A website plays a significant role in your online marketing presence and creates a brand’s reputation around the globe. When designing a website, brands should keep in mind all the intricate details and work on the various types of impacts that are brought upon the users when they are first exposed to your website. An appealing and user-friendly web interface will not only be perceived positively but will also encourage the users to visit your website again and even mention it amongst their friends and family.
Taking into consideration the immense competition, appealing aesthetics and an informative interface regarding the brand’s offerings isn’t enough to set a lasting perception in the minds of users. People are already exposed to amazing sites online and expect to see more than that. In order to penetrate through the impregnable noise generated by great websites, established brands invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to attract as many users as possible. Because they can afford to do that. However, before even questioning your ability to invest just as much, the more important question is – Is the return even worth spending thousands of dollars on your web design and development?
Two things first. Primarily, not every business has the budget set aside for investing in their web development. Secondly, if you know the drill vis-à-vis what makes a great website great, you don’t even need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to rank it amongst the leading searches in the SERP!
To cut you some slack, after going thoroughly through the wide amassment of empirical data and physical evidence, we bring to you, the top 20 MUST HAVE characteristics your website must possess to be ranked as a leader in your respective industry.
1. “Keep it simple stupid”
One of the most important characteristic of a good website design is to keep everything simple.
The simpler the better!
The KISS principle solely focuses on adopting a simple approach rather than making things complicated. People tend to like simple and minimal features more than the complicated ones. Despite being an element of graphics and logo designs; the KISS rule works perfectly when it comes to web designing. Unnecessary options on a particular website tend to confuse users causing delay in the time it takes for them to make a decision.
Users come to your site with a purpose. Make sure that your website design is simple enough to not distract them. Although, an appealing interface design adds value to the website but sometimes going over the hedge can cause you more harm than good!
Simple and user-friendly interface does not only allow the users to navigate easily also gives them a much clear picture of what the brand has to offer.
The website design of Paluch Shelter is a great example of this manifestation. Simple, yet an astounding display of warmth, care, and obviously, a breathtaking picture of a golden retriever sets up a feel that thousands of glimmering words or flashy media would have never been able to generate.
2. Easy Navigation
According to 94% of the respondents, the easy navigation feature holds immense significance in website designing. An easily navigable website will help users to find the information they are looking for much quicker. Thus, encouraging them to visit the site more often. For this reason, make sure to smartly place most important information in the most easily accessible spots. The average visitor attention span is hardly few seconds and if they find difficulty to find their desired information, you may lose some potential consumers! That’s why navigation schemes should not be so elaborate and placed on easily accessible spots. A clear and easy-to-understand interface will help users to navigate through the webpages relatively quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, when developing your navigation strategy, you should consider a call to action. What is it that you want people to do on your site? Place an order? Email for a quote? Become a member? Come to your brick-and-mortar store? Call to speak with a customer service rep? Make your goals clear and obvious.
3. Well Functioned Website
As much as its important to design an easily navigable website, functionality is another significant trait of a good website design. When a website runs quickly, correctly and serves the purpose of the brand well, it is said to be functional. Before publishing your website to general visitors, make sure there is no room for improvement left.
Each webpage must meet the standard web designing aspects to ensure fast and functional browsing. All webpages of a website should be fast and functional for visitors can visit any page first and set an impression about it in his/her mind. Slow, breached or inefficient website will adversely impact the visitors and instantly drive them away from the website.
4. Clear Call to Actions and FAQ Display
A call to action is necessary as it gives a clear sense and direction to the potential customers about their next move eventually pushing them down to the sales funnel. There are no such restrictions on the number of calls to actions used. You can input as much as you like as far it make sense keeping in mind the users’ requirement.
As a brand, you should be clear about your brand’s purpose and offerings. Perception and interpretation are subjective. For this reason, you need to make sure that visitors perceive your brand’s values just how you want them to perceive. It is extremely important to make your visitors feel important and valued. It is your responsibility to provide prompt responses to your visitors and solve any query they are facing. It is best to provide concise and clear answers as you hear concerns from customers and receive feedback via email, gather up the most frequently asked questions into a list and offer clear, concise answers. Questions often revolve around materials and ingredients used (for allergy reasons), shipping information, company history, sizing (for apparel brands) and cancellation or return policies.
5. Show, don’t tell”
The extensive use of imagery is another important characteristic that is needed to keep the users interest going. Pictures not only reveal more information, but gives a much clear idea about what the brand has to offer.
Notice the above picture, the woman wearing proper cleaning gloves and apron is giving an idea that the company offers professional cleaning services. Written text may have not generated the same impact as the picture. Moreover, the position of the woman is hinting towards the bottom panel subconsciously persuading consumers to avail their services. Techniques like these show visual cues on websites directs users to primary conversion points.
