There are some simple ways to determine if your website is effective. If you’re an online retailer, you should see sales. If your page is purely informational, you should receive few questions from visitors pertaining to information already available on your site. As the owner of any website, you should see traffic.
If your website is failing to convert, to inform, or to attract visitors, it’s time to put emphasis on better web design and create a more user-friendly experience, even if that means you have to hire a web designer.
Keeping Users on the Page
Circuses draw in a crowd with bright lights and unusual performers. It’s what users expect from a circus. It’s not what they expect from a website. When Entrepreneur Magazine interviewed experts at a Chicago web consultation firm, they found ten things users want, and none of those things were more bells and whistles.
Out of the ten user needs, four of them were expressly linked with information. Three more were focused on design and ease of use. What users expect from your website is easy navigation and useful information, and some basic design choices can provide users with exactly what they expect.
Google is not just the top search engine. It gets more searches per month than all other search engines combined, by a wide margin. While there is something to be said for a brandable name, something can also be owed to its design. Go to Google. Now, go to Yahoo, once Google's top competitor. Keep in mind people visiting both pages have most likely come to search.
With that intent in mind, which page is more user-friendly?
The simplest, most straightforward design that gets necessary information across is often the best design.
Need further proof?
Go to Bing, the world’s fastest growing search engine.
Simple is better.
Navigation, Navigation, Navigation
Part of simple site design involves effective navigation. In order for a search engine to get its primary job done, little is needed beyond the search box. Bring this simplicity to your web design, keeping in mind not every site can get by with minimal navigation. A retail page needs considerably more categories on their menu than most sites, for instance, to provide easy access to all items sold.
Generally speaking, give users everything they need, but only what they need.
The average bounce rate for websites is around 50 percent, according to Mashable. That is, the number of people who leave after visiting only one page on your site. If you are seeing considerably higher bounce rates, something is sending visitors scurrying. It’s possible your site fails to provide users with the information they want, but a website that is impossible to navigate will send users looking for a site that better meets their needs.
Adding Style and Soft Sells
Only when your website has met the basics for information and design should you even begin to worry about style. In fact, a large part of style actually goes back to navigability and information, such as anchor links, which allow users to jump down page, and product videos, which have become a huge part of online selling.
If you're a business owner looking for better web design or a freelancer seeking a web design career, contact us today to learn more.