Designing and building any website is difficult but when it’s for a business there are many key elements that need to be considered when creating it. We know web design is complicated and can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be that way. So if you’re thinking of getting your business started on the world wide web or you just want a few tips for your next web project you’re in the right place. Let us get your next web endeavour off to a flying start with our top 10 web design tips for businesses.
We talk about consistency a lot on this blog but it’s only because consistency is key when marketing any kind of business. Think about it, if your searching for a business that you are going to give your money to you want to make sure it is professional, right? Let’s face it if you land on a website where each page has a different colour scheme, font or tone of voice than the last you’re going to think something shady is going on. Consistency is key when it comes to professionalism. It reassures your customers and clients about who you are, how reliable you are and how professional.
An effective navigation is your bread and butter when it comes to designing any website. It needs to be clear and concise whilst remaining present on all of your website’s pages. A sticky navigation bar located at the top of the page (like this website!) is probably your best bet. Don’t hide the navigation in a hamburger menu you behind some complicated styling. This is frustrating for some users who may not be able to find or even see your menu. A clean cut navigation is key when encouraging users to navigate and stay on your website.
Not to be confused with navigation, your business website needs to be accessible. This means making sure that it can be reached via search engines and is also accessible to people with disabilities. Making your website available to search engines is easy, just submit a sitemap and make sure that your CMS is allowing search bots to crawl the page. When it comes to catering for users with disabilities you need to follow the WCAG checklist. The WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) checklist is a list of requirements compiled and approved by the UK government that all websites need to follow. The checklist includes many different website elements from imagery and videos to text and code.
We’re not going to nag you too much about why you need a responsive web design. We’re just going to outline a few points that you should seriously consider before deciding not to go responsive. Firstly, Google and other search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites, meaning that if your website is not mobile-friendly you can kiss those high search rankings goodbye. Secondly, responsive websites create a better user experience due to the fact that they pretty much adapt themselves to any device they are being viewed on. Finally responsive websites are known for loading a lot faster than a standard desktop website (more on this later).
You need to make sure that you are constantly monitoring your business websites’ loading speed. Slow loading speeds will make your audience unhappy and bounce from you page almost instantaneously. On average, a user will allow a page four seconds to load before bouncing and going somewhere else. So you better make sure your average loading time is below that. We’d recommend that you check your website speed with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. It’ll show you your websites’ exact loading time as well as suggestions on where it could be improved.
Many of the above elements we have spoken about contribute to a user-friendly initiative. However, we’re going back to basics with this tip. We’re talking easy to read typography, no clashing colours, including basic information and no annoying pop-ups. We’ve covered how you can effectively use colours and typography in your web design on this blog before, so we won’t bother you with the details for now. What we are trying to literate in this point is that anything that gets in the way of the user achieving what they want needs to go. Simple.
You would think that contact information is such an obvious thing to include on a business website but you’d be surprised to know that this can be a common website mistake among businesses. You need to provide the at least a contact number and email address. If you’re a brick and mortar store or have an office make sure that you include your location too along with a map. By including this vital information not only do your users know how they can reach you, your website is also now complying with one of Google’s most important search quality guidelines, verified contact information.
8. Less is more.
Adding on to our point about navigation and creating a user-friendly website, you need to keep things as simple and as straight-forward as possible. Be economic with your content, don’t tell the user anything that they don’t need to know. The same goes for images, links, videos, audio clips, the lot. Clutter is never a good look for any website. Only give the user what they need, giving them too much information can quickly become overwhelming and confusing which can result in them quickly leaving your page.
CTAs (call-to-cations) are imperative to the success of your website. They help guide your users through the process and tell them what they need to do next. Without CTAs users can become lost and frustrated and eventually leave your website. An example of an effective CTA could be anything from a prominently placed “sign-up” button to an eye-catching “purchase” button. Make sure that your CTAs are relevant to your website and cleverly placed. Remember that every user is different so a certain CTA may work on one user but not another. The important thing is to test out your CTAs and change them regularly to get the most out of them.
Even when you’re in the design process of creating your website you can always optimise it for digital marketing purposes, including SEO (search engine optimisation). SEO is one of the best marketing channels out there because you don’t have to pay for any advertising, all the work comes from you and your content creation. Research your audience and find out what they are searching for and then come up with ways to incorporate some solutions for them within your content. Just make sure you do this naturally or face some pretty hard-hitting penalties from search engines.