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Your business’ website design matters more today than ever before, with some studies suggesting that 75% of Internet users judge a company’s credibility on their website.
THREE OUT OF FOUR PEOPLE. That’s HUGE!
Whether you operate an e-commerce store or a brick-and-mortar business, your website’s design can have an enormous impact on your success. Don’t greet your users with a clunky, cluttered, or unresponsive web design, or you’ll find it difficult to keep up with the competition.
15 Design Checks to Make Sure You’re Offering Your Visitors the Best User Experience
1. Avoid Cluttered Pages
When a page is too cluttered, lacking white space or negative space, visitors might find it difficult to read your content.
Busy page layouts with long paragraphs of text are harder to scan and aren’t as friendly as a page that’s been broken down into headlines, sub-headlines, and shorter paragraphs with bullet points when possible.
Find clever ways to parse or break your content into smaller, consumable sections to avoid a cluttered page. This can include using bulleted lists, images, or videos, horizontally scrolling content, and visually “loud” call-to-action buttons.
2. Test and Re-Test Your Website’s Usability
Your website’s usability is the most important part of your website. It doesn’t matter how well your content has been written or how amazing your product is if visitors can’t figure out how to use your website. Anytime you break web standards, ignore common sense usability, or add obstacles (intentionally or unintentionally) to the customer journey, you will see a drop in conversions—sometimes significantly.
Most website usability problems are easy to fix with a website usability test. Even skilled designers make mistakes, and sometimes minor design oversights can negatively affect your conversion rates.
Make it easy for your website visitors to convert into sales. Use call-to-action buttons or forms that are paired up with headlines that are clear and concise in their message.
When a website is difficult to browse or unclear in terms of what to do, people get frustrated, give up, and go back to searching the web. Don’t let a slow or hard-to-use website be the reason someone doesn’t reach out!
3. Use Website Animations Sparingly or Not at All!
We’ve all seen websites designed with snappy animations that leave you going WOW, but for most websites, fancy animations are not the answer for enhancing the user experience. Website animations can greatly impact how people perceive your brand, read your content, and convert to your website.
Too much animation or too fast animations may negatively affect your conversion rate. Odd or inconsistent use of animations will also degrade your user experience. A simple fade-in animation on your content sections might be a conservative approach for enhancing your page design with animations.
If you’re ready to invest heavily in visual effects, you can certainly get outstanding results with website animation but have realistic expectations for your budget.
4. Your Slow-Loading Landing Page Is Costing You Sales
Your website speed matters to users and search engines alike. People notice when a website is slow, and they will leave.
A slow website can have a major impact on your business. It can reduce sales, leads, and website engagement. Google doesn’t want a slow website to rank high in the search results because they know that users prefer fast websites, so you may even suffer ranking loss if your competitors’ websites are faster than yours.
CRO Industry experts believe that a website that loads in 0 to 4 seconds provides the highest chance of converting them into a customer.
Want help with your website loading times and performance?
Learn more about how we can help make your WordPress website faster.
5. Lacking a Global Theme or Stylesheet Looks Amateurish
For your business to come off looking professional, your website needs to look professional, too.
Websites that lack consistent design elements or global style rules come off as unprofessional and can be harder to browse. Be sure all headers, page buttons, and hover interactions are consistent throughout your website.
A brand style guide paired with a master CSS document in your WordPress theme style settings is the best way to ensure you’re offering a great user experience and consistent designs.
6. Don’t Put Text Inside Images on Banners
It can be tempting to take a beautiful promotional banner you created for social media and place it on your website. If that image has text on it, do not use it on your website!
If you want to say something important, say it with TEXT on your website.
What we mean is, don’t make a nice picture in Photoshop and add your text as a layer in Photoshop. The image you save will have your text, but this text is not optimized. It can’t be read by search engines, translated for non-native language readers, read by screen readers, or scaled for mobile.
You can design a nice banner in Photoshop and use it as a background layer, putting your text in the foreground as a normal text element on the page. Use CSS or other styling means (like a page builder) to get the desired look.
7. Get Clever with Stock Photography Searches and Selections
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure you pick the best images for your website, or you might inadvertently be saying the wrong thing. It can be easy to rush your stock photo selection, especially after taking hours to write and edit your sales copy, but don’t neglect your pictures.
Without careful searching, you might pick an image that shows up on every page that shares a similar niche as you because of lazy designers who select the first picture available on iStockPhoto for the search.
If you can get custom photos for your website, that is always best, especially for product pictures. Otherwise, just take extra time to search for stock photos based on the picture’s content and not simply by searching for your industry or job title.
