Three Best Practices for Website Design

website design best practicesGreat websites do not happen by accident. A site is successful if it is useful, relevant and converts visitors into customers. As a leading digital marketing agency, we have created many successful websites and have used that experience to create a list of website design best practices. While different web projects each have different needs, there are some design principles that are universal to all sites. In this post, we will look at 3 of the best practices for website design that will help you reach your online goals. 

  1. Design for Conversions

Website design goes beyond just the aesthetics. Yes, you want a website to be visually attractive, but you must remember that visitors do not come to a website to admire the visual appearance. They are there for a reason; either to find information or accomplish a task.  A successful website design reflects these needs and shows the visitor how to do what they are there to do.

One of the best practices for website design is designing for your company’s needs. You want the visitors to convert to customers, so the conversion potential of the website should be an integral element of the website’s design. Conversion means the visitors transition from being a casual browser to starting a relationship with your company: subscribing to your email newsletter, completing an inquiry form, becoming a member of a membership site or becoming a paying customer.

Based on this, every aspect of the website’s design should be considered in terms of how it plays a role in driving customers to their destination and converting them.

  • Images. Images should show off your products and services and their benefits.
  • Copy. Copy should entice the visitor to move through the buyer’s journey toward conversion.
  • Callsto-Action. Each page should contain two calls to action: one for visitors seeking information and one for visitors who are ready to make a commitment.

The bottom line is that everything that is part of a website’s design is a factor in customer conversions. When considering design elements, always choose the element that will help the visitor make the right decision.

  1. Easy, Error-Free Navigation

Without easy navigation a website is just a pretty page. Navigation acts as a map, directing visitors through the site based on their interests. Best practices for website design navigation start by mapping out two things: (1) how to lead the visitor to conversion if they start at the home page and (2) how to lead the visitors to conversion no matter where they enter the website.  Websites demonstrating good navigation practices clearly label main navigation links, provide text links in the footer section and make use of navigation aids such as a site map.

Most important, good navigation means ensuring all navigation hyperlinks work properly and are not broken.  Regular clicking through the website yourself as if you were a customer will show where links may be broken or misleading, because the last thing a visitor wants to encounter is an “Error 404, page not found” warning.

  1. Add Less, Not More

When designing websites, there is always the temptation to add “more stuff”. Adding elements or content that helps create conversions is fine, but adding unnecessary elements will not only lower the chance of a conversion, they can cause visitors to leave the site completely. Therefore, instead of contemplating what else you can add to your site, look at what you already have and determine what can be removed.  Here is why:

  • Studies have shown that the fewer options someone has, the quicker they can make a decision. Considering the impatience of many website visitors, the reduction of elements can be highly beneficial.
  • By removing elements, those that remain will automatically have more emphasis. Instead of trying to add visual treatments, try taking away everything surrounds it. The remaining element, by default, will be more emphasized

Those are three best practices for website design, and when these tips are used together, help create a successful website.

To learn more, download the free Marketer’s Guide titled “5 Strategic Approaches to Website Design and Development for Increased Conversions.

Author: Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.