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Crafting a high-quality website is no simple task, but the reward at the end of the journey can be significant.
With a thoughtful logo and website design elements, site owners can establish the feel that they want customers and clients to attach to the brand.
This can be done with the colours, typefaces and layout of the website.
When visitors see the aesthetic, they automatically picture an image in their mind that reflects well on the company.
At least, that is the goal of good website design.
But today, site owners need to go farther. They must examine their sites from the visitors’ points of view to ensure it is helpful, intuitive and informative.
Customers and clients won’t be content with a pretty site if it doesn’t function properly.
In fact, failure to offer an excellent user experience on a website can take its toll on both clicks and revenue.
Site owners must use their online spaces to establish a trust relationship with their customers.
Here are eight ways to make that happen using website design elements.
1 – Re-enforce Branding
Again, websites are opportunities for business owners to indicate their company ethos, even if they don’t explain it explicitly.
For example, photographers’ websites often are full of white space, with each photo showcased as a piece of art.
That approach tells site visitors that the photographer takes his or her job seriously and treats each shot like a potential gallery piece.
For people who are seeking that type of photographer, they know they have come to right place.
They trust that the shooter will take good care of them and that he or she is an expert in the field.
In addition to aesthetics, websites can re-enforce branding in other ways. The site must match the rest of the company’s marketing materials, such as the business cards, brochures and other collateral.
The professionally designed company logo should be all over the site, and typefaces should be used consistently.
Be sure to include: Uniform logo usage, consistent typefaces, clean overall design, a style that sends the message you want users to understand
A simple way to establish a relationship with potential customers is to assist them in any way possible.
On a website, that means helpful and intuitive navigation is a must. It shouldn’t be difficult to manoeuvre around the site.
If it is, the bounce rate likely will be high.
The navigation bar must include common terms, and submenus should move visitors around quickly.
If there is a retail portal on the site, customers appreciate it being easy to find and use.
Confusing page labels such as “pictures” when what’s meant is “portfolio of our work” or “photo gallery” will just aggravate site visitors.
Be sure to include: Clear navigation, an easy-to-find menu, common navigation terms, a simple wireframe with limited submenus.
3 – Include Plenty of Contact Points
Many times, the only thing people visit a site for is to find or use the contact information.
It must be front and centre as part of the website design elements. Whether contact info is at the top, in the footer, or on a “contact us” page, users must be able to find it easily.
Frustrated visitors don’t stick around for very long.
An email contact form is a must-have on every website, as are direct links to social media feeds that the company maintains.
Site owners must make it clear that they want to hear from customers and people with questions.
The most common elements of contact information are phone numbers, physical address with a map, hours of operation, email addresses for contact people and a link to the email form.
Be sure to include: Obvious contact info, pertinent information, links for email contact forms, links to social media feeds
4 – Take It Mobile
The lion’s share of people clicking through the site is doing so on a mobile device.
That means it is crucial that the site looks awesome on every type of screen, from smartphones to tablets.
Online resources that are too slow to load or difficult to navigate on a tiny screen will quickly be abandoned.
The navigation buttons on mobile-friendly sites are large and easy to push with clumsy thumbs.
The contact information, including physical location if there is one, must be front and centre.
A click-to-call option is vital.
The site layout for mobile devices generally must be modified by a professional web designer, but it is well worth the expense.
Be sure to include: A mobile-friendly version with simplified navigation and adjustable text size, a map of the physical location for local search
5 – Give Visitors Something to Do
Good website design offers site visitors a reason to stick around.
From extensive photo galleries to entertaining and informative videos, people looking to engage with the brand will enjoy the ability to explore everything that’s offered on the site.
Frequently asked questions pages are particularly helpful in allowing visitors to educate themselves and learn more about the business or organisation.
Testimonials or statements from previous customers not only provide something to read, but they also can be a great selling tool.
6 – Highlight Strong Content
Websites that are long on visual appeal but short on information are unlikely to attract serious consumers.
Potential clients want to learn more about the services and the buying process before they contact the company for more information.
That education allows them to compare one provider’s offerings to another’s without a lot of phone calls or in-person shopping around.
It is vital that site owners keep their online spaces full of compelling, informative content that engages visitors.
Content should be refreshed on a regular basis as well. This serves to keep visitors coming back as well as boosting the site’s SEO.
Search engines don’t favour sites with stale content and neither do online users.
The best way to prompt repeat visits to the website is to post new information regularly and use social media platforms to announce the arrival of new content as it happens.
Be sure to include: A blog that’s updated regularly, white papers and other resources, links to external sites with pertinent information, instructional videos if applicable.
7 – Offer Intuitive E-Commerce
Why would any site owner make it difficult for people to give them their money?
Yet there are plenty of beautiful websites on the internet that don’t put importance on customers’ buying experience.
It is crucial that items be easy to find and simple to order. There should be lots of photos of each product on offer.
Customers should have the opportunity to read reviews from previous buyers and add their own comments after they make a purchase.
The vast majority of people want to hear from others who have used the product before they make a buying decision themselves, so reviews and star ratings must be displayed prominently.
Web designers can take the e-commerce idea one step further by including helpful tools such as live chat.
This allows shoppers to ask questions in real time without the delay of an email inquiry.
This customer service opportunity allows companies to make an immediate connection with consumers, the first step in establishing a relationship.
Be sure to include: Simple navigation, lots of product photos, customer reviews with each item, before-and-after shots (for service-oriented sites), live chat customer service option, clear contact info for other types of customer support.
8 – Be an Active Participant
Of course, all these efforts are for nought if site owners don’t take an active role in monitoring the site.
There are lots of tech tools available for managing website analytics, and this should be a regular practice.
If a design flaw or tech glitch is ruining the online experience for potential customers, it can disastrous for the long-term health of the company.
That is why someone has to be keeping track of what is working and what is not. Then, adjustments should be made to eliminate barriers.
There is no shame in making periodic changes to the website if the result is a better customer experience.
Site owners should also take advantage of opportunities to interact with site visitors.
Whether they are responding to a client complaint or writing a blog post about the most popular items in the retail store, owners must participate as part of the online community.
This means adding fresh content to the site regularly and posting on the company’s social media feeds as well.
Opportunities here include client profiles, new product announcements or special sales.
Be sure to include: Analytics to keep track of site traffic, keywords to help with search engine optimisation, comments to customer questions or complaints, regular posts to social media feeds
Websites are businesses’ chance to interact virtually with their audience and their customers.
By offering helpful and comprehensive information on the site, owners can establish themselves as experts who care about making site visitors happy.
The eight aspects of website design elements listed above are solid ways owners can meet customer expectations right from the start.