Not all websites are created equal. That needs to be our mantra in 2020. Some websites are real winners that captivate users from the start while others lack the usability and functionality that internet users have come to expect.
But why does your web design matter? Well, it matters because it takes about 50 milliseconds or 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not.
Web design and functionality basically boils down to if your website visitors will stay or leave.
That means if your website is not fully optimized, built with seamless design, and created with the user in mind, your bounce rate will be HIGH. It doesn’t matter if your products are the best on the market – if your website isn’t a hit, no one will be able to find and purchase your amazing products.
So today, we are giving you the best practices for web design that any small B2C business can benefit from using.
- 1) 1. Check off these Web Design Basics if You’re Starting from Zero
- 2) 2. Ensure Strong Branding Throughout Your Website
- 3) 3. Create an Eye-Catching CTA
- 4) 4. Fast Loading Speed for Mobile & Desktop
- 5) 5. Design with the User Experience in Mind
- 6) 6. Apply a Smart Use of White Space, Minimal Text & Excellent Visuals
- 7) 7. Write User-Friendly Content
- 8) 8. Focus on Intuitive Navigation
- 9) 9. Build Your Website with SEO in Mind
- 10) 10. Optimize Your Website to Reflect Local Proximity
- 11) 11. Consistently Improve Your Web Design by Running A/B Testing
We promise, if you follow these 11 essential web design best practices, then your website will be a hit. If this list seems intimidating, then it might be a smart idea to enlist the help of web design experts.
Even if you aren’t a web design expert, take these ideas and run with them a bit. Your website will be better because of it!
1. Check off these Web Design Basics if You’re Starting from Zero
If you are new to web design, there are a few basic elements you need to check off before you can begin the design process:
- Pick a strong domain name: Your domain name is your web address, aka where people can find you. Keep it short, simple, easy to spell, and without any numbers of hyphens.
- Make sure your web hosting platform is secure and scalable: A web hosting platform is a company that offers the technology that lets your website be viewed on the internet. Common hosting companies include SiteGround, GoDaddy, and Imagen Media.
- Use an intuitive platform to build your website: There are several platforms out there that help you build a great website. By far, the most popular is WordPress, but other popular platforms include Wix and Squarespace.
- Choose a strong eCommerce platform: If you are in the eCommerce space and want to build an online shop, you will need a platform that allows you to sell your goods online. Popular platforms include Shopify and WooCommerce.
2. Ensure Strong Branding Throughout Your Website
The first step in creating an amazing website is to establish your brand identity.
Brand identity can be defined as:
Any visual element of a brand, which includes the brands selected color scheme, page layout, and logo. All of these elements help to identify and distinguish your brand from the competition as well as leave a lasting impression in consumers’ minds.
Websites that lack consistent branding throughout can be overwhelming and confusing for the website visitor and their journey.
The list below are all of the items that need to be cohesive in order to achieve proper brand identity on your website:
- Color scheme
- Interactive elements
- Design aesthetic
- Data visualization
Once you define the aesthetic of each of these elements, you will be able to create or improve your web design. The end result will be a distinct and unique experience that only your brand can provide.
3. Create an Eye-Catching CTA
A call to action (CTA) is a button on your website that directs your visitors to perform an action. This action could be purchasing your goods or services, scheduling a consultation, or downloading/subscribing to your content.
Your call to action best practices should include:
- Direct language: Clear, concise, and describes exactly what the next action will be when your audience clicks said button.
- Bold color: When selecting your color scheme, reserve the boldest color for your CTA as the eyes will be naturally drawn to it.
- Create urgency: You want your audience to want to act quickly when they see your CTA.
- Use personalization: Make it on brand and with exciting language, more than just a simple “click here.”
4. Fast Loading Speed for Mobile & Desktop
Loading speed will ALWAYS be a determining factor of a healthy website. Regardless if you are a huge brand or a small local business, no one wants to wait for your website to load.
At the end of the day, every second count. There is a strong correlation between speed and bounce rate – the longer the wait time, the higher the bounce rate.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at these statistics:
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
- 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
- 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
How to Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed
Here are a few things you can do to help improve your websites loading speed:
- Optimize images
- Improve server response
- Enable compression
If this all sounds pretty complicated, hire a web design company that specializes in faster page loading speed. 😉
5. Design with the User Experience in Mind
Your website needs to be designed with your users in mind. It is absolutely essential, especially in 2021 when Google’s new algorithm is released, which indicates page experience as a ranking factor.
Designing for the user experience includes everything from the graphics you use, to the text you write, and the interactive elements on the website.
There are a few UX elements that any website can benefit from, including small B2C businesses. These principles include:
- Website text is optimized for scannability.
- Web design is simplified, captivating, interactive, and inviting.
- Common-sense design principles – creativity is great, but don’t make it so in-depth and profound that it confuses the average person.
- Designing for your audience, not for marketers or other business owners.
- Using a clear visual hierarchy.
- Making sure your website passes the UX quality checklist – useful, usable desirable, findable, accessible, credible.
