Every business needs a website. However, simply having a presence online is not enough. You must make sure that the website looks as good as possible and that it provides your customers with the information that they need in order for them to make the decision to visit you or make a purchase.
What Should Your Website Look Like?
Exactly how your website should look will depend on the niche that you operate in, your brand and of course the preferences of your customers. A young audience will have different preferences to one that is older, and affluent customers may demand different looks and different content to less affluent ones. However, the principles of good design remain the same.
There are some clear trends for web design in 2015 that will apply to any niche. Here is a quick look at some of the most important things to consider when designing a website for your business.
Mobile web traffic already exceeds desktop web traffic – although currently that is mostly because of the popularity of social apps. You can be confident that this trend is going to continue and that it will not be long before the vast majority of searches are conducted using mobile devices and most online shopping is conducted online. Google is already giving websites that are optimized for mobile preferential treatment in the SERPs. If you are redesigning a website at the moment, it makes sense to optimize it for mobile.
Ditch the Chrome
We’re not referring to the browser here, but rather the cluttered, confusing interface designs that were popular a few years ago.
Clean, simple, flat interfaces are in fashion right now, and the best thing about them is that they appeal to almost every niche. Take a look at the design of iOS and Windows Phone – as well as Windows 8 and 10. These designs are simple but effective and intuitive to navigate. They are also nice and modern and professional-looking. The old idea of having on-screen replicas of analogue devices is nice, if you can pull it off, but it takes a lot of design skill to do well. Clean and simple chromeless UIs are something that almost anyone can get right.
Make Room for Video Content
Video content is becoming increasingly popular, and it is a good idea to include some in your website if you can. Bite-sized informative videos that someone can watch during their breaks at work are a great choice. Of course, make sure that these videos do not auto-play (because this is a good way to alienate your visitors). There should be a steady stream of useful and informative video content on your site.
Social Media Links Are a Must
Make it easy for your visitors to find your social media profiles via your website. Offer share links for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other popular social media websites that suit your niche. If you fail to do this, then you could be losing out on a lot of engagement and shares, which means that you are also losing out on traffic.
Security is a Priority
If you allow users to log in to your website – even just to post comments or ask questions – start using HTTPS to process those logins. You should already be doing this by default if you allow users to make purchases on your website, but a lot of people do not use HTTPS for websites that do not handle e-commerce transactions. It is important to start making security a priority because Google is starting to offer ranking benefits to secure websites, and because it makes sense from a customer service point of view. While it is bad practice to do so, many users do still re-use login data across multiple sites, so protecting their login details on your website could protect them from a serious breach of their privacy.
>h2>Make a Web App
If you have the resources to do so, why not offer an app-based version of your website? If you can add some useful extra features to the app, such as a simple calculator or a loyalty card for your store, then you will be providing extra value while also keeping your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
Semantic metadata is incredibly useful for making your website stand out in the search engines. You can use it to highlight things such as opening times for your business, add “click to call” to your search results and show star ratings for product reviews too. If you have a basic understanding of HTML, it is easy to add semantic metadata to your website, but even if you don’t know much about website markup, you can enhance your listings using Google Webmaster tools.
Websites that have rich listings tend to get more clickthroughs than websites with simpler listings, so it is well worth taking a moment to enhance your listings.
The above are just a few of the most important things to tackle with your new website design. If you make your website mobile-friendly, secure and easy to use, the rest will follow. Don’t worry too much about fancy themes and intricate designs. A secure, stable and reliable website with great content will perform well, and you can always re-skin it later, given that what is popular in terms of look and feel will change on a regular basis.