You must incorporate high resolution pictures that goes perfectly with the overall theme of your business. This will set a great reputation in the eyes of your online audience.
Increasing usage of Infographics
Avoid using large paragraphs of text. Use infographics instead. Infographics are more persuasive and eye catching. Not only that, they help in generating more traffic which is beneficial for websites.
6. Aesthetics are everything
Aesthetics are everything. As the heading suggests, aesthetics i.e. the visual representation of a website holds utmost importance. Regardless of the quality text you have written on your website, you must make sure that your website is appealing enough to hold the user on your website longer than usual. But how exactly will you do that? Make sure you include three vital elements that make up a good website design. These are colors, typography, and balance. While colors make your website visually appealing thereby maintaining user’s interest, typography adds value to your content and enhances the message explained there. Amongst all this, the basic principle of maintaining balance is absolutely necessary at all times. Human eyes are tended to get more attracted towards balanced compositions which is why you should always keep this principle in mind when designing a website.
7. Colors Elicit Emotions
Colors elicit emotions. Whatever colors you use on your website will impact users. While the impacts may be subjective, they will generate similar feelings. Its best if you pick colors from the same family as they look more sophisticated and harmonious. Heavy contrasting colors like purple and pink have been proven to be distracting. While its recommended to use vibrant colors for call to action buttons as they make them more prominent, make sure the bright colors compliment the overall background design to some extent. The recommended number of colors to be used in a particular website design are four colors. You can use more according to the nature of business you operate in.
8. Enhance your text with Typography
Typography adds value to the text and brings a powerful impact over how an individual perceives the content overall. Different typeface styles make your website look interesting and appealing. You must follow a few font rules to create a good website design. Make sure to use sans serif fonts for main body text, you can deviate between two to three typefaces with a recommended twelve to sixteen points. Best examples for Sans Serif fonts are Arial and Verdana as they are easily readable. To ensure a good website design, don’t use more than three different fonts.
9. Balance is Imperative
One of the important principles of design, balance creates a sense in your compositions. It is not mandatory to literally balance both sides of an element. One side can be saturated and filled than the other, but there is still balance present to it. You need to understand the simple yet complex idea behind this principle and follow it in order to create a beautiful and balanced website.
Other than being an important principle of design, Balance is vital for the aesthetical representation of a website design is balance. Make sure your website design is according to the individuals you are targeting. If your target market includes children, make sure to keep your text cool and funky. However, these types of texts will not be suitable if you are targeting elderly people. For them, it’s better to put in large texts so it’s easy for them to read.
10. The two important Ps of Content
Content either makes your website or breaks it. The two most important principles to follow when it comes to website content are Powerful and Persuasive. Your content should be a combination of both in order to grasp and maintain users’ interest. Failure to do so will drive your potential consumers away. The powerful content will help your business to be conceived as informative and knowledgeable. A persuasive content will generate trust and confidence in the visitors visiting your website and will encourage them to avail your products or services.
Apart from creating Powerful and Persuasive content, keyword-filled content holds immense significance as it aids in getting high search engine rankings. Most internet users rely on popular search engines like google to look for their desired data. When your website link will be shown on the first page of google, people will visit your website relatively more than other similar websites. Thus, generating more traffic to your websites.
11. Fast Browsing
Fast Browsing is one of the most salient features and is another important characteristic your website must possess. A famous quotation says, “Never judge a book by its cover.”
Contrary to this belief, websites are mostly subject tot instant judgements as statistics suggest it take 3 seconds for an average user to form an opinion about the website and decide whether he/she wants to stay or leave. For this reason, it is recommended to all businesses dealing online to go with the lazy loading technique as it will help load the image on the fold relatively faster thereby maintaining the users’ interest. Accelerated mobile pages are another feature which will enhance browsing speed of webpages especially on mobile devices.
12. Cross browser compatibility
Adding cross browser compatibility feature is imperative when it comes to creating a good website design. It is important to make sure that all your website functions and features are available to everyone. Failure to do so may lead to loss of potential customers who may not be able to get access to all your website’s features through different browsers. Your website should be compatible and must have the ability to function across different browsers which include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and even internet explorer. That way a potential client can read your information no matter what browser he is using. It’s a delicate balance between features and compatibility, it is recommended to select features that you know is consistent across all browsers.
13. Don’t let the conventional design die
Trying to stand out doesn’t always prove beneficial. Sounds confusing, right? Don’t worry we will help you understand these intricate details. If you have just decided to make a website in an attempt to make new buyers online, make sure to design your website according to the traditional website designing layouts. Go for general website designs, this will help people relate to your website in relatively less time. The familiarized website design will make your users comfortable and encourage them to visit the websites more often. Still confused? Don’t worry we will give you some examples to understand this characteristic much better. Some conventional design elements include search bar at the top right side of the website, the contact us panel at the bottom of the page, clickable brand logo at the top of the page that redirects you to the main page.
