showing people the latest website gimmick that will be out of fashion before the end of the year.
Relevance and Originality are key to your website’s content, and matching up your word limits, image sizes, and website layout with exactly what is required will be better for the end user, and better for your site’s relationship with Google. Dodgy tactics like keyword stuffing have become relics of the past, as Google’s algorithm has caught on to black-hat techniques. So, don’t do it.
If you are looking through your site and you are seeing a bunch of things you would like to change, but it all feels too overwhelming, consider giving Castle Jackson a call to help with updating your site, or helping you create a great website first go-round.