Some of the internet’s billion-or-so websites stand out and command attention, whereas others are boring or too overpowering in their design. A great website which stands out from the rest has great design and content and is easy to navigate. Here are some tips on the crucial elements to online success.

Information and Contact Details

online success tips guidesVisitors may be coming to your website for a dozen different reasons, but the urgent thing to many of them – especially repeat visitors – is the visibility of your Call to Action (CTA) buttons. If they’ve come to shop or get in contact they don’t want to sift through poorly designed modules or be forced to take a Ctrl + F (search function) down to some obscure paragraph on the bottom of the page. They want to see – straight away – where to click. CTAs are clickable buttons which perform an action (usually by following a hyperlink or activating a script) to Buy, Contact, Shop or some other function. It’s a good idea to have these buttons contrast in color and size from their surroundings so they catch the eye. You can also offer specific CTAs, like “subscribe to our newsletter” or “download our free eBook”.

An “About Us” and “Contact Us” section are crucial. About Us should be informative, up to date and compelling but concise. Even if you include a video to introduce your story, detailed text is still sought after. Your contact section should be minimal, with numbers and addresses plainly offered. A smaller version should be on every page, with a contact CTA or phone number prominent at the top and the full version in small text at the bottom of each page.

Relevant and Interesting Content

Apart from its usability, your website’s content will determine whether visitors stay. Your content should be relevant, i.e. it should provide your intended customers with what they want – the answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Proofread to ensure that your content is free of factual, grammatical and spelling errors. It should be interesting: original but accessible, detailed yet concise. Make sure you’re using the right keywords and optimizing your content for search engines to attract your targeted audience.

Design Tips

With mobile traffic growing rapidly, it’s essential to ensure your website delivers a similar experience across devices, screen sizes, and operating systems. Mobile users should be able to comfortably navigate with just their thumbs. A responsive website automatically re-adjusts to the size of a browser and reformats between devices and screen sizes seamlessly. Navigation shouldn’t be complicated: if it’s not as user-friendly as most major websites it’s not good enough for most consumers. If you’re thinking about outsourcing your design, consider whether you want to outsource specific tasks to freelancers, or use a full Web Design company like Convergent1. Make sure to have sufficient spacing between your buttons and widgets: greatly spaced out or crowded templates are disorienting. Make sure your images are large enough, and people can click on them for more detailed, higher resolution copies. Hamburger menus are popular, and for good reason: they let you expand a series of drop-down options otherwise ‘stacked’ under one symbol. Using or developing your own unique or uncommon font can help distinguish and show off your company’s character but be careful that the font remains easily readable and not too wacky.


Final Thoughts

With all this design, don’t get carried away with graphics and JavaScript: fast loading pages are essential, as visitors will not wait for delays. To achieve fast loading times (1-2 seconds) you can consider removing excessive images or compressing their image quality (careful not to damage them too much) and minimize the strain on the loader by reducing the number of plugins and HTTP requests. Large background images or videos can be powerful, as people process these far faster than text. Just make sure that they don’t dominate an otherwise text-based page too much and make sure people can always easily disable videos. There are fewer things more annoying than not being able to disable an automatically playing video. If you are going to have an automatically playing video – a risky idea for a front page – configure it so that it only plays upon a visitor’s first visit.

While every web designer has different plans, the core elements are always needed. Always make sure your website remains up to date with the latest company information and the latest plugins, HTML and other updates. You can only ‘wow’ your visitors after satisfying their fundamental usability needs.


Author

Jason Hamilton is the Chief Operations Officer at Convergent1 and oversees the website design development process for all of our clients.

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