Sometimes, it can be hard to make a breakthrough in your online business or give your website the visibility you feel it deserves. Nowadays, it is so easy to create your own website that the competition is tougher than ever, and only a small percentage of the internet traffic ends up on your homepage.
So, how do you stand out from your competitors? Basically, every time a visitor ends up on your website, you have little time to convince them that whatever service you're offering is somehow better than the services offered by other individuals and companies.
Today, we're here to give you some tips on how to do just that. You'll find insightful tips that will hopefully teach you how to make your website sell like crazy. Let's get to it, then!
Should You Design Your Own Website or Hire a Web Developer?
Before we get into specific web design tips, let's take a minute to discuss the first thing you'll have to decide: Hack it yourself or hire a pro?
In short, if you hire a web development agency to do your website for you, they can offer you a lot of expertise on the matter. They have probably designed tens or hundreds of websites before, so they know what they are doing and how to do it efficiently.
Most likely they will employ many of the tips we're about to discuss. The only problem is that hiring an experienced web design company will cost you money.
If you prefer to save money and have a lot of time to invest, you may attempt to create your own website. Even if you are not experienced, given enough time and talent you can learn the ways of web design and create a good-looking end product that you can later modify.
The 4 Golden Topics
1. The First Impression
Nowadays, web surfers are quite impatient, especially users of mobile devices. After they open a page, they decide within seconds if they like it or not, and if they don't, they instantly abandon it to look for alternatives. But don't let the pressure get to you.
First off, make sure that the general look of your website is different from the rest. Then, you want to aim for an attractive design, but most of all, it should be simple, minimalistic, clear, well-structured, and not have too many distracting elements. These guidelines are extremely important in web design.
For example, an outstanding photo or drawing is a great way to instantly capture attention. But don't overdo it by placing multiple pictures, as this can be confusing and distracting.
Your company logo and navigation menu should also be clear right from the start. Place them in a prominent location, right at the top of the page for example, and use the same location consistently for all your pages.
You should have a responsive website design that works well on all types of devices (desktop, tablets, and mobile phones). Also, be gentle with the use of heavy elements like large images, because they may take too long to load. You want your website to load as quickly as possible.
2. Website Architecture
This part is more about the stuff that happens after the first impression. So, you've managed to make the user interested in your website, now it is important to take advantage of that.
Your main goal is to structure your website design in such a way that users can easily find what they are looking for. This means reaching the desired page with as few clicks as possible, ideally 2 to 3 clicks.
Have a clear top navigation menu, divided into unequivocal and clearly named categories. Make sure the submenu is responsive if your website has one. Do not have more than one submenu per category, as it can get too confusing. Navigating through your website should be intuitive (for example, clicking on the company logo should take visitors to the homepage).
Also, remember to include breadcrumbs in your pages. Breadcrumbs are visual indicators that tell the visitor where they are on the hierarchy of your website. This prevents a visitor from feeling lost or thinking that your website does not have a clear structure.
3. Website Design
We've talked about how to structure your website in an effective way, so now let's move on to some tips on the website design. Again, like in the previous topics, the aims are clarity and simplicity.
Let's begin with the homepage. If it is scrollable, include the most pertinent information above the "fold," that is, on the first screen before you scroll down. As you can imagine, this area is where people spend most of their time, so make good use of it. Don't hide the most relevant information below the fold.
Continuing with the area above the fold, you may want to add a link to your main image, so that it serves a purpose besides just looking good. Also, include a clear Call to Action (CTA) button in this area. Calls to Action buttons prompt the user to take some action, like subscribe to a newsletter or buy a product. We'll talk more about these in the next topic.
On each page, make sure to keep all the elements simple (such as images, text boxes, and buttons), and leave enough room between them. You don't have to include a lot of elements; in fact, this can be distracting. Just make sure you make good use of those elements that you do include and give enough emphasis to each.
You should not use more than one or two fonts on your website. Throughout your pages, stick to the same fonts, as well as color schemes, layouts, and so on, in order to have a consistent website design.
4. Calls to Action
Calls to Action are probably the most important elements of your website, so we've dedicated this topic to them. When a customer clicks on one of these buttons, it means they are ready to perform the action you want them to, such as subscribe to your newsletter. This is called a conversion.
The main things to keep in mind regarding a CTA are, you've guessed it—clarity and simplicity. First of all, choose a color that makes the button stand out, but don't go over the top and create a button with a complicated design.
Also, a CTA should usually be located at the bottom right corner of a page, which is statistically the place at which people tend to look the most. Give the button some room to breathe, so that it isn't hidden in a sea of text and images.
Be consistent with the placement of your CTA buttons. It is OK if the button on your homepage looks different from those on other places of your website. But for example, let's consider the CTA that says "Add to Cart" on a product page. This button should look exactly the same and be in the exact same location for all your products to give the customer a sense of structure and familiarity.
Remember not to place too many Calls to Action on a single page. One is ideal, two is probably the maximum. More than that and the visitors may get confused and wonder which button to click. As a consequence, they'll probably end up not clicking any of them.
The desire to make your website sell is one that you probably share with thousands, or even millions of people out there. To stand out from the pack, you have to make use of an attractive web design, along with many other factors that we didn't discuss here.
The tips we've given you are certainly a good place to start. If you change your website design to employ at least some of them, your conversion rates are sure to get a boost soon. Good luck!