Regardless of what you do, whether you’re a freelancer, an experienced business owner, an art student, or even a musician that’s trying to get their name out there, they all have one thing in common. That’s the need for a high-quality website. If you are selling a product or service, or even wishing to eventually sell a product or service, you’re going to have to find a website. The phone book is dead, and web search is king.
Even if you have an online appearance such as a social media page, that still isn’t going to be enough. Consumers want to see websites, but not any website, they want to see high-quality professional-looking websites. If your website is good, outdated, or looks off, you’re going to have potential customers clicking away and finding someone else.
Fortunately, thanks to website builders, web development services, and simple do-it-yourself drag and drop websites, it’s easier now more than ever to create a beautiful website for your product or service. However, there are plenty of components that need to be kept in mind when making a website. You want this website to be searchable (so you can easily be found), you want the information to be clear, you want the website to be visually appealing, and last but not least, you want the website to look professional so visitors know that this is a real website and nothing sketchy. It may sound like a lot to think about, but nowadays it’s pretty simple to get a website up and running for your business or portfolio. These are some helpful tips to guide you through the process.
What exactly makes a good website?
Due to the massive shift to online shopping, searching, and just finding general entertainment or services online, now more than ever, the consumer is turning to the web for helpful information. You want to make sure that your website looks good enough to compete. A lot of visitors will judge a business (or portfolio) solely by its cover, how it looks. While it may not seem safe at first, it is. Unprofessional-looking websites come off as looking fake, or they look dangerous, such as containing malware or other viruses. Plus a bad-looking website reflects on the business as well, giving the impression that the owner of the website may be lazy or careless, or doesn’t touch the website anymore.
Nowadays, websites are needed for nearly all businesses and if you’re wanting to get your work shown off, such as your music or other forms of art, you’re going to have to have a website. This is going to be the most effective way to get your name out there and get discovered. It’s also important to evaluate how effective your website is. Just because you have an online presence, doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a good online presence. Having a good website can offer increased productivity and a better reputation. Whether you’re looking into getting your very first website, or you’re hoping to update and modernize your website, these are some helpful ways to go about it!
Helpful key design rules for websites
Know your target audience
Who exactly are you wanting your website to reach out to? You’ll want to use the appropriate language and tone to attract the clients or visitors that you hope. This can also include aesthetics as well, such as the colors, imagery, and other graphic design elements as well. For example, if you’re selling jewelry on your website, you should know who your target audience is. These would most likely be high-end customers, so you’ll want to accommodate by providing high-quality images, nice soft colors, and other aesthetics that would reach out to your clients. This also goes for the wording as well, such as your tone and your choice of words.
Visitors can get easily frustrated and leave a website if the navigation is difficult. If they’re unable to find what they need within five seconds, you can expect they’ll move on in their search. Your website can be beautiful, but if it isn’t user-friendly then what’s the point? It’s only going to make it more difficult for your potential customers.
This also includes the usability of the website such as where the buttons and hyperlinks are located. Something for a website such as CSS round buttons can do your website a lot of good. Visitors know that buttons will have a lot of features such as playing a track, playing a slideshow, a video, opening up a form or window, and even just a fancy way of showing a hyperlink. Buttons are user-friendly and they also help make the website look more welcoming too.
Your website should also have a search feature as well, that will search for keywords throughout the whole website. This is also something that can deter visitors and make them leave your website. They shouldn’t have to navigate through every page to just get the information that they’re after. Your home page and the rest of your webpage on your website should have a search feature to make navigation as easy as possible.
Avoid death by text
Death by text basically means having the visitor of your website not read or look through your website anymore due to the sheer amount of text that’s on a webpage. You have around 15 seconds to capture attention and you really want to make it count by any means necessary. So your website shouldn’t have too much information through text. Instead, there should be ways to capture attention such as bold headlines with interesting font, images, videos, and other appealing visuals that can capture attention. You’re wanting to build a credible website, and one of the ways to do it is through lots of entertaining visuals.
Think about the layout
Just like you should skip out on providing too much information or too much text in general, you should also avoid using any confusing and chaotic layouts for your website. You want to also make sure that it’s easy to follow. Even if you’re wanting to be wild and artistic, you can still do and achieve those things but you need to thoroughly think about the layout. How you can still maintain creativity, while also still being user-friendly.
You really should avoid using too many colors, shapes, and pictures, you want to try to maximize impact wherever possible for your website. Zara, the fast-fashion brand, is a great example of this. Their website is known for being too clunky, chaotic, and the layout itself is too confusing. They can be a great example of what you should avoid for your website.
Have a call to action
A call to action is essentially getting the visitor of your website to do something. It may surprise you that people do enjoy being told what to do, especially if it’s going to benefit them. Try and have a call to action on most of your pages if possible. If you’re a business, such as a marketing agency, for instance, you can use this to utilize getting signups for your newsletter by handing out freebies or doing a mini-course via newsletter.
But artists can still use call to action as well such as getting visitors to sign up for a new letter for news and discounts. While newsletters are the biggest call to actions around, other ways to utilize this can include using the “Submit”, “Learn More”, “Contact Us”, and “Sign Up” buttons too. Customers are more likely to engage with a button if they see it repeatedly and if it’s easy to access. So make sure you don’t neglect this helpful tip!
Are landing pages for a website a good idea?
Landing pages are being used now more than ever by a variety of different services from business owners to students building their portfolios. Landing pages are like a nice advertisement for your product, service, or even event. All information that’s needed is nicely placed on this landing page. Depending on the product or service, you can even make multiple landing pages and have multiple ways for people to reach those. It can all be very helpful!.
Landing pages can be colorful, fun, and engaging. Plus these are all great ways to get the customer learning. This allows customers to learn more about what they may be interested in without having to deal with reading hoards of text (death by text). There are multiple ways you can create a landing page such as doing it by scratch, hiring a developer, or even using a service such as LeadPages to make your very own landing page. While creating a landing page can sometimes be expensive, if you have the knowledge and experience it can be fairly straightforward.
Now that you’ve learned about the important components of having a good website for your product or service, you can now go out there and get started on creating or updating your current website! Whether you choose the route of hiring a web developer or doing it yourself, just remember that the appearance and the useability of a website do matter.