When it comes to web design, it pays to be informed. Literally! A website is one of the most high volume, condensed, and competitive channels for promoting your business. Yet, it can also be your best marketing tool. We’ve outlined the 4 most important factors to consider when designing your website. Whether you already have a site up, or are in the development stage, web design is constantly evolving. The only way to keep up is to be up to date on the ins and outs of customer engagement.
Layout and Navigation
When it comes to customizing layout, the more applicable to screen-size the better. With screen dimensions growing larger and larger its important to ensure that your site is viewable on platforms ranging from Smart TVs, to gaming consoles, it's important that you’re aware of how this new technology may affect your approach to site design. Size is not the only factor to consider. Navigability is a make it or break it feature of any website. Studies show that if it takes a visitor of your site longer than even a couple seconds to find the page they’re seeking, they will leave your site. Apple is a prime example of site design at its best. The multi-billion dollar company has recognized simplicity as key to its brand image: to make the user’s experience as easy, and clean-cut as possible.
Navigation isn’t just a convenience for your user’s experience, it’s also a direct link to lead conversion. Search engines rely on site navigation to direct users to your site. This is why taking on the best approach to your SEO strategy is key to converting site visitors to leads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you’ve already designed your site without considering SEO tactics, you’re already losing money and potential leads. SEO and CTA implementation is by far, one of the best ways to boost engagement and convert visitors into paying customers. As discussed above, navigation is key to SEO. When it comes to structuring your site’s layout, aim for a site that has a flat a hierarchy as possible. This means keep your categories and pull down menus as simplified as possible. Ditch the sub-categories when possible. Doing so will make it less difficult for search engines to direct users to your site. A flat hierarchy allows search engines to flag your pages as "important", allowing them more weight in rankings. Obviously, you’ll want to personalize your site as much as possible with unique content. Creating custom designed landing pages that seek to inform readers is a fantastic way to draw visitors from search engines.
Other factors your should consider: domain name, hosting platform, and content management system (CMS). Your domain name is the direct link to your website, so choose a URL that includes keywords most relevant to your sites content. When it comes to selecting a hosting provider and CMS, its all about selecting a provider that best engages SEO. The CMS provider should include custom page titles as well as metadata and adjustable URLs as well as plugins that offer advice, such as tips on content optimization. One well known CMS you may know of is Wordpress. Wordpress offers a plethora of features ranging from plugins to content layout options. It also offers a solid support team and is relatively cheap for all that it offers.
For a great example of SEO implementation at its best, turn to Virgin. They embed deep-linking within navigation drop-downs, they offer a fantastic sitemap:
Credibility (AKA Customer Service)
Trust is both the foundation and sustainer of a business. Would you buy a product from a site that lacked any reviews or had a verified URL? Chances are you’d be more skeptical about moving forward with a purchase from such a site even if the price is more favorable than a more well-known competitor. Credibility is key to establishing customer retention. Just take a look at how SendGrid has implemented hard figures into their testimonials page. The site claims that 63,000 clients “trust SendGrid to send more than 40 billion emails.” SendGrid’s an excellent example of how logos, or the use of data, can help establish credibility.
When someone purchases your asset, they like to think they’re also investing in your company’s guarantee of customer support. If the potential client has gotten as far as the testimonial page, he or she is on their way to making the investment. Consider a testimonials page the conclusion to your pitch.
Social media has amounted such a great online presence that the very thought of using it seems inherent to web design itself. And yet, many companies don’t use it to their advantage. Don’t overlook the power of Google+, for example, as a vital asset to your website. It’s also critical to ensure that all your social media buttons remain easily accessible. Social media channels are also incredible outlets to best implement a CTA. It pays to ensure that your CTA is both eye-catching, yet consistent with your site’s overall aesthetic. Consider Shopify's Facebook ad for the "double tips" campaign. The overall aesthetic of the ad indicates the same simplistic design of the company's site. Because of this minimalistic layout, the user is easily directed to the CTA. Make sure that you're using keywords that will easily allow search to link users to your site.
Consider social media your PR consultant. Rather than hiring someone to promote your brand image, social media does it for you. More specifically, CMS systems handle all aspects of publicity, ensuring that your site's content is engaging and consistent. Consider NING, for example. Systems like NING do the job for you, with design features that make it easy for new clients to sign-up on your social network using their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ accounts. All the while, NING consistently produces content without you having to worry to do so.
While a good CMS system is essential once your business has expanded, those who are just starting to build their website can succeed in managing their business alone so long as the 4 factors above are always kept in consideration. Affordable web design is feasible, though it does require a tactful approach. A website is not a one and done interface; its necessary to constantly evolve and revamp your site according to market trends. Doing so will keep your site engaging, and competitive in its industry.