A website needs to perform. This means a good amount of thought needs to be put into website design and usability way before any site building begins.
Today, its easy to use a service like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly and one of their premade themes to get a site up quickly and inexpensively. Or maybe you use one of the many great WordPress themes to build your site. Either way, while these sites may look good to you and your team, it’s not you or your team that’ll be using your company’s site. Your website needs to be built around your audience.
Here are 5 keys to effective website design that’ll help you achieve your online goals.
5 Keys To Effective Website Design
1. Your Website Should Do Something
I’m not joking. Every page and element of your site should work towards a defined and measurable goal.
In order to succeed online, you have to look at things as funnels whose main purpose should be to push people towards an ultimate and most importantly, measurable goal. Look at each visitor to your site as an opportunity to achieve this goal – an opportunity to learn more about their habits, to collect information, to sell a good or service, or to build trust for example.
2. Responsive Design
A website should be designed to provide an optimal viewing experience across all devices. This is called responsive web design. There’s a lot of ways to do this, but a popular way is to use a grid system based on fluid, percentage-based grids.
3. Interactive, Engaging Content Is King
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King.” And while true, I would also make certain the content you are publishing online is also as interactive and engaging as possible. And make sure the content is easily digestible on mobile devices.
4. Search Engines Are Not People
Think about this for a minute: when a human sees a 10 digit number formatted xxx-xxx-xxxx next to an image of a mobile device on a business website, the human recognizes that number is obviously a telephone number. However, when the robots search engines send to index your site view that same information, the robots do not naturally make the connection between the number and the image. Nor do they recognize anything special about a number formatted xxx-xxx-xxxx.
So, not only do you have to have a site that is engaging to humans, it also needs to be easily understood by the search robots that will be interpreting your website in order to determine search ranks. Adding code like schema.org markup is quickly becoming a necessity as they allow search engines to better understand your content.
5. A Website Is Never Finished
Websites are organic. Their designs should be influenced by current best practices, the process of evolution (of both technology and your business), and your audience. Because of the changing nature of these design influences, the website design itself should also change. But if you spend some time incorporating this need into your initial website design, you can save time and money while keeping your content fresh and website up-to-date.
Thanks for reading.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for accuracy.