As of last year, nearly half of all small businesses didn’t have a website. Whether you’ve already planted your digital flag or are thinking about building your site now, you’re ahead of 50% of the competition. Your next step is ensure you’ve got a quality website design.
Even if you’re new to web design, you still know what a good website looks and feels like. Whether you’re coding from scratch or using a design program, there’s no wrong tool for building a great website.
But design trends change every year, so you need to make sure you start off on the right foot. Follow these 5 steps to make sure your site gets the hits that turn into sales.
1. Close Your Laptop, Grab a Pencil
You shouldn’t drive on the highway without knowing where you’re going. The same thing applies to creating your website.
Make a list of what you want to get out of your site. Make a sitemap that includes all of your menus and how you expect your customers to get from your homepage to your products. Hint: It should be easy.
There are also a variety wireframing and prototyping tools you can use if you prefer digital. Use a color wheel tool to decide on complementary themes for your site.
2. Use Big Fonts
It’s not necessarily a design trend but certainly a good rule of thumb. Getting your visitor’s attention will help direct them to the main focus of what you’re offering.
The practical aspect of this approach is readability. As more customers find products on mobile devices and phones, being able to read a page easily is very important.
Start around 18pt for text in your main body. Find simple web friendly typefaces and look at your page on multiple devices to ensure you’ve achieved a quality website design.
3. Spread Out
Make sure there’s plenty of appropriate white space on your site. Clutter can overwhelm and distract readers from your site’s main focus.
If you’re running an e-commerce site, you need customers to really focus on your products. Breathable or spacious designs let your products do the work.
Get rid of clutter, keep menus and icons to the edges and ensure customers enjoy using your site.
For a great example of white space, check out the design for this comfort systems stock page.
4. Mobile Is Essential
If you aren’t designing “mobile first,” you’re not designing for the future. Last year, mobile usage passed desktop usage for the first time.
That means traffic to e-commerce, entertainment, and news sites alike need to be ready for the mobile takeover.
You need to commit extra time in your design period to what you want your site to look like on a phone or tablet. It doesn’t have to just be a minimized version of your main site. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
Find ways to optimize your images and texts. Go back to the pen and paper if necessary.
5. Make Browsing Easy
When customers visit your site for the first time, they may not know exactly what they’re looking for. So make your site make sense to first time users. Otherwise, you risk losing sales and engagement.
Keep your menus spare and get rid of sidebars. This opens your design up without negatively impacting user experience.
If you use external e-commerce tools, make sure they fit with the design of your site.
Quality Website Design Has Never Been More Accessible
No matter what tool you use, the KISS principle, “keep it simple, stupid,” applies to any site’s overall design. Think about what your users want rather than what you want.
If you’re still struggling to find the right design for your page, contact us and we can help you make the right design decisions to keep users happy and engaged.