Getting your website right is crucial for growing businesses. Whether it’s time for a website redesign or you’re starting a new one from scratch, there are three elements you must consider: how it visually reflects your brand, how it communicates your positioning and encourages engagement, and how it empowers visitors to achieve their tasks.
Before you begin to design your new site, you must first start with a strategy for success and maximum ROI. This strategy will include making a content plan, considering SEO, leveraging a lead generation program, and choosing the right technology.
With the right strategy in place, you’ll be in a great position to start thinking about the actual elements that will make up your website redesign. It isn’t just about picking a template and putting a logo at the top. All the elements we explore below must work together in harmony to create an effective website that will help you meet your business goals.
Visual Design That Compels and Enhances
Design is often based on a subjective opinion, but good design is easy to see. The visual design of a website is literally the visual appeal of how a brand is represented. It is composed of the colors, shapes, pictures, fonts and typography, white space, layout, and overall composition of the website. Whether a website appeals to us affects how we perceive it—and the brand it represents—how we use it, and how we remember it. Be sure your site appeals to your buyer persona, and not just your personal taste.
If your budget allows, it’s best to opt for custom design rather than settling for templates. Your website is an important touchpoint with your prospects and customers. Using templates often results in compromising content in order to fit into predetermined features, which in turn results in less than optimal user experience. With a custom approach, bespoke for your business, your website will be tailor-made to accomplish your business goals.
There are myriad benefits of good visual design, but a few of them include:
- Attracting and directing user attention
Getting your visitors’ attention is the key to getting them to engage with the content you worked so hard on creating. People are naturally attracted to appealing design. The right design elements, coupled with a sound marketing strategy, can also help to direct users towards the pages and content you want them to see.
- Creating an impression
Just as how one dresses affects how one is perceived or how a beautiful product demands a higher price, a website creates an impression of a brand. As mentioned earlier, the visual impact of your site is a significant component of that first impression. In fact, one study found that 94% of user first impressions are related to design.
- Building connections
A strong visual brand that starts with your website allows for users to instantly recognize your products, content, and other collateral no matter where it appears (i.e., social media, print advertisements, live events). Identifying with your brand creates strong, long-term customer relationships, which are ultimately more profitable and sustainable.
- Evoking emotion
What your site looks like, including the quality of the photography, the craftsmanship of the typography, and the balance of the layout, all produce subtle emotional responses in your visitors. How you harness that emotional connection can determine the success or ultimate failure of your website.
Clarity and Brevity Of Language
Websites may be a highly visual medium, but good marketing copywriting is paramount for clarity and consistency. Copy can also affect lead generation and conversion performance. Copywriting and design should be approached as a single effort, fully integrated and influencing each other during the design process.
Effective website copywriting is equally informed by the brand voice, the marketing and sales goals, and search engine optimization (SEO). Best practices to keep in mind for website copywriting include:
- Identify your audience, know who you’re talking to, and speak their language.
- Write clear, concise headlines that are enticing because first impressions need to be great.
- Emphasize value and benefits over features.
- Keep it lean and provide quality over quantity.
- Use verbs and multiple words in your calls-to-actions (CTAs).
Positive and Inspiring User Experience
Putting the user first in web design demonstrates that a business respects their customers and values the power of design for growing a brand. Great user experience (UX) starts in the planning phase and provides direction and guidance throughout the design and development of the company’s website. By integrating user experience with your business’ priorities, you help your customers achieve their goals while ensuring your marketing communications are addressed. Good user experience is good design and good design builds strong brands. The seven factors that form user experience are:
- Useful – Ensure your website is useful for your customers and provides key information and functionality that helps them achieve their goals when visiting your site.
- Usable – Your website should be simple to use and easy to interact with. Don’t create roadblocks for your visitors.
- Findable – A business’ website must provide information that is easy to scan, browse, and search. Organization of content should be clear and concise.
- Credible – Conveying credibility is paramount for any brand trying to establish trust and authority. Authenticity provides credibility and fakers are easy to identify.
- Desirable – Desirability is conveyed through branding, image, identity, aesthetics, and design. Desirability builds customer loyalty and evangelism. Your website should be responsive and enjoyable to interact with.
- Accessible – Accessibility is about providing an experience that can be accessed by users of a full range of abilities, including those that may use screen readers or other adaptive technology. Accessibility also means presenting content as simply and clearly as possible.
- Valuable – A company’s website must provide value to the business and to the visitor. Without value, a brand is undermined and an investment turns into an expense.
Happy Visitors = More Business
It’s true that a website redesign can require a significant investment of time and resources. But when the elements of your new design work together to make your site better and your site visitors happy (e.g., ready to buy), the effort will be well worth it.