Having a well designed website is essential for any business, small or big. Small businesses can often feel overwhelmed with the idea of designing a website. But, small business owners have a lot of options when it comes to creating websites. You can outsource the work to a design agency (such as Incitrio) or try the more DIY approach with web design tools online. Regardless of your approach, there are certain criteria for having an effective website.
Your website is typically going to be your customer’s first impression of your company, so make it a good one! The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab surveyed consumers on how they typically evaluate the credibility of a website, and nearly half of the responses were website design.
Here are some helpful tips on how to create an effective online brand presence through your website design:
Define Your Brand
Before you can even consider design for your website, you need to have clearly defined core brand values. Everything that your company does and says needs to send a clear and consistent message to your audience.
Explore your competitors’ websites to see what is successful for them and what is not, including (but not limited to) visuals, content, and user experience. Once you have all the information you want to convey to your website viewer, you need to be able to display that information in a simple and concise manner. Your website viewer needs to know within three seconds who you are, what you do, how you do it.
Convey Content With Visuals
People remember what they see and interact with, more than what they read and hear. A New York University study concluded that people remember 80% of what they see and do, 30% of what they read, and only 10% of what they hear. To make the best impression on your webpage viewer, grab their attention with quality imagery and useful video content.
With the wealth of images available to everyone online, the temptation to right-click and save the image is nearly overwhelming. But, beware which images you choose to use on your website. Don’t assume that if an image is published online, then it is free for everyone to use. The images roaming the web may be bound by copyright, and you may need the consent of the owner before you can use the image. The best practice for finding images is to obtain your images from royalty-free licensing sites. The images are most often inexpensive, and you won’t have to worry about copyright infringement.
Simplicity is Sophistication
A common mistake for many business owners is the temptation to put a ton of content on their websites. Be careful of information overload, and keep it simple. Having a simple design is one of the easiest ways to convey sophistication. Think high-end retail store.
Use Helpful Videos
An Animoto survey found that 96% of U.S. consumers find videos on websites to be helpful when making purchasing decisions. Additionally, 56% of survey respondents think websites with videos are more trustworthy. If you embed your video correctly, you can also glean SEO benefits from the video. Good places to utilize videos are for product tutorials, the company overview, and demos. That being said, let the viewer choose which videos they want to watch, do not have a video auto-playing on your homepage. Having an annoying video auto-running on your homepage is a sure-fire way to drive people away from your website.
Regardless of whether your product is highly complex or simple as soap, your website needs to be easily and quickly navigable. Navigation of the page needs to be intuitive, with your contact information (including social media icons) easily visible and accessible.
Updating your content (in the form of images or text) is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your site. Sadly, a study showed that 75% of small business owners only update their sites once a month or less. Apparently these business owners didn’t know the businesses that were regularly updating their websites (five times a month or more) saw a 300% increase in traffic to their site.
Whether you already have a site, or are considering designing one soon, it is important to know what elements should be incorporated into a successful web design. Web design tools are becoming more accessible by the day, so there is no excuse for a lame website anymore. Even if you are mom and pop, your website should be fresh and easy.