37 Web Design Best Practices for Conversions in 2019
Do you have a website for your online business? Perhaps you want to improve the website you already have. Either way, it’s important to know the best practices of small business web design before you launch your site. Customers have become much more knowledgeable and far less patient regarding sites that don’t follow the standards for web design in today’s high-demand tech world.
Here are some important factors when it comes to the best web design best practices that you should practice whenever you can.
The Consistency Factor in Branding
When you see a bottle of Coca-Cola, what do you think of? Most people say a bottle of a familiar soda. People understand that Coca-Cola is more than a soda bottling company. It is an American icon.
The marketing of their brand is so complete that they have been able to integrate their company values within the fabric of their product.
Take, for example, their famous “Smile” campaign. The “Smile” campaign involved getting people to share a Coke with various people that they meet on the street. In the ads, they always got a smile in return for this good deed.
This promoted the sense of kindness that the Coca-Cola people believe in and helped promote their ethics as well as their product. The interesting thing is that they never even mention their product!
Marketing Vs Branding
There is a difference between marketing your product and branding your company.
Marking or advertising involves talking about the important aspects of a product or service, illustrating ways that your product is better than your competitors, and promoting it on different platforms.
Branding is more involved and requires you to talk about more than products and services. With branding, you are analyzing and evaluating every aspect of your brand and the image that you want to project to the world.
Branding can include a wide number of digital assets including photos, graphics on your page, podcasts and video, logos, and anything else you decide to use to promote your brand.
Some famous entrepreneurs are so focused on branding that they believe it is the most important component of any website. Daymond John says in his online webinars, that you should be able to describe your brand in 3-5 words. He believes you must make your brand so prevalent that your presence is on every platform, where your customers are.
In his famous book, The Brand Within, (I have an autographed copy), Daymond talks about the consistency of branding. Your branding is the “face of your business”. Audiences will judge your value based on how well you market your brand, not your products.
Everything you do should help you weave your company image and branding within your website.
Your logo, graphics, and other digital assets need to flow on all platforms. Think about how your logo will look on social media, blogs, etc. Keep your consistency, so that people will easily recognize your brand, no matter what channel they find it on.
Importance of Logo
Your logo is one of the most important aspects of your brand, as well as your website. It needs to be the first thing your customers see when they enter your website, blog, or social media pages. You may want to experiment with a few different places to put your logo. There have been numerous studies on where you should place your logo.
The Nielsen Norman Group did a study on logo placement. Their results showed that 89% of users are likely to remember logos that are placed in the traditional upper left-hand side of your web-page. Additionally, placing your logo here is also a good way to be sure Google’s algorithms will pick up your logo under the “image” search option that more people are using now.
Some modern-thinking web owners have considered placing their logo on the upper right-hand side. It seems to be a new trend. But the results have not been good so far. Users are so used to seeing the logo in the upper left-hand side that they may not even see a logo placed elsewhere on the page.
Regarding the content of your logo, you should think about ways that will help you show a visual representation of what your brand is about. It represents your brand identity and helps become a building block to your brand.
Many consider their company logo the primary digital asset. This group also believes that companies should capitalize most on this, to give customers an idea of what your company stands for. You should also focus on using your logo to gain trust with customers and convince potential customers of your professionalism.
Importance of Market Position
When you think about the market position, consider how your customer thinks. The market position reflects the way the customer thinks about your brand when compared with other similar brands. This is why branding is so important.
You need to market your brand in such a way, that there is no confusion on who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. This goes beyond a basic product lineup. It has to do with the values of your company, too.
Some website owners have a great-looking site, they provide a positive UX (user experience), and they seem to have thought of everything. But they forget the most important thing: CTA.
The “call-to-action” (CTA) is the last thing your customers see before they leave your site, and it is the factor that often gives customers the extra incentive to make a purchase.
Today, most web owners consider this the final stage of “the customer journey.” Websites are less sales-oriented than they used to be. That’s because people have gotten desensitized to ad-related copy. We all have commercials and ads coming toward us daily, giving us the ability to tune most out.
TV shows, radio programs, and online sites are filled with ads. So the modern-day website owner should focus on creating a great customer journey through their site. This leads to the natural response at the end of this journey, being a sale.
It is important to direct your customer to do exactly what you want them to do, at the end of this journey. For example, if you want them to sign up for your newsletter, ask them to do that. If your goal is to have them make a purchase, ask them to “click on the buy it now button,” or something similar.
