Let’s face it – web design can be overwhelming if you don’t know what it is that makes for a successful and innovative site. Did you know that 48% of people believe website design is the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business? The web design best practices is the key. Customers know a good website when they see one, and just as important, they know when a website is bad, because it leaves them frustrated and confused. And you definitely don’t want your customers feeling like that.
We’re going to give you insight on web design standards like navigation, color scheme, and utilization of your social media and email marketing to ensure greater business success and optimization of leads. We’ll also give you tips on how to avoid common design mistakes like lag in your site loading time and cluttered layouts.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 web design best practices you should implement for greater business success.
10 Web Design Best Practices for Your Business
1. Keep Branding Consistent
Website design that lacks consistent branding is stressful and confusing. There are quite a few brand websites out there that are a bit all over the place. It’s difficult to tell what their brand colors are, what their logo looks like, how they are positioning themselves or even what services they offer.
A best practice in B2C and B2B website design is to keep the branding consistent throughout the entire site. Only use the predetermined brand colors, logos, and verbiage on every page of the website. This applies to images, iconography, typography, and videos as well. A brand’s story should be evident and supported in every part of the design.
2. Create Strong CTAs
The two main goals of a website are to attract a large target market and to tell the customer what you offer. The final goal should always be to entice the visitor to complete an action – whether it is to sign up for a newsletter, download a case study, or set up a consultation. Strong calls to action are essential to converting website visitors into leads or new clients.
Strong CTAs should be part of the initial B2B website design, not an afterthought. They should be positioned in an appropriate place in the layout that makes sense for the target market. For example, a “Learn More” button may be placed higher in the design, while a “Contact Us” form may be placed towards the bottom of the design when the visitor is more educated about a brand or company. These web design best practices can be considered for any brand or industry.
3. Fast Loading Time
A single second of added page load speed can cause sales to drop by up to 27%. In 2013, the average size of websites grew 32%. Websites are getting bigger, and today’s research suggests that the sweet spot number for load times might be inching closer to two seconds as opposed to the current three seconds. According to recent studies, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. What can companies do to keep page loading times minimal?
Here are some web design best practices our experts at LYFE Marketing implement for cutting your load times:
- Implement new image formats to reduce the size of your images. It’s said that 61% of a website’s page weight on a desktop computer is images. Switching between different-sized and different-quality images to save bandwidth can help reduce image weight by 20% – 50% without sacrificing quality.
- Your cache. Browser caching stores cached versions of static resources, a process that quickens page speed tremendously and reduces server lag. When a user visits a page on your website, the cached version will usually be served unless it has changed since it was last cached; this saves a lot of requests to your server. And as a result, makes it faster.
- Evaluate your plugins. Plugins can bring new functionality and features to your website, but the more plugins your website has, the more work it has to do to load.
- Enable HTTP keep-alive response headers. HTTP requests are simple: they grab and send a single file and then close. That may be simple, but it isn’t very fast. Keep-alive allows the web browser and server to agree to use the same connection to grab and send multiple files.
- Enable compression. You can compress resources to lower the number of bytes a page is sending over a network. You will need to optimize your content for compression by creating consistency across your HTML and CSS code.
Don’t know how to properly code? No worries, our LYFE experts are here to assist you.
4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is one of our simple and effective web design best practices suggestions. It is used to increase the number of visitors to your website by obtaining a high-ranking placement on the search engine results page (SERP). It does this by using a single phrase, known as a keyword, that is used throughout compelling and readable content on your site.
For the search engines, it’s essential to include all important on-page SEO tags and elements, including schema and XML sitemaps. Too much technical jargon for you? That’s okay because we specialize in SEO too. Contact a team member if you’d like us to optimize your website or leave us a comment at the bottom of the page, and we’d be happy to answer it.
5. Mobile Friendly
You might build a great website that looks good when viewed on a desktop or laptop, but when being displayed on a cell phone or tablet, it becomes very cluttered, unorganized, and hard to navigate. If you’re in this boat, you will lose potential leads. On average, 8 out of 10 consumers will stop engaging with a site if its content doesn’t display properly on their device. It’s frustrating, so do you blame them?
