How to Design Your Website for Success
Whether you are launching a business, starting a blog or building an online portfolio, the design of your website will largely determine the success of your project. A solid online presence is crucial, and the best websites make sure that visitors are happy to stick around.
However, it’s not just a case of looking good. The devil is in the detail, and a first-class website is both extremely eye-catching and technically sound. For maximum success when launching your online endeavor, make sure your website ticks all the following boxes.
Make it fast
Creating a winning website is all about ensuring a user-friendly experience. Nothing hinders this more than a painfully slow load time – in fact, research shows a direct link between slow page response and website abandonment. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is, or how fancy the graphics are; if it doesn’t load quickly, no one will stick around long enough to see it. Elements that affect website speed include things like image size, how “clean” your code is and even how many different types of fonts you use. Free website checker tools like this one from 1&1 can help you to check the speed of your website, and also provide pointers for areas of improvement.
Keep navigation simple
Visitors to your site will quickly get frustrated if it’s difficult to navigate. Too many menus and submenus, excessive scrolling and elusive contact details are all major culprits when it comes to confusing navigation, so aim to keep it simple. Try to categorize all sections as logically as possible, in a way that makes them easy to find, and keep menu headings clear and visible. It is also a good idea to include a search function – that way, visitors to your site can instantly find exactly what they’re looking for.
Optimize for visibility
It is not just the user you need to impress; your website also needs to be a hit with Google. This means getting to grips with SEO – incorporating relevant keywords, embedding the right meta tags into your code and building up social signals by making it easy to share your content via Facebook and Twitter. Ultimately, a few SEO-based tweaks can help to improve your website’s ranking in the Google search results – which is of course, crucial for catching the attention of potential visitors.
Cater to mobile
The mobile web is here to stay, and optimization for mobile devices is an absolute must. If your site doesn’t load properly on mobile devices, you will instantly limit your appeal – especially as a growing number of internet users surf exclusively on their phones. Mobile-friendly sites can also expect preferential treatment from Google, whose algorithms have been adapted to favor mobile-optimized search results. Responsive web design is one way to ensure that the layout of your site adapts to different screen sizes, be it a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Fortunately, many pre-made web design templates are automatically optimized for mobile, so ensuring high performance across all devices should not be too tricky.
Tighten up security
Another crucial factor when it comes to online success is security. Regardless of whether or not you are trying to sell anything, security is paramount to gaining trust and creating a professional image. One way to secure your site is through an SSL layer – or Secure Sockets Layer – which ensures the secure transmission of data between your server and your website visitor’s browser. It also confirms that you are the legitimate owner of the website, and the “https” prefix to your URL provides an instantly recognizable marker of security. As internet users become increasingly savvy in matters of security, distinguishing your site as legitimate and trustworthy is more important than ever.
Last but not least, your website design should be unique. Of course, it’s important to have all the technicalities in place, but the overall aesthetic should reflect everything that your website is about. Use images, font, and color to create something unique and appeal to your target audience. Whether your message is fun and lighthearted or a little more corporate, the design of your site can be used to express this.