Directing the customer to do exactly what you want, is important, in order to reach your goals for your website and online business.
Creating Goals for your Website
Remember that your website should be your “virtual real estate.” It should be your most important asset to help convert sales, as well as, build your clientele.
Communicating value through your online content is critical, but so is goal setting. You will set your own goals for your business according to what is most important to you. We show three goals listed below. Under the goals, lies a brief description of each and why it is important.
- Attract a larger market
- Inform Customers of what you have to offer
- CTA as your focus
Goal #1: Attracting a Larger Market
The ultimate goal of an online website is to serve as the gateway to your brand. Why do you build this gateway to your brand? Because you want to attract a larger group of people to your brand, right? Knowing your audience is critical, but you also need to know how to create your website in such a way that it will allow you to attract a larger audience to your products and service than you have done in the past.
The skillful use of keywords, SEO and SERP techniques, and writing high-quality content all contribute to this process. Having a blog also helps build value for your target audience. Remember, it’s not enough to gain a customer, for a day. You need to build relationships that continue beyond the first sale. This means knowing your audience, offering them value, and adding to that value so that they will want to come back to see what you will do next.
Goal #2: Informing Customers of Offerings
Of course, without informing your visitors of what you offer, you can make no sales. When you are working on your branding, it’s fine to also promote specific products or services, just make sure you keep the theme of your brand in your mind, as you build your website and other digital assets. That way, everything will work together in the way it is supposed to.
Goal #3: Creating a Top-Notch CTA
Remember that your CTA (call-to-action) is not an afterthought. It’s not just something you add at the end of your website, video, or presentation because it sounds good. You are doing it for a specific purpose. You need to make that purpose known to your customer. While you may have focused more on informational content on your main page, in order to add value to your site, now is the time to ask the customer to do what you want them to do.
If you have done a good job of taking them through the customer journey, you should have a pretty high conversion rate. There are ways you can track your conversions. Use these metrics to figure out exactly which page is converting your leads the most, and make changes as necessary, to improve your percentages.
If your CTA is strong, and you have converted your audience, while they were on your site, you should have no trouble getting sales as a result of your efforts.
Website Design Best Practices that Influence a High-Converting Page
The design is a big part of your website. But it is not the main component. Your content is the primary component that results in conversions. Still, your design should be user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and compliant with the latest tech standards so that you provide your customers with the most reliable and engaging website.
Below are some of the other factors that influence the UX (user experience). Try to work on all of them, as you can, to ensure that everything works as efficiently as possible while allowing customers the best experience you can provide.
Quick Load Time
One of the main reasons that people leave a page, when they first land on it, is the fact that the load time is too slow. Sometimes, it seems to take forever for graphics and design features to load. When it comes to attracting people to your site, you need to make sure that your site loads quickly. This will decrease your bounce rate and encourage visitors to stay on your page longer.
Below are some of the things you can try to lower the amount of time it takes for your page to load.
- Reduce image size
- Remove redirects
- Clean up “bad HTML” or Java
- Optimize your cache
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Compress files
Other suggestions for increasing your loading speed can be found here.
Implement a Content Delivery Network
One unique idea is to develop your own content delivery network. This kind of network consists of a network of servers that you set up ahead of time, that allows you to deliver content in record time. This system also allows you to keep the control of your content at the top where it belongs. There are several advantages to a CDN (content delivery network). Some of the most important ones are listed below:
- Improve page load speed
- Handle higher traffics loads
- Block spammers and bots
- Reduce bandwidth consumption
- Protect your website from DDoS attacks
Use Up to Date Image Formats and Reduce Image Size
Keeping up with the latest formats and technologies will help you to reach more potential customers, as well as, increase your UX. Pages load faster when you are dealing with less image size, so reducing your image sizes in favor of some of the modern mobile-friendly formats, may be the answer.
Have you ever had trouble loading a web page and some customer service agent told you to “dump your cache” or temporary directory? If so, you understand why keeping your cache clean can help improve your website, too.
With web servers or hosting plans, there is usually an option for dumping your cache. Go into your “manage page” options and look for an option such as “optimize your site” or “website accelerator.” It is understood by most web server host owners that doing this means you want to speed up your website. They use a cache purge to achieve this.
