There are billions of websites on the internet today. Some websites capture the imagination, encourage sales, and fascinate by mixing the best color palette, graphics, and content with an easy to understand business model. Then there are other websites – the bottom of the barrel websites with clashing colors, graphics that do not load, pages that take forever to populate, and an unclear messaging that leaves the visitor confused as to what they are supposed to do.
Luckily most websites fall in between these two extremes. They are decent but could use some improvements to make the site stand out. Here we have gathered the most important elements you should have on your website to ensure that you don’t lose customers due to poor design choices.
1. By far, the most important element on your website is navigation. There should be no confusion for the user on how to get to specific pages on your site. To this point, I recommend using common words in your menu to signify what page content the user can expect. It may seem tempting to use industry specific jargon or even company specific language, but if no one outside of your industry or organization understands what those terms mean, customers will likely leave the site in frustration to find something easier to understand. Menu titles are different from your page title. Your page title can be something unique to your business that stands out, so long as the content is clear and the unique title has a definition within the content. 2. Coming close second is whether your site is mobile ready. Mobile search is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for products and services. Search engines even include mobile friendliness as a way to determine the quality of your website. Creating a mobile friendly site takes a little finessing, as you must rearrange the content to fit onto a much smaller screen without losing page load speed. Many modern web development tools allow you to create a mobile friendly site as you create your browser friendly site, which reduces development time considerably over creating a duplicate website specifically for mobile. Failing to have a mobile friendly site can cost you. More than half of all website visits now come from a mobile device, so if your site is not mobile friendly you are alienating a large segment of your potential audience.
3. Your customers need a clear and easy way to contact you. This can be a simple form, a phone number, an email address or all of the above. The form itself should contain no more fields than necessary to gather what information you need to contact the visitor. The fewer fields you use on a form, the higher your conversion rates
4. Another often-overlooked element in web design is creating the site with the customer in mind rather than as a place to highlight your product. Research shows that the average person decides whether they want to stay on a website within 8 seconds of visiting. When someone is searching for your product or service, they want to see that product or service clearly on the page they land on or they will leave. Extensive content describing the company without explaining services or products can leave customers confused. There is a place for a company description – that is in the About Us section. Leave it off the home page and landing pages to make your site more successful.
5. Social media plugins are another must have for a successful website, especially if you have unique products, video, or articles. First, allowing for social sharing of your content is an organic and easy way to build a strong link system that will attract traffic to your site. The social buttons also take visitors to your company social pages, which will help build an audience that you can engage with in subtle ways until they are ready to make a purchase.
6. Graphics, video, and the overall look and feel of the website is another extremely important element to a successful website. Most consumers favor clean, simply designed websites with a consistent theme throughout. Each page should feel like you are still on the same website, even though the content and graphics are different. The graphics themselves should be clearly related to your business and the type of audience you are trying to reach. Abstract images may be visually appealing to you, but your customers may not understand the connection between your brand and the images on the page. Finally, adding elements like animation, video, and pictures of employees or customers can build trust in your visitors and increase the chances you will land their business.