Web Design Best Practice in 2021
…OK, we’ve all read the statistics. You have less than a second to make a first impression. And this is nowhere more true than when it comes to your business website. But what exactly constitutes website design best practice?
Your website design is the first thing that visitors experience, and as noted it takes them just around 50 milliseconds to decide whether they want to stay or bounce off to another site—so, the stakes are high.
An optimized, well-designed website highlights your credibility and leads to more conversions. Your website should make user experience (UX) as streamlined as possible. Here’s how you can make that happen:
Keep Text To A Minimum
Nobody likes massive text blocks. While you’ll need to provide prospective clients relevant, in-depth information through your blog posts, your web pages must use as little text as possible. Your homepage and landing pages are about your brand and your products, but you’ll have to describe them using just a few words.
Engage Visitors Visually
You’ll need to provide visitors visually engaging content that breaks up the text. Visual content is also helpful when it comes to explaining your brand and products to prospective customers. Studies have shown that 85% of businesses marketed their services or products to customers through video content in 2020.
Moreover, well-thought-out visuals are self-explanatory. For instance, instead of a textual explanation about your products, you could use a high-quality image that acts as a diagram and highlights each feature in a few words through arrows. Your product pictures need to be on point, so it’s best to hire a professional photographer.
Visuals are also important when you’re telling the brand’s story. For example, Campos Coffee is an ethical producer of specialty coffees. Their homepage offers you all the information you need at a glance. Take a look:
When visitors scroll further down, they see sections that outline the company’s philosophy and history.
Very little text supplements the visual content. The photography enables the visitor to form an emotional connection to the product due to the brand’s constantly highlighted ethical philosophy. Visual content is an essential part of brand storytelling, and Campos Coffee has used it as their central medium.
Short Sentences Are The Way To Go
We live in the age of information—perhaps too much information. People are constantly bombarded with information they neither asked for nor want. If it’s difficult for them to comprehend instantly or takes too much time, many prospective clients won’t try to engage with your content.
Effective website copywriting is key. Shorter sentences are quicker and easier to read. Instead of using large walls of text, use short, snappy, informative sentences. Whenever you need to use long sentences, mix them up with short ones. Variety improves readability.
Use Short Paragraphs
It’s usually fine to use longer paragraphs for your blog posts and in-depth content. However, your homepage and landing pages should use short, quick sentences that make it easy for your clients to understand what you’re offering them immediately.
Use shorter, information-filled paragraphs that add to prospective clients’ knowledge about your brand on these webpages. Each new section should have fresh, relevant information. This way, you can eliminate unnecessary textual clutter and emphasize your call-to-action in a better way.
It’s best to have your CTA in a separate paragraph so visitors who are scrolling through your website can instantly see it. The CTA isn’t as effective if you bury it in a wall of text.
Condense your content into lists with bullet points whenever it’s relevant and possible. Clients can quickly scan through lists, and they allow you to outline the essential aspects of your product or service.
Use A Color Scheme That Matches Your Branding Strategy
When you’re deciding on the colors to use on your website, it’s best to ensure they’re consistent with your overall branding strategy. Being consistent with your branding ensures that you’re easily recognizable to your customers across various touchpoints and marketing channels.
Customers trust brands that employ consistent branding, leading them to increase revenue by 33%. Therefore, it’s best to choose a color scheme for your website after considering your logo. Does your website’s color scheme match your logo and your overall branding colors?
Take Pepsi, for instance. The chances are that you thought of their logo or branding colors the minute you read that brand name. Now take a look at their website.
Pepsi has always chosen blue—from its logo to aluminum drink cans and bottle tags and caps. A blue website is consistent with its branding strategy. Customers already associate the color blue with Pepsi, and they’ve capitalized on that through their website.
Make Your CTA As Obvious As Possible
You should make your website Call To Action (“CTA”) as straightforward as possible. A prominent and powerful CTA helps ensure that your visitors know precisely what steps to take next if they’re interested in your product or service.
However, the majority of websites don’t have a CTA button that visitors can spot in under three seconds. Not having a big, clear CTA button on your page is a massive design and marketing flaw. All your webpages—including interior pages—need to have a compelling CTA button to streamline the process for potential customers.
For instance, look at this CTA by Spotify.
The design is simple, and the text minimal, making the CTA message extremely clear. The CTA “Get Spotify Free” stands out.
It’s best to put your CTA where it’s likely to benefit you through more conversions. For instance, blog posts on your website should have CTAs at the top and bottom, so users can see the button before and after reading the piece.
Keep Messaging And Style Consistent
If your central message remains the same on each webpage, your CTA should also be the same. Visitors to your website might browse through your products before converting, so using the same CTA reinforces familiarity. Instead of using variations such as “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now,” it’s best just to have one CTA that keeps the style and messaging consistent.
A good example is Sephora’s website:
Rolling your cursor over any of the products will give you the same CTA button that reads “Quick Look.” Sephora uses this CTA button for all its products—whether they’re fragrances or cosmetics or men’s toiletries or women’s skincare.