If you have a website on WordPress, or any server that allows you to use plugins, you may want to occasionally check to see if your plugins are causing page speed issues or other technical problems. Most plugins work efficiently without weighing down your server, but this often depends on the amount of traffic, whether or not you have a dedicated server and other factors.
To ensure that plugins run effectively, all of the time, you may want to consider getting a dedicated server. This means it isn’t sharing your connection with anyone else.
HTTP Keep-Alive Response Headers
Keep-Alive connections use TCP technology to allow client and servers to use the same connection. They send multiple HTTP requests and responses back and forth on the same protocol.
What does this do? It allows website owners to avoid the 3-way handshake that is usually required for new connections. This is usually the culprit of slow loading times and startups.
The “Keep-alive” connection is enabled, by default, in HTTP/1.1. Once you switch to HTTP/1.0, it will close this connection, after completing the client-server request.
Compressing images is one way to reduce the load on your server, without having to remove photos, graphics, or large info-graphics. Use compression tools before you upload your images, if you have a particularly large image, or allow your web server to do this if this is an option with your web server.
Search Engine Optimization
If you are hosting a website for your online business, you need to have a basic understanding of search engine optimization. SEO, as it is called, has been around for a long time. There is some misunderstanding of its importance today. Questions began when Google reduced the amount of importance it places on keywords.
SEO is something that you should start the minute you set up your website. This should be continued on a weekly or monthly basis. While paid advertising offers a “quick fix” in bringing you immediate traffic, think of SEO as that natural content that you build over time.
The use of SEO should include outbound and inbound links. Both of which will increase your ranking in Google and improve your leads magnet. Google considers links coming into your site as more important than outbound links that you link out to.
However, it helps your site in other ways, when you link out to relevant sites that help your customers find what they are looking for. Sometimes you may not win a sale that day, but you may win their trust because you helped them. This is valuable, also.
Quality SEO Content
SEO content is any content that increases your natural search results in Google and other search engines. In the past, this was only about keywords. Now, it includes all of your links and sites that you have coming or gone from your site, as well as graphics, videos, and podcasts, since all of these digital assets often have their own search directories, as well.
When developing your SEO content, remember that delivering high-quality content will create the most value. This idea was promulgated by Google, as of the most recent algorithm update, and several other updates before this.
Remember that SEO only speaks to the search engines, while your website is the entity that speaks to your audience. Your job is to ensure these two align. They both are of equal value. They complete each other.
You need to be thinking about what you will say to your customer, once you get them to your site. How will you convince them that they should interact and engage with your brand? What unique approach will you take to get them to bookmark your site and return again for another day?
If you can figure out how to be unique with your website and your brand, you have figured out the ultimate challenge that all business owners must figure out to be successful.
Meta tags are composed of keywords that you put in a description. Searchers will read these before coming to your site. Tags also include a link that your audience will click on to reach your landing page. Use your primary keywords in the first line of your meta description to attract people to your site using words they are likely to use when searching for your content.
This involves applying a certain degree of psychology about when people shop, what they are thinking when they shop, and how they make buying decisions.
The schema is a unique type of add-on HTML markup language that increases your results in the search engines. It does this by speaking to all of the four major search engines with technical information that describes what your page is really about.
Here is where branding comes in again, also. If your branding is what it should be, you should be able to work in the schema information naturally based on the key points of your brand and your website.
Usually, the schema information is something extra that may add credibility to your site and branding. At times, it is simply an extra meta tag that tells the searcher what your site is about and may increase your leads generation ability.
XML is an acronym for “eXtensible markup language.” Notice that the “X” is capitalized. This is intentional to emphasize that it is designed to store and transport data within your HTML code. It is a self-descriptive language that works as a complementary language with HTML.
We mentioned earlier that mobile-friendliness is the other criteria for high ranking with Google. 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. Google is the most popular and widely-used search engine, but it is important to be noticed by Bing, Yahoo, and others, as well.
Consider that fact that your users will be coming into your site on a multitude of different devices. They may be using a shopping app, come in from Facebook, based on recommendations from friends, or accessing your site directly.
All of these pieces of data are important to monitor to gain a better understanding of your target audience. The more information you have about your audience, the more you will be able to reach them.
Desktop vs. Mobile
Using Google Analytics, you can monitor the type of device your users are utilizing. Desktop users will show up as Windows or Mac users in your analytical data. You can also see which version they are using.
Mobile users will show up as “mobile users.” You can also tell what type of mobile device they are using. Once you have this information, you can adjust your web content on your websites and blogs to create a better user experience for your mobile users.
