When the internet emerged more than 25 years ago, the first websites were akin to a magical land of unicorns and casinos, resplendent with scrolling marquee text, flashing lights and bright sparkles. It felt like a visit to the Red Light district every time a user connected to the brave new Internet World via modem at the blistering speed of 14k. Companies didn’t realize what a great business asset an effective web design could be. Instead they structured their sites to serve as giant “About Us” pages as a way to invite recognition for their traditional brands. In the last 25 years the internet has changed substantially, and consumer behavior has changed even more. Websites now dominates the way we communicate, the way we shop, and the way we make decisions both online and also in the face-to-face world. The glorified About Us websites are gone, replaced by mobile and secure business sites that serve as powerful lead generation tools for anyone with a business-to-business or business-to-consumer product or service or information resource to sell.
Remember that you have just five seconds to explain your value proposition to users when they enter to your site. The back button is the most widely used command on the web. If you don’t answer a user’s needs right away, he or she will click “back” and exit your site. Make sure your site features compelling copy that draws readers in and gives them reasons to stay.
The most important aspect of a site is its messaging. The most effective sites feature clear, concise, bit text messaging in no more than a few words. Do not put long paragraphs on your homepage. Your homepage is a gateway into your site. Use short messaging that gets to the point.
Building trust is critical if you are selling products or services online. Zappos became successful by offering free shipping and a great return policy. By leveraging the positive experiences of their audience through customer testimonials, Zappos was able to build brand loyalty and grow their business. Similarly, other sites highlight their guarantees and feature certifications or a phone number potential customers can use to contact a real person if any issues occur. These features can make the difference between someone hitting the dreaded back button and making a purchase.
Content is still king. You don’t want visitors to your site to see outdated content and think your business isn’t active online, which could affect your bottom line. Your site is your company’s face to the world. Make sure your site shows that your company is up to date on industry trends and is actively engaged by regularly creating new content.
User experience is the key to any good web design. People should be able to navigate throughout your site without confronting dead ends that cause them to navigate away from your site. Your website’s layout should straightforward so that users can easily move from page to page.
In the early days of the internet, a lot of business websites concentrated on themselves. They went to great lengths to show what they did and why they were a great company. While this hasn’t exactly changed, these days the internet’s best sites are much more focused on what a business can do for a user. Concentrating on what you can do for the user instead of what you want the user to know about you will help your site to become a more effective sales tool.
While getting to the #1 position for a great organic keyword or building up a massive and engaged social media following can make you feel like your business is on top of the world, it’s important to not get carried away. One of the best ways to fall behind to your competitors is letting your illustrious rankings or followers go to your head as a sign your work is complete. Always stay on top of your online presence and continuously work to ensure your website is as optimized for business as possible while keeping track of what your competitors are doing as well.
When you are initially designing a website, make your site as optimized as possible for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) concerns. Take note of the terms you want to rank for and use them in the appropriate title tags, URL chains, H1 tags, and H2 tags to help your website rank more highly on search result pages and to help your website generate non-branded organic traffic that leads to new sales.
When the internet was in its infancy, there was only one choice for users who were trying to connect. It was desktop or bust if you wanted to experience the internet. That’s no longer the case, with users accessing the internet on desktops, tablets and mobile devices and 17.4% of global website traffic originating from mobile devices as of the end of last year. Keep mobile development in mind as you develop your site, so that all of your customers can achieve optimal interaction with your website from whatever device they employ.
Your website is the primary point of contact for our digital marketing efforts. Ultimately, everything you do online that isn’t intended for brand recognition alone will be driving traffic to your website in an effort to get people to complete a predefined goal. Make sure you give your website the time and care it needs from a design perspective to be as effective as possible. This will ensure your digital marketing efforts pay the biggest possible dividends for your business.
It’s easy to forget the purpose of your website when you’re building it out. The best websites don’t necessarily have to be the most visually appealing. The best sites are effective in generating conversions and in helping your business to generate more leads online.
There was a time not so long ago that the most visually stunning websites were created with Flash. But that’s no longer the case. Flash websites keep a business from attracting the growing base of customers on iOS mobile devices that don’t support Flash, and they produce a slow and unresponsive user design that frustrates customers and costs your business sales.
Looking to the future, optimizing your web design for wearable devices can pay dividends for your business. Gadgets like Google Glass and Pebble are early indications that the future of the internet lies in wearable tech. If you want to get ahead of the curve, take the time to be sure your website is fully integrated now to give early adopters as full an experience as possible when they visit your site.