14. Consistency is the KEY
A famous quote of Christine Kane says, “Consistent actions create consistent results” Well that does apply to website designing too. A consistent approach to website designing doesn’t only guarantees success but also aids in gaining trust of the online audience.
But how you can bring and maintain consistency? Well for starters, make sure to create the same navigation through out the website. The text on each page on the website should be same. Font sizes may differ but make sure they belong from the same family. Apart from maintaining consistency over texts, make sure to apply it on the imagery as well. If you are using vector images, make sure to use it through out the website. Conflict between the quality or genre of images may set a misleading and bad reputation of the brand in the eyes of the users.
15. Importance of E Format
Aesthetics of the website are just the only factors to be looked upon. There are other things too. You must put in extra efforts to make your website stand out amongst the others. The E Format, for instance, holds immense significance. You must make sure to place your text according to this format as most people go through websites in this manner. You must make sure to input most important points on the top left side of the page as that is the most viewed corner and place least important information at the bottom right side of the page as that side is mostly ignored by many users.
16. DON’T let them go
Usability is often neglected by many businesses when creating a good website design. Not only usability is important but functionality matters too. You must make sure that your website gives an amazing user experience and encourages the users to visit your website again. Top tip when designing your website?
Do in depth research and analysis about your target market. Find and identify their needs, thoroughly study their demographics and make your website on the basis of those findings. This way, consumers will find exactly what they are looking and will definitely visit again. Now that you know what the consumers are looking for, make sure to smartly place important points on an easily accessible spot so users can access it easily and in much lesser time. Statistics highly recommend that users should be able to get access to their desired information on your website in three clicks or less.
Using these techniques will not only help them in using your website for a long time but they will definitely visit again. It is always better to do extensive competitor analysis, be prepared for any counter backs instead of giving up and letting your consumers go.
17. Accessibility for everyone
Statistics conducted recently at Statista reveals that 52.2% website traffic from around the world comes from Mobile Phone usage. You must make sure that your website design looks equally appealing on Mobile as it looks on a laptop or PC. Mobile friendly website is yet another important characteristic your website must possess in order to create an effective website design. But how will you make your website mobile friendly?
Well for starters make sure your website is accessible from android, IOS and any other operating systems. Moreover, make sure that your website is accessible from various browsers including Safar, Google chrome and Mozilla Firefox. To maximize your conversions, make sure to design an optimized website design with flexible and more responsive designs.
This is another important characteristic when designing a good website design. Suppose a user visited your website and fell in love with your amazing services. He/she decided to try your products instantly but couldn’t find your contact number or email. Do you expect that user to keep looking for a way to contact you? Well you shouldn’t because there are a lot of other similar businesses like yours out there. Not only will that individual leave your website and never visit again but there is a good chance he/she will mention bad reviews about your website leading to bad reputation of your business. You would never want that right?
So, make sure to place important information such as contact, email, social media handles on prominent places on your website. Adding google map will add more value to your overall design. And encourage users to prefer your website over others.
18. Social Media Integration
Social media platforms have become extremely influential in our lives. This is why it is considered an important marketing tool for many businesses. No matter what product or service category you deal in, it is always recommended to boost your presence of social media on your websites. Some popular social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest and Google.
19. Constant need of optimization
Optimization is a necessary element and must be looked upon constantly in order to ensure great user experience. Provided the immense competition, you must make sure that your website is user friendly and perfectly meet the current market standards. Don’t forget to add new features to maintain your website traffic and users’ interest. Instead of looking at your website from business point of view, try looking at it from a user’s perspective or ask some other individual. This will give you a clear idea of how a consumer sees it and what more they expect to see.
Make sure to put all these must-have characteristics in order to create an effective website design that will not only attract users and increase website traffic for your website but will also help in creating a positive image of your business around the globe.
An SSL certified website is necessary when it comes to preventing theft and/or any other illegal activity. No matter what product or service category you deal in, it is necessary to secure your website with an SSL Certificate. Users tend to relatively trust these types of websites as it ensures secure transfer of personal data and prevents mostly all kinds of and builds trust amongst them. This will allay the fears of the online users and encourage them to visit the website more often.
In nutshell, make sure your website design consists of all the characteristics mentioned above. Website acts and depicts frontals of an organization’s offerings and goals to the global audience. That’s why you need to look after all the intricate details when designing a website. Having all these characteristics will not only provide a seamless experience to visitors but will also aid in excelling your business image in your respective industry earning you the recognition and place you have always wished for!