Responsive design adjusts to the size of your browser automatically, making it a lot easier for website users to find all the information they need, stress-free. A responsive design serves all devices with the same code that adjusts for every screen size. Mobile devices are projected to reach 79% of global internet use by the end of 2018, a mobile-friendly and responsive website design are essentially becoming a standard these days.
Responsive design has been a part of web design best practices for years. Take the LYFE landing page for example. On both the desktop and mobile versions, you’re getting the information you want but in two adaptable perspectives:
“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” Sentimental words from the beloved 80’s classic character Ferris Bueller, but when it comes to website loading time, this timeless quote means nada. The less time it takes for people to find what they’re looking for, the better. People expect loading time to be minimal and navigation to be simple. Optimizing the viewer experience of your site makes all the difference in web design best practices for your brand.
You’ll also want to make sure that your most important pages have the highest accessibility. Let’s consider a few more website design best practices:
- Limit your navigation menu bar to 4-6 options. 88% of websites have their main navigation located in the header at the top of every page, making horizontal top-level navigation a web design standard.
- Search bars are key, especially for sites with lots of content.
- Contact information should be in the right-hand corner and easily visible.
- Sticky “back-to-top” buttons allow the viewer to scroll down to their heart’s content and with the click of a button go back to the top without the hassle of manually scrolling all the way back up. Trust us, nobody has time for that.
- Use breadcrumbs to let your visitors know where they are. This is especially true for e-commerce websites since this type of site has tons of product categories and subcategories. This also applies to websites with lots of content. With breadcrumbs, one can easily go back to the previous page or check out a specific category. It acts like the “You are here” sign we see in malls.
7. Email Marketing
Although an older form of staying connected, email marketing still plays a major role in keeping customers and potential customers in the loop of your services and content. Past experience has shown us that 77% of executives prefer to receive marketing communications through email rather than other forms of marketing. So, what does this tell us?
Email is relevant, and your email marketing campaign should be too. A site’s email capture forms should sync with your email marketing system for seamless access and connection. Make sure that your audience doesn’t have to go searching for your email sign-up icon. Placing the icon in the header or footer are both web design best practices you’ll want to consider.
We all know the power behind social media and the different ways we can use our social media outlets to promote brands and drive content. That being said, anywhere you can link your social accounts, you definitely should. This could include (but not limited to) your emails, blog articles, guest posts, other social bios, etc. Did you know that 72% of websites include icons for social media websites in the footer? This alone almost makes this a standard as well as one of our web design best practices that we recommend for the most traffic to your site.
Because your social media icons are going to steer your audience outside of your website, it can cost you traffic, increasing bounce rates and hurt results, which is why we recommend putting your social media icons in the footer of your site. That way, website visitors have probably already explored your site for a while before they find the social icons, causing less skewed data to your metrics.
According to Hubspot, people can recall up to 65% of information that is visually depicted for a period of 72 hours vs only 10% of the information they hear for the same period of time. With 37% of the population being visual learners, featuring high-quality photos and logos will help your audience gauge your brand and content more easily.
High-quality images will help convert your online leads by:
- Garnering more views to your site, which means more chances to convert!
- Increasing user engagement, which means users spend more time on your site.
- Decreasing bounce rate, which means more traffic and a chance to rank higher!
- Forming a link between customer and company, which means users are more likely to choose your services.
10. Color Scheme
Your website should embody the personality of your brand, and so should your color scheme. If your background and text colors don’t provide enough contrast, people will have difficulties reading your content and displeased that your site is not visually appealing. The more visually appealing your site is, the more likely your customers will be able to recall your content.
Are You Employing All of These Web Design Best Practices?
If not, it’s time for you to reach out to a LYFE expert so we can make this process simple. It’s all about fast, innovative, and aesthetically pleasing design. Implementing these standards as a marketing tactic can have a huge impact on the success of your business. With 94% of people having mentioned web design as the major reason they mistrusted or rejected a website, it’s crucial that you use these web design best practices and begin making the changes needed.
If you still have questions about web design best practices or have a question about your website in general, feel free to leave your question in the comments below. We will do our best to answer it.
Do you prefer to speak to someone? No problem. Contact us to schedule a time to chat with our staff. We can usually take your call within the hour.