When you’re running a successful company, there are many things to consider when dealing with your customers. Invoicing, support, pricing, complaints, and not to mention your personal problems. All of these can take a hefty toll on your spirit, and often the day-to-day operations of running a successful business can seem overwhelming.
If all of that weren’t enough, many CEOs would overlook the importance of a few simple but yet important web design fundamentals.
These basic principles can often make the difference of meeting those quarterly goals or falling short yet again.
Here are some must-have features your website should incorporate.
1. Proper Navigation Menu
Sometimes I wonder what goes through the minds of some website owners. There are many examples on the web of sites that look like they haven’t been updated since 2001.
Your navigation menu is one of the most import pieces of your site. This is where your visitors look for relevant information so that they can navigate your website efficiently.
Certain designs have a messed up way of bringing up all the negativity in my soul. The best way to discourage your visitors from sticking around is to bombard them with every available option in the menu.
Most well-designed sites that you visit use a horizontal layout which lists around five menu items.
You don’t need to display everything on a page all at once, just make use of mega menus to cut any clutter.
If your website is not following this basic rule, it’s time for a change. Think about the user experience and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
Can the most important information be found in less than five seconds? How might you improve the UXD (user experience design) of your menu?
Re-evaluate your header, and make the necessary changes. It’s almost a given that your conversion rates might potentially increase as a result.
2. Responsive Website
It’s time to start getting serious when it comes to mobile. Everyone you know, which includes you, has a smartphone.
It’s a common sight to see people walking through an intersection with their heads buried into their iPhone. Or how about a group of students face-deep on their devices while waiting for the bus?
Are you one of those people who sleep with their phone next to the bed? I know I do, and I’m bad for that.
Chances are your customers are scrolling, pinching to zoom, and swiping on your company page at this very moment, doing the things as mentioned above.
Did you know that over 60% of online searches come from mobile devices? It’s a figure that fluctuates as more devices become affordable.
Google considers a responsive design a ranking factor when it comes to search. In short, if the mobile version of your website is not optimized, your site is now penalized.
There are two great ways to tell if your web page is mobile friendly.
- Check it yourself while you are on your phone.
- Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool
Your web page should be scrollable without needing pinch-to-zoom to read the text. Your text shouldn’t be jumbled closely together either, and your menu items should be easily clickable.
Please, double-check your site. Wholesale manufacturers are the worst for this, and it’s a wonder why they don’t change.
3. Call To Action (CTA)
If you show your prospects a beautiful website with all the best design elements, how do they know when to take action?
You’ve got to lead them with a call to action button. They are easy to recognize, and we see them every day.
We sign up to email newsletters, make Amazon purchases, and download apps with these powerful CTAs.
The key is not bombarding your visitors with ten different CTA buttons as to overwhelm the senses, but instead strike a balance between urgency and tact.
The best way to get results is to A/B split test. There’s nothing wrong with tweaking the design elements of your CTA buttons until you get your desired result.
Sometimes it’s as simple as placing buttons on the correct side on your webpage.
Often a slight change of call to action words is all that’s needed. For example, “Shop Now” may convert better than “Buy.” It all boils down to your audience.
4. Fast Load Times
Focusing on your website speed is an absolute must. Google has long stated that site speed is a ranking factor used by their algorithms.
People won’t stick around on your page if it takes too long to load. Users will generally leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to render.
Too much fancy animations, sliders, large image files are all contributing factors that slow down a site. If your company hosts its website on a cheap shared server, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s a significant contributor to your slow site speeds.
Those hosting plans for like $6/m are grand if you are starting and your site has little to no traffic.
Since your site is sharing resources with a 1,000 other sites, there is a high risk of things going south very quickly if someone site gets hacked.
Chances are the server will go offline taking your website along with it.
Or if your website suddenly gets a traffic spike which will take up more resources, your host will shut you down without warning.
If you are serious about your business, you should opt for a cloud server. It’s highly scalable and offers you blazing fast speeds while fully capable of handling huge traffic spikes.
Instead of worrying about all the technical details, you can set it and forget it with a website care plan. Not only will you appreciate better load times, but your customers will as well.
For more robust needs, a dedicated server will be the best route. It’s the most expensive option, but for companies that have specific requirements, this is the way to go.
5. Fresh Content
Posting regular updates to your company blog is another major ranking factor in the eyes of search engines.
Google rewards websites that regularly publish content. But not just any content, it has to be useful and highly relevant for your business.
What better way to connect with your customers by showing them the human side of your brand?
People want to do business with other people. Whether it’s a giveaway, contest, or articles, when you update your website consistently you are offering value to your customers.
Hardly anything beats quality content, and the best content management system is WordPress. It’s structured in a way that search engines love.
BBC America uses WordPress, Sony Music, The New Yorker, Facebook Newsroom, HTC, Microsoft News Center, and many more top brands also use it.
WordPress runs about 32% of the entire web, and that figure is growing.
Take the time to develop a proper content marketing strategy. One that is consistent with your brand values, and one that attracts the right customers to your site.
These web design fundamentals are by no means an exhaustive list. Nor are they listed by order of importance.
You may find that just changing the responsiveness of your site is all you need. Every case has a different story.
But if your site design hasn’t been updated since 2000, then maybe it’s time for a re-design.
Often it’s the simple things that bring in the most impact on a business. Just don’t let your website be the factor that is holding you back from success.