Research-Backed Web Design Tips – How To Design A Website That Works

A beautiful-looking website is every site owner’s dream. But, its performance depends on much more than just visual aesthetics. A website is often called “the face” of a business online. And, sure enough, it’s the first point of contact for your prospective customers and most likely one of the first things people will see when they begin to interact with your business.

However, a well-designed website doesn’t sit there looking pretty. It not only impresses the visitors but has everything that it takes to appear in front of them, outranking thousands of other competing websites.

It plays a pivotal role in attracting quality traffic and converting it into buyers. Simply put, your website is meant to be the workhorse of any digital marketing strategy, and it needs to be designed as such.

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Now, while the end goal of a website is clear to us, the way to design a successful website isn’t so straightforward. For one, there’s SEO — a complicated beast with over 200 ranking factors involved, which serve as the lifeblood of modern websites.

Today, you can’t expect your website to fetch you the desired results if SEO isn’t built into the web design process. SEO web design experts understand the relationship between the two and ensure SEO is cooked in the right at the design stage and not treated as an afterthought.

Besides, web design practices change at the speed of light. So, what worked even five years ago might not be as effective anymore. Luckily, data points point us towards web design tips and tricks that can help you build a website that looks good and performs great. Let’s dive in.

1. Bump Up Your Site’s Speed

No matter how good your website looks, users will leave it if it doesn’t load fast enough. That’s the takeaway from a Google study that found that more than 50% of mobile visitors abandon a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. More recent data shows that site speed impacts everything from user experience and page views to customer satisfaction, conversions, and revenue.

You can check your site’s loading speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If your website doesn’t load within three seconds, then it’s time to take a long, hard look at the factors that influence site speed and weed out the culprits. This could include:

  • Heavy file sizes of images and videos on your website
  • Too many plugins
  • Excessive CSS and JavaScript use
  • Poor choice of server/hosting company
  • Poor coding standards, and so on

2. Mind The Fold

The website fold has been the bone of contention in the web design community for a while now. Some say that it matters. Others say it doesn’t, thanks to the growing number of screen sizes. If you wish to be on the safer side, though, it’s best to believe that the fold exists.

But wait, we’re not asking you. Just take our word for it. According to research by the Nielsen Norman Group, visitors spend 80% of their page-viewing time above the fold. So, it makes sense to put the most important elements of your design and the critical info above the fold.

However, don’t stuff everything above the fold. It’s a good strategy to split your CTAs (calls-to-action) between the top and bottom parts of a web page. Remember, your visitors may be spending more time above the fold.

But they may not be ready to take action yet. The strongest persuasion happens as the user scrolls further down the page. So make sure to place your CTAs there. The logic is simple: Give your users all the info they need to make a choice and once they are equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision, encourage them to take action.

3. Cut The Clutter

Minimal themes and layouts have been popular in the web design world for a while now. While the clean, “less is more” approach is visually pleasing, it really strikes a chord with visitors. A Google study that researched the impact of a website’s visual complexity on shaping visitors’ first impressions concluded that visitors prefer simple, clutter-free designs with ample whitespace.  The more complex a design is, the less beautiful it’s perceived to be.

Carrying on with the theme of design simplicity, there’s a study by researchers from Columbia and Stanford University that offers a fascinating peek into the buyers’ minds and their natural preference for less choice.

The study is based on Hick’s Law, which states that the more choices someone has, the longer they decide. The result of the study revealed that more choices actually lead to fewer sales. In the context of web design, it goes on a show that there’s a possibility of increasing your conversions by paring down the choices you’re offering to visitors. You can do that by:

  • Limiting fields in opt-in/contact forms
  • Having one CTA
  • Stripping down the menu items
  • Focusing on one promotion at a time
  • Not overwhelming with too much content

With these and more such practices, you can reduce the decision fatigue of your visitors and lead them to take the actions you truly want them to take.

4. Leverage Smart Placement Of Social Sharing Buttons

One of the fastest ways to make your brand and website known is by allowing its exposure on social media. And that’s exactly what you can hope to achieve by having strategically placed social buttons on your website.

Now, social sharing is great for another reason: It lets you tap into the amazing power of “word of mouth,” which alone is known to drive more than US$6 trillion of annual consumer spending.

But everything about putting social media icons on your site boils down to a few dos and don’ts. One of the key ‘don’ts’ to remember is to never have those colorful social media icons in your website header. Because when you do that, you’re essentially inviting visitors to be sent to the land of distractions, where they are likely to lose track of your site and return.

More Web Design Tips

  • Make your site’s navigation easy — that’s the most important factor that 76% of consumers look for in a website.
  • Include power words in your headlines and subheads; they have proven capability to boost conversions.
  • Stay away from image carousels and sliders; they are conversion killers.
  • Ditch subtle cues for a direct approach when it comes to guiding users in the direction of something important on a web page, e.g., a form.

While the above barely scratches the surface of what goes into designing winning websites, the tips we have shared are a good place to start if you’re looking to revamp your website.

If you are interested in even more design-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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