Did you know that this year the internet is 30 years old? The very first website was published by World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee on the 6th of August 1991, and there is an archived version of it still available to view today. Of course, web design has come an awfully long way in 30 years, moving from a handful of fonts and a rudimentary CSS system to sophisticated multi-megabyte pages with more frameworks, icons and fonts to choose from than we know how to use.
When we say ‘design’ people often just think of how the website looks on the surface, and that is a big part of it. But what design also means is how the site is constructed, how the navigation has been created and how best to convey brand consistency with placements, branding, content and SEO.
When trying to decide what makes your website effective there are a couple of different aspects you will need to think about. Each of these elements works together in harmony to create the perfect winning website, so you should give each one the same care and attention.
Gone are the days of whacky websites with flashing pictures and music playing everywhere. In modern times, consistency is a key and crucial factor when designing your website. This applies not only to the visual look of your website, but to the functionality as well. Having a consistent visual identity and functionality means your website looks coherent and works harmoniously across all of the different elements on each page, from headers and footers to navigation bars, fonts, menu structure, and even buttons. This means your users have a more positive experience with your brand, stay on your website longer, and are able to navigate and use your website properly, which is particularly important for eCommerce websites.
Call to Action
You probably have an idea of what you want a prospect to do once they land on your website. It might be to visit a certain page, or to click a link, or to contact you to discuss their needs in-depth. But you will know roughly what journey you want them to take. But to make sure they actually do that, you need to tell them what it is you want them to do. This might sound pushy, but it works! It’s called a call to action, and you want them scattered throughout your website. They should be brief, create urgency, and be direct and easy to action. You can do this both in your copy and using your web design. For example, calls to action with buttons have been proven to increase click-through rate which is exactly what you want. So use your design to put frequent calls to action across your website.
While the original websites were all viewed on desktops, that’s not the way it is today. In fact, the majority of internet browsing is now done on mobile devices. Mobile internet browsing is here to stay, so your website needs to be designed to be mobile-friendly. Most DIY website tools will have limited (if any) tools for developing a mobile-friendly site. This means your site will be slow to load and often display in odd ways or sometimes not at all on a mobile device. This is a big problem for you for 2 reasons. 1 – with 60% of internet browsing is done on mobile and 4 out of 5 consumers shopping on mobile devices with a total spend of £65 billion, you risk people leaving your website when they see it isn’t mobile-friendly. In fact, 42% of people will choose a different search result to explore if the first is not mobile-friendly. Reason 2 is that in 2015 Google announced a new mobile-friendly addition to its algorithm (the way it ranks websites in search results) to boost where sites that are mobile-friendly appear in search engine results, and that addition has become more and more prevalent in recent years. So not only do you risk people leaving your website if it isn’t designed for mobile, but they might not find it at all.
As very visual beings, we are often very invested in what our website looks like, but not so much what it says. While being visually attractive is an incredibly important element in good web design, you need to pair it with some good text. We call this ‘copy’, and it is the most commonly missed fundamental of web design. The truth is that design and copy are two sides of the same coin, inseparable in every way. Design in the absence of content is not design at all, it’s just decoration, so our focus should be on creating a website that looks great, but also has some well thought out, keyword-rich copy that motivates the user to continue reading or to buy.
SEO in web design spans a variety of topics. On the content side, it covers keyword selection, regular content uploading, page naming, link building and keyword placement. On the more technical side, it includes elements like loading time, visual appeal, mobile-friendliness, navigation, image size and placement, overall design and much more. All of these elements are simple to put in place at the design stage, but if they are forgotten about it’s incredibly hard to put them in later. When designing a website, the user should always be the priority because this will help determine your SEO strategy and rankings. A website built from scratch is essentially a clean slate, so you can implement SEO and user-friendly practices from the foundations, but build-your-own websites often lose this important functionality. SEO is a fundamental element of good web design and plays a key part in the success of the website. A website that has been designed with compatible SEO is likely to draw more traffic than one with the same visual design, but no SEO built-in.
At Lion Spirit Media our job is to help you find your roar and amplify it far and wide through the business jungle. That means starting at the very beginning and ensuring you have a solid foundation for all of your marketing efforts – a killer website. Our experts can work with you to design a website that’s functional, looks great, and appeals to search engines to get your business out there. If you need help finding your roar, just get in touch with us to book your free consultation today.