8. Test Your Website on Multiple Devices and Browsers
We’ve been saying it for over half a decade, but we’ll say it again. Responsive web design or mobile-first design is not optional. It’s a requirement and expected by your visitors.
Test your website on as many devices as you can. Your laptop and personal mobile phone are no longer enough. Try multiple computer resolutions, at least one tablet, and two phones. More if possible. When we design websites, we’ll do tests on multiple devices, including a desktop computer, a laptop computer, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android phone, and an Android tablet. We also review websites on the most popular browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
Mobile-Friendly Web Design Is a MUST
Being mobile-friendly goes beyond being mobile-ready or responsive. Mobile-friendly websites should be easy to use on phones. Text sizing, clickable-element spacing, and placement all matter. The easier it is to navigate and use your website on a phone, the better your mobile traffic will convert.
9. Focus on UX Design Before SEO and Advertising
So many companies focus on improving their SEO and website traffic yet forget about website design and optimizing for conversions. After all, what good is web traffic if it doesn’t convert?
You need to have your website set up to work with your marketing. “Get your ducks in a row,” as the expression goes. Make sure you’ve got clear and accurate headlines optimized for your customers. Consider user-testing your landing pages, allowing you to gather real people’s opinions on your UX and correct issues before you invest in marketing the page.
This means including ways to collect visitor newsletters and making it easy for visitors to become a lead or complete a purchase.
10. Don’t Autoplay Videos on Your Website
It can be tempting to place a large video at the top of the page and welcome visitors with your message in video format. After all, videos help landing pages convert, right? Not quite.
It’s okay to autoplay a video when it’s a background video without audio. This has grown popular over the years with faster connections and can provide a different experience than a still background image.
When a video is part of your website content, it’s important to let the user engage with the video and play it on their own. Customize your video thumbnail to make it eye-catching and display a “Play” button in the center. This approach is less disruptive and can help improve your page loading speed.
11. Your Website Is Not a Book. Format Your Text!
We already know people don’t like to read online. The larger your paragraphs are, the more likely people will breeze right past them, not reading a single word in the whole thing.
If you have a lot to say on your product or service sales page, find clever ways to display the content in a way that is anything but a wall of text. Use paragraphs mixed with imagery, bullet-point lists, videos, content cards, visual icons, and anything else that engages the reader.
Take a look at our landing page design sales page for an example of a page with content that has been segmented out visually.
12. Bad Page Design Distracts from Your Products or Services
It’s hard to focus when you’re distracted. And an overly busy web page filled with low-quality images will almost certainly divert your visitors’ attention from your product or service offering.
Only use high-quality images and take the time to craft meaningful headlines and descriptions for your services. Lay the content out in a way that is easy to scan and read.
Take a look at our web design service page for an example.
13. Make It Easy for People to Contact You
It might sound obvious, but too many times, people don’t make their contact information easy to find. We’ve even had to persuade clients into having a contact page. Some of them thought the website’s footer should be sufficient.
A website footer is a perfect place to put links to important pages and information about your website, including your contact information, but it’s not a replacement for a proper contact page.
A contact page should be easily located on every website. It’s common to find a contact link in the main navigation as the last item on the list. If your business relies on phone leads, make that phone number easy to spot somewhere in the header.
14. Make it Easy to Get “Home”
This is another one of those easily overlooked elements of a website. Visitors should always find it easy to get back to your homepage. Your website’s logo should be linked to the homepage and, if possible, include a “Home” link on the main navigation.
Easy access to the homepage is especially important for websites where the homepage is designed to funnel visitors to interior pages or has special promos on it.
15. Don’t Use an Entrance Page or Intro Splash Pages
You don’t see them as much anymore, and there’s a good reason for it. Entrance pages or splash pages were popular ways to greet visitors with a nice animation or slow-moving slideshow. People simply don’t have the patience for that today.
If you’re looking to generate leads or sell products online, skip the entrance page. Ditch the intro splash pages, and get straight to the point.
Increase Conversions by Improving Your User Experience
Don’t rush through your web design project or jump the gun on marketing your website until you’ve double-checked your UX. Depending on the size of your website, a UX test might take an hour or several days to complete but should never be skipped.
You can conduct your own UX test by going through your website, page by page, reading your content, and clicking your call-to-action buttons. Don’t forget to complete a contact or request a quote form, or your store’s checkout, too. Alternatively, you can hire a company, like Bocain Designs, to conduct a professional usability and user test on your website.