Looking for web design tips? You’re in the right place. In this guide from Australian Internet Advertising, we’ll take a look at a few proven, time-tested website design tips that are sure to help you improve your web pages – and bring in more customers. Read on to get all the details.
Understand What Makes A Good User Experience
Good web design starts with good user experience. If you’re new to the world of web design, this is the first thing you must understand. It’s a good idea to take some time to study the field of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) to inform your understanding of how websites work – and how they should be designed.
This isn’t limited to the internet, either. If you want to do some reading on the subject, you can start with The Design of Everyday Things, the ultimate guide to human-centered design. For a more web-focused foundation, About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design is a great resource.
Emphasize Calls-To-Action Where Appropriate
A website that doesn’t use call-to-actions (CTA) is simply not going to provide the same ROI (Return On Investment) as a website that focuses on CTAs.
A call-to-action is exactly what it sounds like – asking a customer or website visitor to do something. On your “Contact” page, you want to invite them to get in touch. On a “Buy It Now” page, you want to encourage them to make a purchase. On a page about your email newsletter, you want them to enter their information and sign up – and so on.
Your CTAs need to be clear and concise – and make it obvious what’s going to happen when a user takes a particular action. For more on the basics of CTAs, this guide by Hubspot is a good resource.
Make A Website That’s Usable On Mobile Devices
Mobile devices already consist of more than half of all online web traffic – and are likely to continue growing in importance as phones become cheaper, 5G technology rolls out around the world, and more people become connected to the internet via smartphones.
Therefore, it goes without saying that your website needs to be fully-optimized for mobile devices. Most modern websites use a “responsive” layout that can scale with screen size, and is usable on mobile devices, tablets, and laptops/desktops of all sizes. Build your website with mobile friendliness in mind, and make sure to test it regularly on various phones and other mobile devices.
Focus On Optimizing Page Loading Speed
Your visitors’ attention spans are limited – that’s an important thing to understand when you’re building a website. A beautiful, visually appealing, and easy-to-use website is great! But what if it takes too long to load?
The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how great your website looks if it takes too long to load – your users will never see it! A case study has revealed just how important loading times are for websites.
Websites that load in under 2 seconds have a bounce rate (number of users clicking the page and navigating away without clicking any other pages) of about 9%. Bump that to 5 seconds – just 3 seconds slower – and the bounce rate increases to a stunning 38%. Add 5 more seconds for a 10 second loading time, and your bounce rate will reach 65%.
Your visitors are not going to sit around waiting for your website to load. If it doesn’t work, they’ll probably just return to a search engine like Google to find an alternative. So make sure you optimize your website’s design as much as possible to speed it up – or otherwise, you may lose customers.
Use The Principles Of Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy helps make it easy to find the right button, action, or navigation menu for users. Basically, this consists of building menus, links, and visual elements that scale based on the importance of each element.
For example, on a product details page, the “ADD TO CART” button will be large and prominent, encouraging the customer to add the product to their shopping cart immediately.
Other related – but less important – elements will be smaller. For example, a button that displays a size chart for a piece of clothing may be present on the same page, but it will not be as obvious or as prominent – because it’s not as important, and the user may be less likely to need it.
Know The Basics Of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the best ways to make a website more competitive and enhance its position in organic search results on websites like Google. SEO is a complex topic – but at its core, it’s about using proper website architecture, high-quality content, and a strategy that focuses on a few core keywords to rank higher in search engines.
You don’t have to be an SEO specialist to design websites – you can always hire someone for that – but knowing the basics of SEO will ensure that each website you build will be ready to adapt to modern SEO best practices.
Incorporate Social Media Links Where Possible
Social media links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other websites are always good to include in web designs. This encourages users to engage more deeply with the brand, and improves its overall web presence.
A good best practice is to integrate social media “buttons” or logos into the footer of your website, as well as on product pages (if applicable) and on blog posts. This allows visitors to easily visit your social media profiles – and to share products, content, and other information from your website with just the click of a button.
Iterate, Iterate, And Iterate Some More
Did we mention that you should iterate? Even a website design that looks great may end up delivering sub-par results once it’s actually tested by users – so you should make user testing and iteration a primary goal when designing a website.
You need to observe the behavior of users when they’re using the website design or prototype, and note any issues that may pop up multiple times – for example, maybe several users can’t figure out how to access the “Search” feature. That may mean you need to make it larger and more prominent.
Then, you can use these insights to create a new iteration of your design – and repeat the process! Frequent A/B testing and user experience testing will ensure that your design is as effective as possible – before your technical team begins to code and develop the actual website.
Use Prototyping Software To Make Iteration Simpler
When you design a website, it’s very helpful to use a tool like Sketch or Invision to create mockups, wireframes, and prototypes – before the actual process of coding and developing a website begins.
With these tools, you can easily create interactive website mockups, alter a design element, change page layouts, add white space, and perform other basic actions without touching a line of code – using drag-and-drop tools and simple editing functions, you can prototype a web design quickly.
This allows for better collaboration, less wasted effort, and a better overall result from the finished product – so we highly recommend incorporating one of these tools into your web design process ASAP.
Invest In Good On-Page Content & Clear Information
Even the most well-designed website won’t live up to its potential if it’s not easy to read and understand the content on the page. When using a website, a user should be able to easily find the information they need.
Whether you write content on your own or hire someone else to do it for you, make sure that the text and content on your website is:
● Clear and easy to read
● Free of jargon and terms that may confuse readers
● Concise and grammatically accurate
To make sure you write content that will actually be helpful to users, put yourself in their shoes. What should they know about? What are they looking to find? What information do they need? Ask yourself these questions – and write your body text, headlines, and other content accordingly.
Minimize The Use Of Stock Photos When Possible
Using a stock photo isn’t always bad, but if all you have on your website is stock photos, this will be obvious to users.
If you do use stock photos, consider altering them or modifying them to match the style of your website – and to make it less obvious that they weren’t taken specifically for your website.
In addition, consider hiring a designer or a photographer to create illustrations, photographs, and other website elements specifically for your website. This will help it seem more professional and appealing.
Need Help Designing Your Website? Australian Internet Advertising Is Here For You!
At Australian Internet Advertising, we follow all of the above best practices – and many more. Our goal is to build the best websites for our clients. We can help you broadcast your brand’s unique value, sell more products and services, and boost visitor engagement with a custom-built website – so whether you’re in Sydney or anywhere else in Australia, contact us now to get a consultation right away.