Want to know how to generate more sales and provide a good user experience? Here's how to design a successful business website.
With the rising popularity of self-serve website builders, nowadays anyone can put together a website. The easiest way to create a professional website is to use WordPress – an open-source content management system (CMS) that lets you build a fully-fledged website in no time.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top web design considerations to keep in mind when designing your website, along with best practices to follow when building a website for your business.
1. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate
No design element has a bigger impact on usability than website navigation. If visitors can’t navigate your site, most will simply click out. An intuitive navigation structure will help you create a better user experience.
Put your navigation links where users expect to find them – typically at the top of the page. You should also limit the number of top-level options to seven to avoid overwhelming your visitors.
For example, Envato Elements have included a clearly visible search bar above the main navigation bar, at the top of the page.
In general, visitors should be able to find the page they’re looking for within three clicks.
Here are a some best-practice tips for nailing your navigation:
- Use clear and descriptive labels for your menu
- Use breadcrumbs on every page to show visitors where they are
- Include a search bar to help visitors search for keywords
- Include navigation links in your footer
2. Choose the Right Color Palette
Colors can also even evoke different emotions and feelings. For instance, the color red is often associated with energy and passion, while the color yellow corresponds with happiness.
The following infographic shows what different colors mean and how brands can use them:
Here are some best-practice tips for choosing a color palette for your site:
3. Maintain Consistent Branding
Branding is crucial to ensure customers remember and recognize your brand. If a visitor lands on your homepage, they’ll expect to see familiar branding elements.
Of course, that doesn’t mean every page should look the same – sometimes it makes sense to use different layouts. However, logos, color palettes, typefaces, and even brand voice are all areas that you should keep consistent across your website. But you shouldn’t stop there! 75% of consumers expect brands to provide a consistent experience wherever they engage with them. Make sure to maintain the same branding across all of your channels, including social media.
As an example, take a look at HostGator’s website:
And its Facebook page:
You’ll notice that they use the same branding for both channels. This helps to create a more consistent brand experience for both existing and potential customers.
Here are some tips to help you maintain consistent branding:
4. Write Scannable Content
A large part of designing a functional website is its scannability – the ease with which visitors can quickly read and understand the content on your pages.
Online users rarely read every single word. Eye tracking studies from the Nielsen Norman Group found that users tend to scan pages in an F-shaped pattern.
The pattern shows that users tend to scan web pages left to right, starting from the top of a page. Then they move down the page and scan again from left to right.
The implications are clear here – you need to make your content scannable. By making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for, you’ll provide a better user experience for your visitors. To speed up your content output and reduce errors, proofreading tools such as Grammarly or Essay Writer can help ensure your text is easy to read and more scannable for users.
Here’s how you can make your content more scannable:
- Follow a logical visual hierarchy and arrange elements in order of importance
- Use headings and subheadings throughout your content
- Break up large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs
- Make ample use of white space to improve readability
5. Make Your Calls-to-Action Stand Out
Another key design consideration when creating your website is the call to action (CTA) – a prompt that tells visitors what to do next.
CTAs typically take the form of a button or hyperlink that takes visitors to a page where they can make a purchase, download a free trial, or sign up for a newsletter. Including a CTA is crucial to generate conversions and sales, not just empty visits.
Here’s an example of an effective CTA from the Tailor Brands homepage:
The webpage is clean, and the placement of the gradient design draws the attention toward the center of the page. The call to action is the main focus: enter your business name and get started. Tailor Brands is a full service business building company and they convey that message concisely with a simple slogan: “Launch your business in just a few clicks”.
Here’s how to create effective CTAs for your website:
- Use action-oriented words (e.g., Sign up for a free trial, get started, download a copy today, etc.)
- Make your CTA button stand out with contrasting colors
- Use an A/B testing platform to test your CTAs
- Place your CTAs in prominent locations
6. Ensure Your Theme is Responsive
More people are browsing the web through mobile devices than ever before. With over 4.28 billion mobile internet users, you must ensure that your site is responsive. This means that it uses a grid-like design that dynamically adjusts to fit any screen size. A responsive design lets users easily browse your site, whether they’re on a desktop or smartphone.
The good news is there are plenty of responsive WordPress themes you can install. These themes are already mobile-friendly, however you’ll want to test your website on different devices and browsers to ensure you’re providing the best browsing experience.
Here are additional best practices for creating a mobile-friendly website:
- Limit the number of form fields on your pages
- Ensure your buttons and links are tappable
- Use clear and legible text
7. Optimize Loading Times
Few things are as frustrating as waiting for a page to load. Online users won’t hesitate to click off if your site fails to deliver a fast browsing experience. In fact, data shows that 73.1% of people bounce after just three seconds.
What’s more, 45.4% of consumers say they’re less likely to make a purchase when loading times are slower than expected. While you still want to design a professional-looking website, you don’t want to overlook performance either.
Here are a few tips to improve your loading times:
- Enable browser caching
- Compress and optimize your images
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Eliminate any unnecessary plugins
8. Build Credibility
Your website is often the first point of contact for potential customers. When visitors interact with your brand for the first time, they want to know they’re dealing with a trustworthy company.
One way to communicate trustworthiness is to invest in premium WordPress themes. These are optimized for search engines and offer a great degree of flexibility in terms of design. Another way to build credibility with your visitors is to publish relevant content.
A good example is this website for nursing careers. It publishes a lot of informative articles to help visitors learn more about nursing as a profession.
Think about the questions that your audience is asking and create content that answers those queries. You can also use keyword research tools like Keyword Planner to find keywords that you can target.
Here’s how you can build credibility with your content:
- Use images and graphics to illustrate a concept
- Research and cite your sources to back up your claims
- Check for any spelling or grammar mistakes
- Get straight to the point and avoid fluff
To Wrap Up
A well-designed website is a must – it helps you leave a positive impression on your visitors, delivers a good user experience, and drives more conversions. Follow the tips as laid out here to design a website that drives measurable results for your business.
Guest Author: Sarang Padhye
Sarang is a passionate content marketer and loves creating content for his blog.