You have to design with the end goal in mind.
Web design isn’t fine art. No one takes a screenshot of their website, prints it out and hangs it next to a photo of their family. So, if your designs don’t scream purpose and point users in the direction you want them to go then you’re missing it.
I often see websites that are little more than an online business card. If you want to engage users and really see your presence on the web impact your business or organization, you have to start with the end. Start with where you want people to end up. If that’s buying a product or signing up for a service then great. If it’s to inform or educate then make sure you’re doing it intentionally and not leaving a ton of opportunity on the table. If you’re not doing it, you can guarantee your competition is.
Make your website trustworthy!
To use your company, prospects have to trust you so you have to clearly demonstrate that your company does what it does well and that you are a credible expert in your field. The specifics of demonstrating credibility depend very much upon the industry, but a few obvious starting points are reviews, testimonials, qualifications, memberships in trade bodies (e.g., guild of master craftsmen), social proof (other clients) and guarantees.
The right mix of credibility factors will depend upon your business and industry, but ensuring that people trust your business and see you as a highly credible provider will boost your conversion rates and add value to every other traffic generating and marketing tactic.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience
I would say if I had to choose a single best actionable design tip it would be to put yourself in the shoes of the target audience. Remember, design is there to serve a purpose in the most effective way possible. The design has to be both practical and pleasing to the eye. Think to yourself, “If I was the target audience, would this make sense to me and does it work as I would expect it to?” Ask what it is the target audience wants and requires and don’t let other things distract you from this.
Set the foundation first
Set the foundation first before you start decorating the walls. In the beginning, designers are anxious to start trying all the colors and fonts – forgetting why or what they’re trying to achieve in the first place. Do the foundation first. Always.
Invest time in learning responsive systems!
Knowing how CSS Grid and Flexbox work will allow you to communicate better with your developers and design websites with an experience that stands the test of time and different device sizes.
Include a “Contact” form and “Call Us Now” and “Email Us Now” buttons upon site load. We always tell clients that when someone is looking for you via mobile they want a way to connect with you. Having the phone, email, and contact form in their face, right away, works!
In every memorable site, there is something that we like. It can be anything: interesting news or funny pictures, videos or useful information. The most important thing is that a large number of users like the content. So, I advise you to simplify user access to content. Good design in 90% of cases is not noticeable even for pros! Do you notice 9gag design?
Bold graphic images.
The saying is “a picture is worth a thousand words” so by giving your audience many, high-quality engaging images that represent your brand, your products, and your services, you’re giving them even more content and more of an opportunity to learn about your business, including what you do and what your message is about.
Use free tools
Use free, in-depth analytics software (such as hotjar.com) for every single website that goes online for a client. Tools like this let you see exactly how your client’s website is being used in real-time.
You can then use this data to follow up with your client and suggest changes in order to increase conversions. To say they’ll be impressed is an understatement. It’s also a solid way to up-sell them to a monthly package!
Don’t be afraid of Gutenberg
If you’re on WordPress, don’t be afraid to try the built-in Gutenberg editor instead of third-party page-builder plugins, especially on newer, simpler pages that don’t require a bunch of bells and whistles. You can build nearly any page you need for most applications with nothing but standard Gutenberg blocks. Your SEO and user metrics will benefit from the extra speed and simplicity.
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