Check your navigation menu, online graphics, video content, and other aspects to see how mobile-friendly your site is to mobile users.
It’s not enough to just look at your site to determine whether it is user-friendly to mobile users. You need to do a mobile-friendly test to determine this. Some web servers offer a mobile optimization option to improve your mobile-friendliness. If you do not have access to this type of tool, use Google’s mobile-friendly test.
What is responsive design? It’s a design that is considered to be friendly to any type of user, any type of device, and any format of the user. If your site has a responsive design, it looks just as good in a mobile device as it does on a desktop computer.
Responsive design is created to give your visitors all an equally satisfying site experience so that they have an equal opportunity to engage with your brand and products. In most cases, if your site passes the mobile-friendly test, it is likely based on a responsive design.
Easy Navigation (UX)
Part of responsive design is the ease of navigation that you have on your website. Is it easy for your customers to find what they want? Are your products easily accessible to everyone? How easy is it to utilize your shopping cart, browse for products, and make a purchase. Test all of these things yourself before releasing your site to your audience.
Limit Navigation Bar Menu
To improve response rates and results on your website, limit the number of navigation bar menu items you have on your site. Why do this? Because limiting the number of choices lets you offer visitors more simplicity and increases the chances they will do what you want them to do.
Avoid confusion by limiting the options you give your visitors. But make the choices attractive and interesting to them.
Offering a search bar on your page may increase your response rate. People sometimes want to narrow their search further once they locate your page or website.
If you can offer a search bar on your page, you may be able to increase your level of activity on your site. Anything you can do to save people trouble by providing something on your site will help you to keep them on your site longer and thus increase sales.
Always include your contact information on your site as the last thing on your “About Us” page and again on your “Contact Page.” This is the proper place to put this and this is where people expect to find it. Include the following information on your contact page.
- Name of company
- Location (if a walk-in store)
- Phone number and email
Alternatively, you may want to opt for a contact form that allows people to fill out a contact form to reach you. Then you can handle these as they come in. People may also be more likely to fill out a quick form than they will to click on your email links or pick up the phone.
Back to Top Buttons
Providing “back to top” buttons allows you to save the visitor more time when they are shopping or surfing on your site. This also improves the navigation system and increases your UX.
Email marketing is still considered the single best way to market your brand as well as your website and product line. Use email marketing that includes segmented marketing to retarget those customers who didn’t follow through with a sale.
Sync to Website
Synchronizing everything to your website, with push through notifications for mobile users, will help increase your overall customer experience. If you can synchronize your social media sites, blogs, and video channels to your website as well, you will get better results in your branding.
Using icons that emphasize your logo or other aspects of your website, you may increase your targeted traffic to your website. You can also let people know whether you are online or not with IRC chat applications and other means.
Social media is one of the most important ways to increase your following and potential leads. You can use your Facebook to create paid ads, as well as, making free posts every day or as often as you want.
It is strongly advisable to use all forms of major social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to improve your branding online. Remember that the goal of branding is to put your company information out there enough that you become easily recognizable no matter what platform you are on.
Focus on your logo and make sure your logo is within the right technical specifications so that you can share it on all platforms. Social media platforms all have distinct criteria for images and videos.
Capitalizing with Icons
Make sure you link your social media sites to your main landing page by providing easily accessible social media buttons on your site. You can usually find a widget for this on your web server.
There are a number of ways you can get more views on your website. Talk about your products and branding in your blog, social media, and other platforms to increase your level of engagement.
Decreasing Bounce Rate
To decrease your bounce rate, improve your overall user experience, and make the user experience interesting and engaging. Study the analytics of your website through Google Analytics to see what needs changing.
Link Building Between Customer and Company
Establish an easy communications link between your customers and your brand by providing contact information and online chat.
The color scheme of your brand helps create the whole user experience and nicely designed colors and themes create a pleasing experience for your visitors.
The image that your project is important. Use techniques like high contrast text and backgrounds, making use of white space, and visually appealing design to improve your design.
Lastly, combine these various best web design best practices and techniques in your own way. Don’t try to emulate others. Be yourself. In the end, there is no magic formula for success as an online business owner. Just make a great website and speak to your customer through these various methods, offer great content, and give them a reason to return. Small business web design is not as hard as it seems.
You’ll be surprised at the results! For more information on how we can help you employ some of these tactics, give us a call!
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