6. Apply a Smart Use of White Space, Minimal Text & Excellent Visuals
When designing your website you want to consider the effectiveness of white space. Meaning, you don’t want your website to be so text-heavy that it overwhelms your visitors.
What is white space? Good question!
Whitespace is the negative area in any composition. It’s the unmarked distance between different elements that gives viewers some visual breaks when they process design, minimizing distractions, and making it easier to focus.
The use of white space is effective for any website, from small, local businesses all the way to large eCommerce websites. Using high-quality images that speak form themselves with minimal text is always much more pleasing to the eye.
Remember that most people are scanning your website. What is best for scalability is usually adding images and leaving some empty space to give your website visitors a little mental break.
Here are some examples of brands that use minimal text, empty space, and appealing images to make an amazing web design:
7. Write User-Friendly Content
You want to sell your products or services on your website, and you can do that by optimizing your text for the user experience.
This all starts by understanding WHO will be reading the content on your website and then optimizing for that audience. 81% of people only skim the content they read online while the average user reads at most 20-28% of words during an average visit.
Knowing that, how can you create better user-friendly content when writing on your website?
- Use simple vocabulary: Don’t go too deep. What words will appeal to your target audience using? Don’t confuse them with your copy.
- Create copy chunks: Break up the text into smaller segments instead of lonnnng paragraphs. You aren’t writing a college essay.
- Write with an active voice: Active voice being “I will design an amazing website” vs passive voice, being “an amazing website will be designed by me.”
- Address your audience Talk to your audience and use pronouns such as “you” and “we.”
- Write with bulleted or numbered lists: It is easier for the reader to scan your content and better for SEO.
- Make sure you have clear headlines: Headings and subheadings need to be optimized for SEO and include industry specific keywords.
Your website visitors don’t want to get lost while browsing your website, so make sure that the navigation is clean and intuitive. You want to design your website so that the user’s journey is as simple as possible.
Here are some examples of what intuitive navigation looks like:
- Horizontal navigation at the top with a menu in a logical order.
- Using breadcrumb navigation to make sure you’re audience understands and can easily see their journey across your website.
- Creating the design to guide your users to your product or service pages.
- Keeping your menu short and sweet.
- Not having tons of drop-down menus – it can get confusing and hard to follow.
- Including a search function at the top.
Before you build your website, plan out the site structure so that it is clean and easy to navigate.
Creating a plan beforehand will help ensure that you intuitively link all of your pages together and that there are no random pages that are just slowing down your site!
9. Build Your Website with SEO in Mind
How do you expect potential new customers to find you on the internet without maximizing your website for SEO?
It’s important to note that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, so if your website is not optimized for SEO you could be missing out on tons of valuable web traffic. Consumers have a lot of confidence that search engines will only place top-quality content on the first page of SERPs (search engine result pages).
There are some simple tricks you can use to improve your SEO when planning for your winning web design, including:
- Image optimization: Include alt-text for each image to help vision-impaired website visitors, the image name is SEO optimized, and that images are compressed.
- Use of smart headings to break up content: These headings should include keywords and be short and to the point.
- Properly formatting your pages: This includes checking if your website is readable on different devices, such as mobile, desktop, and tablet.
- Include relevant information: Include contact info, testimonials, and links to social media for social proof.
- Creating amazing content: Content is a huge portion of SEO. Everything from written website content to your blog posts and videos can heavily affect your ranking on SERPs.
10. Optimize Your Website to Reflect Local Proximity
If you are a small B2C business, and your target audience is local members of your community, then optimizing your website for local SEO is a crucial step needed before publishing your website.
Why is local SEO important? Well, 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information whereas 97% of search engine users searched online to find local businesses.
Have you ever been craving ramen? And you wanted to find the best ramen place in town. So what do you do?
Probably the following:
Go to Google and typed some variation of “ramen near me” with the outcome being:
A list of businesses that pop up.
Optimizing for local search is so important. If I were to order ramen right npw, I would definitely get it from KOI Beer & Dumplings (it is my favorite in town).
Here is how to optimize your website for local SEO:
- Create a Google My Business account: Just like the above example, if you’re a local B2C business, you need to do this too.
- Post happy reviews and testimonials: Both on your website and on your GMB, Yelp, and any other directory pages.
- Optimize for voice search: This is a hot trend right now and it is only getting hotter in 2021, so create content that reflects the question your audience would ask to their smartphone.
- Use local keywords in your content: Include keywords that center on proximity and your community.
- Add local information in your about page: Address, phone number, store hours, and Google map location.
11. Consistently Improve Your Web Design by Running A/B Testing
When starting the design process of your website, it’s important to remember that what you find appealing might not be the same as what your target audience finds appealing.
That is where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing, or split testing, is the process of comparing the engagement rate of two design elements on your website to see which element does better with your target audience.
You will divide website visitors into two segments upon entering the website, and you can test in real-time how the design influences the audience’s buying behavior.
It is great for collecting data and for consistent improvement of your website.
You can test items such as:
- Landing page
- Color scheme and theme
- Product pages
- CTA engagement
If A/B testing seems like too much of a hassle or you aren’t sure where to start, let us know how we can help you!