There are a number of ways that you can appeal to customers through your website’s design. The following article outlines some of the industry’s best tips to balance the need for good graphic design with good SEO practices.
Creating eye-catching visuals, curating high-quality content and organizing relevant SEO is now more important than ever in website design. It’s now so prominent because as customers go through their decision-making process, not only will they evaluate their options based on the visual appeal of a website design, but how accessible, relevant, and easy-to-view its content is as well. Therefore, if your website’s design isn’t visually appealing, or if customers can’t find the information they’re looking for, your product or service is likely going to be overlooked in favor of your closest competitor. So, here are some good rules to follow for your website’s design so you don’t get passed over:
Have a Direct Page Title and Description
A page title (title tag) and description (meta description) are kind of like your website’s executive summary; they are written last and summarize the most important information on your website. A web developer will usually write the title tags and meta descriptions during the last phase of the website design process but, like an executive summary, it’s the first thing customers see when they do a Google search, so let’s start there.
Writers, web developers and business owners alike have the desire to come up with extravagant, charming and differentiating descriptions, but most of the time if it’s written that way it’s going to do poorly in the SEO department. So try and stay away from wordy, indirect titles and descriptions when writing the copy for your website. Instead, write a description that is direct, states the services your company provides and lists where your company is located. That way your description gets right to the point for customers and will perform well on search engines. In terms of the title tag, you should essentially aim to have the name of your company, the city it’s located in and the title of what you do so Google will pick it up. Here’s an example of what we mean:
Web Design Victoria | WordPress Websites | IdeaZone.ca
IdeaZone.ca is a full-service web design and digital marketing company in Victoria BC. We specialize in WordPress and e-commerce, as well as provide strategic digital marketing including SEO, PPC, and social media.
Provide Easy Homepage Navigation
This one sounds straightforward but after evaluating hundreds of website designs and layouts it really isn’t.
A high bounce rate can be a huge red flag and, typically, means your website’s design is likely too confusing for customers to navigate or information they’re looking for isn’t in an accessible spot. So, make sure your navigational menu clearly conveys the information you want to provide. Always have a button that directs to pages that talk about your company, a button directing to your services or products, and a button that provides the easiest way to contact your company about services; you can even have your company’s phone number and email in the header to make life really easy for customers. The name of each button on the navigational menu are up to you and should fit your brand but the rule of thumb is, and should always be, “simple is better.”
Direction to social media pages is also important. The power social media is huge for providing information, style and adding a brand personality to your company. Customers more than ever are drawn to brands who are active on social media, so make sure to provide them with a way to view your social pages and engage with your personality. The easiest and most foolproof way to provide access is to add an icon to both your header and footer that links to each one of your social media accounts.
Distribute an Abundance of Call-To-Actions
Make sure your website is designed with a variety of call-to-action buttons or verbal directions. (This point should be bolded, in all caps, double underlined and have ten exclamation points.)
Your customers will almost certainly lose patience if they aren’t given direction on how to navigate throughout your website or given a reason to stay. “click here”, “find out more”, “contact us for a free quote” are all call-to-actions that sound lame and boring, but they really do work. Have a call-to-action on every page that is related to the product, service or information being provided on that page. This will give your potential customers the ability to find out more if they’re still not convinced they should purchase your product or use your service.
Use Clear Images and Practice Consistent Style & Branding
Pixelated images can be one of the biggest turnoffs out there (beer goggles won’t even help). Create and save your images in a high-quality JPEG or PNG format and optimize them for the web so they don’t take an eternity to load. Try this easy-to-use image optimizer.
We recently shared an article on our Facebook page that lists the top free stock photo websites (Pexels.com and Unsplash.com are our favorites). These stock photos aren’t your average, business person in front of a white background, stock photos either! All of the images are professional quality and can be downloaded in a variety of pixel sizes. They’ll give your website an added style that will draw potential customers in.
We can’t forget, “use clear images and practice consistent style” applies to your logos and branding as well. Logos should be clear and the style of your website should be consistent with your branding, and all font(s) should be both clear and consistent and contrasting to the background color of your website. Pink or neon yellow on a white background is a no-go.
Make Sure Your Mobile Design is Compatible and Easy to View
Have you ever been on your phone, clicked on a link on Facebook or Twitter, and the company’s web page comes up and you need a Sherlock Holmes-sized magnifying glass to read the text? Yeah, don’t be that company. Instead, provide short and concisely written content that is in a large enough font size for a reader who is even moderately visually impaired. Also, make sure your website’s desktop version and its images are compatible and clear on a smartphone. This way viewers aren’t squinting at the text, finding it hard to focus on the image, or getting frustrated over clarity.
Statistically speaking, this point is more important than ever due to the increasing percentage of smartphone users. Approximately 75% of Canadians own a smartphone according to a study done by Catalyst (click here to view the study: http://catalyst.ca/2016-canadian-smartphone-behaviour/).
Finally, an old rule of thumb most website developers like to follow (or should) is the Three-Click Rule. The Three-Click Rule means that most customers will leave your website and go elsewhere if they can’t find what they’re looking for in three clicks. Therefore, organize all of your content so that it’s quick and easy to access in approximately three clicks. If you combine that with the four main points above it will make viewing your website both easy and timely for customers.