The Internet opens up a world of opportunities for forward-thinking businesses. Online marketing is the way of the future – and the first step to establishing a foothold online is to have a good website.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of ways to get yourself a website. A business could bring a whole IT team on board to take care of the task. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can just use a website builder and make yourself a serviceable website in no time. However, by far the most impressive and cost-effective way to go about it is to hire professional WordPress developers to get the job done.
Regardless of which path a business chooses, the fundamentals of website building are still the same. To be successful, a website needs to be well-thought-out, solidly designed, and most importantly – user-friendly.
This last bit is more important than many businesses realize. Making a site as user-friendly as possible is a must nowadays as the Internet is an attention economy. Studies show that user attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. With this in mind, here are the main components you need to focus on to get the most out of your website.
Ensure Website Stability
To make your presence online felt, your website needs to be up and running at all times. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks and how user-friendly it is if users can’t see it because it is down all the time. This means that it needs to be well developed and optimized to achieve the lowest downtime possible.
Website development is not a straightforward task, even for seasoned professionals. Things “break” all the time. It’s an iterative process that requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication that can achieve astounding results. The first step on that path is to hammer out what the exact parameters of the job are.
What are the goals and objectives for the project? What can actually be accomplished, and in what time frame? What happens if plans change mid-development? All those questions need to be answered if you are to end up with a functioning website. Failing to do so at the very beginning results in instability in the development process. This inevitably causes complications, which in turn result in downtime – which you want to avoid.
The way to deal with potential issues is simple. Get good developers and hammer out the details of the project carefully with them before you start. Be honest and upfront with them as the project goes on and treat the task at hand with the seriousness it deserves
An important factor for website stability is how the website itself is hosted. Nowadays, there are plenty of free hosting services out there that you can use if you’re aiming to go as cheap as possible. However, if you want to avoid server issues, you’d do well to consider spending some money on a hosting service.
Focus on Accessibility
Another crucial aspect that should be bumped to top priority when designing a website is accessibility. This means making sure that your website works well on all platforms and on all browsers.
For many companies, getting a website that’s really good-looking on desktop devices comes first. The goal of it being accessible on mobile, or through less popular browsers, is often something of an afterthought. This way of doing things is counterproductive in the extreme in today’s online environment, for a few reasons.
Firstly, a staggering amount of searches, and therefore – traffic – actually comes from mobile devices. Users stumbling onto your website on their mobile devices are the norm, rather than the exception. You need to make your website as appealing to them as possible.
What’s more, as of mid-2021, Google has made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor for searches. This means that making sure a website is optimized for mobile users is not only crucial for user experience, but for SEO as well.
This is why companies who want to do well online should focus on making their websites as accessible as possible from day one.
Design for Navigability
Making sure your website is stable and accessible should be your first priority when planning it out. Taking care that it is designed to be as easy to navigate should be your second order of business.
True, there are many aspects of website design that need attention, and at the end of the day, you need to cover all bases. Still, as the cornerstone of a good user interface, navigability is probably the most important. Luckily, achieving it is not that difficult, if you put your mind to it and stick to what works.
Use the color palette on your website to emphasize certain elements on each page. There is no hard and fast rule as to what colors you need to use and where to put them. Using bold colors and contrast on certain elements of your design creates a clear visual hierarchy. Incorporate striking design to emphasize the elements that a user would find most useful.
Make sure everything on your website is clearly labeled. Every detail on every page should be marked out and be immediately recognizable at a glance. Achieving this effect without making your design too intrusive or aggressive may prove to be a bit of a challenge, but it is by no means impossible.
Make sure you incorporate a working Search function into your design. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of user attention at all times, but it should be easy enough to find. This is just one of many tried and true methods of dramatically improving the UX on your website.
Design the structure of your primary navigation with simplicity in mind. Put it near the top of your page, and make it straightforward to use. Don’t cram all the navigation options into it, as that will make it clunky, not to mention unaesthetic. Remember, although you want to establish a clear visual hierarchy, you don’t want your website to be too “top-heavy.”
Incorporate a secondary system of navigation in the footer of your site, or in another section. Any other part of the site the user may want to visit should never be more than two to three clicks away from their current view.
Finally, limit the use of lead-generating strategies on your website. Landing pages, pop-ups, and live chat can work wonders for converting clicks into sales. Still, bear in mind that if you overdo it, this strategy will backfire. Aggressive pop-ups, in particular, are an instant turnoff for many users. This is why you need to find a balance, and include just the right amount of them when you’re designing your website.