However, consistency goes beyond your CTA. Ensure that your language, design, and messaging reinforce your brand identity and leave visitors with lasting, positive impressions.
Your website navigation should make it as easy as possible for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. The best way to accomplish an easily navigated website is to ask yourself what you would do if you were in your visitors’ place.
People visit your website to find out more about your brand or buy your products. How easy are you making this task for them? If your website is complex and involves too many tabs with difficult navigation, your visitors will leave before converting. Most viewers spend 15 seconds on your website, so that’s how long you’ve got to give them the information they need.
Google’s studies have found that visitors tend to find simple websites more appealing than complex ones. Sticking to a standard format and menu allows people to know exactly where to go.
Make sure that you put as few options as possible in the menu to avoid confusing your visitors. Hick’s Law highlights this principle: users take a longer time to make decisions when faced with many complex choices.
Take a look at Uber’s website:
Uber’s website uses the same horizontal menu that Internet users have come to expect. The standard menu makes their website easy to navigate. Visitors will also find that all their options are highlighted in front of them in the most streamlined manner, thereby helping Uber’s conversion rates.
Uber uses a straightforward design with minimal text and makes the CTA extremely obvious. The homepage highlights UberEats and makes it easy for visitors to order food with a click of the “Order now” CTA button.
Instead of spoiling your visitors for choice and overwhelming them, offer appropriate options that make the choice easy. An example of eliminating unnecessary options could be using the brand’s logo in lieu of a “Home” button to link back to your website’s homepage.
Suppose your website consists of a lot of options. In that case, you can highlight the ones you recommend to users on your website and utilize progressive onboarding that minimizes your visitors’ cognitive load. If the tasks are complex, you can break them down into smaller steps. It’s also advisable to add a search bar so visitors can easily navigate through lots of options without having to use an elaborate menu.
Optimize Your Website Design For Mobile Devices
Most visitors to your website use a mobile device to access it. If you haven’t optimized your website for mobile devices, it won’t benefit you the way you want. Internet users spend over half their time online browsing through websites on their mobile phones.
87% of smartphone users utilize their devices to perform at least one Internet search a day. Over half of all searches on Google are carried out using mobile devices. It’s no wonder that Google favors mobile-friendly websites on their results pages—70% of results that come up on the first page are websites that have optimized their design for mobile devices.
The best step to rank high in the SERPs is to optimize your website for mobile devices extensively. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, chances are visitors won’t spend too much time on it.
Invest In SEO
Good search engine optimization (SEO) practices form the backbone of your website’s success. Many websites believe that adding a few keywords does the trick, but SEO is much more complicated than that.
SEO improves your content and makes it relevant, thereby guiding high-quality traffic towards your website. You have to focus on the following on-page elements:
- How easy is it for visitors to navigate and use your website?
- Mobile-friendliness. Is your website’s design optimized for mobile devices?
- Keyword optimization. Does your website regularly use the relevant phrases and keywords that will guide searchers towards it?
- Internal linking. Does your website link to other webpages on your site often?
It’s best to make an XML sitemap for your website that allows search engine crawlers to examine your website’s content more easily. The sitemap shows crawlers your webpages’ location and updates and highlights how all the pages are related. A well-constructed sitemap enables Google to ensure that there’s no duplicate content on your website.
If you’re designing a new website, there are other factors you should take into consideration as well:
- It’s best to go for a high-quality domain extension such as .com, .org, .gov, or .net, instead of non-traditional ones such as .biz or .live.
- Website quality. The more relevant and useful information your website offers visitors, the greater your chances of ranking more highly on SERPs.
- Make sure that authoritative websites using traditional domain extensions link to your webpages. Having high-quality backlinks is essential to rank high on Google.
Improve Your Page Loading Speed
The importance of improving your website’s performance is often overlooked. If your website pages take a long time to load, visitors will likely abandon the website midway through conversions. This is especially true in online retail, and proper ecommerce website optimization can mean the difference between 2% and 5% conversion, so it’s not inconsequential. Adding bulky elements such as videos, images, and other media to your website can adversely affect your loading times.
Google’s research highlights that your bounce rate increases by 32% when your website’s loading time extends from one to three seconds. The bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors abandon your website. If your page takes five seconds to load fully, the likelihood of a bounce increases by 90%.
To improve your loading speed, you can reduce the HTTP requests on your website. You can also decrease images’ file size. Whenever you make design changes, it’s best to use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool that enables you to monitor your webpages’ loading times.
A well-designed website is crucial to the success of your brand and business. Using the improvements highlighted, you can improve your website’s design, convert more visitors, and ultimately increase profits.
By 2023, e-commerce purchases are expected to account for 22% of the global goods market. Consumers are attracted to well-designed websites. It’s up to you to give them relevant content that encourages them to perform conversions.
While you don’t need to implement all these design changes simultaneously, it’s best to start somewhere and do it ASAP. Doing what you can to follow website design best practices in 2021, even if you only adhere to a few of them, will help ensure the success of your website. You’ll need to update your website with fresh content regularly and design improvements to gain an edge over your competitors.