We expect a lot of our websites.
A website used to be just a digital business card or portfolio, providing interested parties with contact information and a brief synopsis of what your company is up to. As technology has evolved, so has the usability of just about any website.
Think about your current website. It’s kind of a front door to your business, cracked open to give viewers a clear vision for what your company does, how your brand feels, and how you collaborate with clients.
It’s a point of access for critical information, a home base for users inside and outside of your office, and a wealth of information about your industry and how you are integrated with it.
Users take .05 seconds to form an opinion about your website.
That’s right. The average internet user is either wowed or completely turned off by a website in 50 milliseconds, and a lot of that has to do with website design. Potential customers base their judgment of a company’s credibility and professionalism on their website, which is usually the first interaction a customer has with any company. If your website doesn’t deliver in that first glimpse, you could be losing business.
That is a lot of pressure — the lucky thing is there are a few steps you can take to put your best foot forward when it comes to winning the internet.
Keep colors and design consistent with your brand.
Your company’s website is an extension of its identity. If it doesn’t accurately represent your company’s brand, it will most likely fall flat. From primary photos, to fonts, to colors, your website design goes a long way to representing your brand.
Use short sentences and paragraphs.
While it’s important to include pertinent information on your website, too much text could overwhelm the user and turn them away faster than a bad font choice.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short, and use elements like slideshows, infographics, and charts to break down complex information for your users. Once your awesome design gets a user interested, your text has to be enticing and quickly give them the information they never knew they needed.
Simplify your navigation.
We have all encountered website navigation that gets cumbersome with too many drop-down menus or links, or confusing labels. Simplifying your primary navigation makes it easy for your users to find what they need, fast. If your website has a library of blog posts or portfolio pages, include links on primary pages that lead your readers throughout the site.
Watch your load time.
Just about every internet user around has jumped off of a website because it has taken way too long to load. Optimizing photos and code for a quicker load time is a great way to bring users to the edges of their seats within that .05-second window.
Optimize your website for mobile devices.
Mobile devices accounted for 50.81 percent of website traffic around the globe in the third quarter of 2020. This figure has been at or above the 50 percent mark since 2017.
What this means for your website is that, if your design is not responsive or at least mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on a huge chunk of your web traffic. Optimizing websites for mobile use is increasingly seamless on platforms like WordPress and Squarespace, giving developers and self-starters a jump on the process.
Optimizing elements of your site from photos to code for a quicker load time, refining primary design elements for readability on a smartphone, and eliminating pop-ups and other desktop-focused features on the mobile version on a website are at the top of the list of things to consider when optimizing for mobile.
Now that you have this cool, fast-loading, mobile-friendly website, people need to find it!
The Google algorithm seems to change every five minutes or so, though that doesn’t mean working with it is an untenable task. Some key steps you can take to improve your search engine optimization are:
- Use a plugin like Yoast to help with text optimization and improve your overall SEO.
- Include high-ranking keywords in text throughout your website.
- Break text on all web pages with headers and subheaders – this improves legibility for your readers, and Google prioritizes words included in those lines of type.
- Include tags, alternate text, and metadata in your photos.
A company’s website is increasingly the key to its success. From information every customer needs, to the latest industry trends, to your team’s current coffee orders, websites bring a wealth of knowledge about your company to the fingertips of current and potential customers. Building your website in such a way that the process is automatic, starts building your customer relationship at the click of a mouse.
Jenny loves happening upon a great website of any kind and really loves collaborating with our clients to build or improve their digital homes.