What you need is for people to find your website, stay on your website, and convert on your website.
Great. So how do we make that happen when there are 1.8 billion other websites the make up the world wide web, who are all trying to do that exact same thing?
Using tools like SEO and PPC are crucial for guiding people to your website, but how do you get people to stay there once they’ve made it?
If a user can’t find and feel for exactly what they’re looking for, within 15 seconds of being on your site, they will hit the back button and continue to a more user-friendly site. This can happen even if you have lower prices, a superior product, or a better fit for that specific customer. If they hit the back button, they’re gone.
So how do we help users give us the time of day?
Must-Have Web Design Principles
Whether or not you use effective web design principles can make or break your website. Even though a strong social media presence is more important than ever, your website is still your online base of operations. It lends you credibility, and it is where customers can formally order your services.
Web design principles and trends in web development will both play an important role in keeping users on your site. And while trends can be ever changing, we’ve got 4 unwavering web design principles that can reliably help you step up your game.
1. A Simple And Neat Layout
Writers live by the phrase "less is more." The same rule of thumb applies to successful website design.
Clean. Crisp. Direct.
You can’t go wrong with a website that reflects these adjectives.
Avoid things like large bodies of text that will quickly scare viewers away. While your aim might be to be helpful and informative, the user will more than likely want to avoid a wordy information overload.
Image by Neil Patel
All information needs to be organized so that customers can find it easily. The same goes for the tasteful use of images. Your user’s eyes should be able to flow from one piece of information to the next without hassle.
Additionally, a clutter-free layout will allow visitors to find places on your website that already increase the likelihood of visitor engagement, like your blog.
2. The Less Color, the Better
"Less is more" applies to the amount of color on your website as well.
Shamrock green, burnt orange, and royal purple are all fantastic colors, but that doesn't mean they will look good together. In turn, the more color you put on your website, the more distracting it will be. You want the user to be focused on what you have to offer; distracting them with all the colors of the rainbow isn’t going to be your best bet for conversions.
Instead of picking random colors, focus on colors that represent your brand. Or if you do venture into other colors, keep in a little marketing psychology in mind. For example, different colors evoke different emotions in viewers. It is said that blue sends vibes of trustworthiness while green makes the viewer feel at peace.
Keep your goals in mind while deciding on the look and feel of your website, not just what you think looks nice. Use color to enhance, but not overshadow what’s important...like where and how to navigate around your site.
3. Stock Imagery Is Not Your Go-To
Nothing screams "lack of professionalism" or "potential scam" like using stock images on your website.
Stock photos are readily available photos that you pay a fee to use. So readily available that we feel we’ve seen most hundreds of times.
Not convinced? Just check out this scary statistic from business.com,
The first search result for “freedom” on Shutterstock is this “Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature.” When you plug the same image into TinEye, it comes up more than 20,000 times on other websites—not the best way to represent your brand’s individuality.
The problem with these photos is everyone has seen them. Visitors will know right away that the photos don't accurately represent your workforce. Thus, they will be less likely to trust you.
Snapping your own professional photos is always our first choice, but if you must use stock photos, take these few tips into consideration:
- Check out HubSpot's list of websites have the best non-cheesy stock photos
- When you search for images, search for specific details that you have about the picture in mind, not abstract concepts like “joy” or “wealthy”
- Make artful edits. (with the rights to doctor the image) You can do this with a free app like Canva to edit things like filters, tones, or even text overlay or graphics.
4. Calls To Action
How can you expect conversions when you never invite your audience to convert? Ask and invite. Call to ACTION. Nothing engages visitors and potential customers like calls to action.
Calls to actions are messages that encourage people to engage in a certain action. But there’s a little more to it. It’s got to be compelling. It should leave users wanting more, they should want to click in to see what’s on the other side. This could be an invitation to “Learn More”, “Start Free Trial”, or “Get the Guide” on the homepage of your website.
CTAs are also often included at the bottom of a body of text as a final thought. They ask readers to comment, reach out, or share what they've just read, at bottom of your blog entries for example. (hint… this is a good idea…)
Need Additional Web Design Help? Reach Out!
Keep in mind that your website is often where your first impression is made. Will it last? Will it stand out? Will it resonate positively?
These four tools are a great place to get started, but building a strong web presence will take a thoughtfully constructed game plan.