9 tips for designing a successful website

3-minute read

Your business website should be regularly updated and maintained to help potential customers find you. If customers can’t find you on their smartphone or they can’t access the information they’re looking for, you could lose business to the competition. To talk to somebody about your account call 08000294864

1. Consider devices

Your business website should be easily accessible for potential customers whenever and however they’re online. That means that your site should be optimised to change formats depending on the device that’s accessing it.

2. Make your design consistent

Once you’ve chosen a design, stick to it, don’t change the look when updating the content. Your design is part of your brand identity and a unified look will strengthen your brand. Every page of the website should use the same fonts and colours and present images and videos in the same way. As much as possible, you should also try to have a similar volume of content on each page, so that your site flows nicely.

3. Remember that navigation should be easy

Anyone who visits your site should be able to find what they’re looking for within seconds of landing on the homepage. Customer experience online is increasingly important to consumers and computer-says-no exasperation will often make users bounce off your page and go elsewhere. Think carefully about the questions that potential customers will have about your company and how the answers should be laid out. Ensure that your search function or navigation bar is obvious and intuitive to use, leading customers exactly where they need to go.

4. Check for silly errors

Nothing looks less professional than easily corrected mistakes. The dreaded 404-error screen should be avoided as much as possible. You need to regularly check your site for links that no longer lead anywhere – so-called dead links – and for images or videos that aren’t loading properly. You should also make sure that there are no spelling errors in text.

Paid advertising like Pay Per Click (PPC) can place you at the top of search engines and deliver results

5. Be seen online

Optimising your site so that search engines can find your company is a key element in driving customers to your business. That means making sure that all your webpages are written in clean, search-engine-friendly text and that the HTML code behind your site is optimised too. If you’re building the site yourself, many off-the-shelf solutions provide plug-ins to help with this task.

Website tips

6. Don’t make your visitors wait for content to load

Remember that there’s a variety in access speeds from 3G to 4G and from cable connections to superfast fibre – and aim to be accessible for everyone. According to research from Google[1], the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. Yet 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Given that 1.49MB takes seven seconds to load using a fast 3G connection, you should be careful about how many images and videos you put on each page.

7. Don’t over design your site

Resist the temptation to choose a different font for every section of content or a huge variety of colours. Readability is often about simplicity; a busy page is harder to read and more difficult to navigate, so don’t just continuously add content to existing pages. Build new pages when they’re needed. For the same reason, think twice about gimmicks like GIFs, flashing text or other special effects that tend to distract from what you are trying to say.

8. Keep your content updated

It’s not just how you say it, it’s also what you say. The content of the site is just as important as the look and it should be considered, concise and above all else, relevant. Regularly review your website content to ensure that information isn’t out-of-date, such as old opening hours, for example, or a news and views section that isn’t kept fresh.

Hiring a web designer can often be cheaper in comparison to paying to be in offline publications and directories

9. Sell, sell, sell

Internet sales have been steadily increasing in the UK for the last ten years and hit 18.6% of all selling in March this year.[2] Small businesses should seriously consider including online sales on their website, especially given that a shop front is often available as part of a web-hosting package. Once you have shopping cart software installed and the security of a secure socket layer (SSL) to protect customer data, you can choose your payment methods. Intermediary payment processors operating online can even provide secure payments without requiring a credit card merchant account.

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