When it comes to web design, knowing how much traffic your site gets is important. You can see what’s working, or not, with your website’s design. However, what does wed design include other than traffic? How do you provide value to site visitors?
We’ve put together some research-backed web design tips to try on your site. These tips can work for sites of all types—from beginner sites to those that are more advanced.
Research-Backed Design Tips for Your Site
Here are some of the best design tips to create a site that converts visitors, looks beautiful and best of all, offers more value to your site visitors.
1). Structural Layout: let’s take a look at these one at a time:
a). Visual hierarchy: this is a design element that determines the prominence of design elements and their placement on the page. In other words, visual hierarchy is a way to guide site visitors to those elements you want them to see first. This can be done via the use of arrangement, size, color, visual contrast, etc.
Visual elements are placed in such a way that the visual cues are set in multiples. For example, you can use one element high on the page, such as an image or video to gain the visitors’ attention. This method is used to guide site users ultimately to a call to action.
b). Use key-phrase headline: use a keyphrase headline high on the homepage on each and every page of your site. Your site visitor should know what they’ll find on the page—it should be the information they’re looking for.
Make sure the phrase is clear and to the point. Using a vague, catchy phrase only causes confusion and you’ll lose traffic as a result.
c). Keep the important information above the fold: make sure to keep important information, such as what services your company provides, above the fold. Ensure site visitors don’t have to scroll for important information. Instead, make this prominent on the page, above the fold.
d). Avoid placing all calls to action at the top: think of how it is when you visit a site and see the CTA directly at the top of the page. It feels like it’s “in your face,” and there’s pressure to perform the action. This can be off-putting for many people.
Instead, use content that acts as a persuasion to readers. Keep reader engagement with persuasion and place your major call to action at the bottom of the page. Your reader will then have time to make up their minds on whether or not to follow-through with the CTA.
e). Use standard page layouts: while you want to have a unique website, users will be looking for a more or less standard layout. Why? Because the layout will guide them to the information they’re looking for. Standard layouts include these elements in specific places:
- Logo at top left of the page
- Horizontal navigation near the header
- Search bar at the top of the page
- Social icons at the bottom of the page
- Mobile responsive design for the entire page
2). Visuals: here are some tips for use of images on your site pages:
a). Use photos of people: it’s been proven with research—faces are important. Think of it—newborns first look into the faces of their parents and siblings. In fact, faces hold a newborn’s gaze more than anything else. As we get older, faces are still important.
Faces draw attention and increase conversion rates. Why? Because faces encourage interaction. Faces of people also add credibility to testimonials when the two are combined on sales pages.
In addition, images of people give your site a more human touch. You want your site to be relatable to humans, so use images correctly.
b). Avoid stock images of people: OK, we said to use pictures of people; however, you have to use the right types of images. Stock images have their use, but it’s not on your site. They don’t have the “real” feel, as a result they don’t help engagement or improve your site’s credibility.
Instead, show your team, use pictures of real people. It doesn’t matter if the people in the images are polished and perfectly presented. In fact, your site visitors will find more relatability if some of your images appear more unpolished.
c). Faces can be used as visual cues: faces, positioned in the right places, can offer visual clues to site visitors by directing their attention to other elements.
Make sure to use line of sight with facial images. Use the image faces as a guide to where site visitors should look. Then, turn your visitors’ attention to value/benefit statements or CTAs.
3). Navigation and Links: these are also important elements to help site visitors move around the site to find the information they need.
a). Use descriptions: navigation offers a great opportunity to communicate with site users. Visitors usually first scan the header on a site page. Place menus and other information here in order to have it seen.
Be sure to use navigation guides that are descriptive, not generic. Not only will visitors find these more useful, but search engines will also find them.
b). Home is on the left: when it comes to providing a “home” link, always place it on the left, as this is where visitors are used to finding it. The order of the other menu items isn’t as important.
c). Use care when linking to blog posts from service pages: you want site visitors to remain focused on the CTA on your service page, which is to buy your service. You convert them into a lead; however, if you include links to other pages, such as the site’s blog, visitors will leave and forget what they should do, which is follow your CTA on the service page.
In other words, don’t add any distractions to your service page. Keep the focus on the CTA so more site visitors will follow-through.
The same goes for adding links to other websites. Avoid this, too.
d). Don’t use social media icon in the header: keep social media icons out of the header of your site. This is another distraction for site visitors.
Instead, place social media buttons in the footer.
3). Writing: use of text can cause readers to remain on the page or leave. Here are some tips to keep site visitors engaged.
a). Use meaningful subheadings: use subheadings in a meaningful way—avoid any vagueness. Subheads are a way to guide visitors to the information they need quickly. Many visitors will only scan the page, looking for specific information, rather than take the time to read the entire page. This also helps your on-page SEO.
b). Keep paragraphs and lines short: again, the goal is to keep information manageable for visitors. This means lines should be short and quick to read. Paragraphs should only have about 3-4 lines, and no more. Remember, visitors will be scanning for the information they need.
c). Use simple language: another important part of site content is that language should be simple. Avoid the use of jargon that people new to the topic won’t understand. And remember that visitors will be coming to your site from around the world. If they need to use a translation tool, keeping the language simple will make it easier for the tools to correctly translate your message.
There are many other design elements we could cover, but these are some of the main factors to consider when designing your site and its content. Remember to design your site with visitors in mind. Make it easy for them to follow-through on CTAs and find the information they need.