Good web design is a must-have if you want your small business to look professional. However, looks aren’t the only thing your website needs to focus on. Good design should also keep website usability in mind. If your visitors have to think too hard about how to find what they want, you’ll easily lose their attention and their business.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that it’d take a long time to teach you how to make your website look sharp. Still, there are a few basics of design that you can use to make your website more user-friendly.
User Expectations: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Most of us have been using the web long enough to see that there are certain patterns and trends to how websites are laid out. That’s not an accident! Experienced website experts have tried and tested a lot of different structures and design standards over the years, so we’ve learned a lot about what’s intuitive.
The good news: that means we don’t have to reinvent the wheel—in fact, we should avoid getting too wild with structural changes in your website design! Folks have come to expect certain structures because of the time they’ve spent on other websites in the past. When you stick with those patterns, your website is going to be more familiar, and users will have an easier time finding what they need.
Don’t be afraid to look at websites of other brands you admire, and see how they’ve laid things out and what they have in common with each other. They can provide clues for how you can make your own website more intuitive.
The Most Important Info Comes First
You’ve probably heard me say it before: you have a tremendously short amount of time to capture your audience’s attention on your website. Furthermore, nobody visits a website because they want to do things the hard way! Doing business online is supposed to make life easier for your audience.
You can make their experience with you easy from the start, by making it easy to find important information on your website.
Think about the last time you wanted to visit a local restaurant. You probably wanted to know their hours, their address, and maybe check out their menu. Did they make it easy to find that information? (A surprising number of eateries still don’t!) You probably didn’t want to read a whole page of information just to find a few small-but-necessary details.
When you’re planning out each page of your website, think about the information that your audience needs the most, and make it easy to spot. If getting vital information feels like a scavenger hunt, your visitors may just give up.
Fair warning: this can be a challenging task. Too much information too soon can intimidate your visitors. Still, planning your content intelligently in order to strike that fine balance does pay off, so it’s worth the effort!
Make Calls-to-Action Catch Their Eye
Remember what it felt like walking into the Apple Store for the first time in a long while? Did you look around and think to yourself, “I’m here… but what am I supposed to do next?” That feeling is exactly what you don’t want your website audience to have.
If we’re already unsure of how far the average visitor will read, they also may not read very carefully. That means they could skim right over that booking link or purchase button you’re dying for them to click!
Luckily, this is a problem that’s easily solved: a splash of color, a bold icon or border, or larger text are all ways you can draw more attention to that call-to-action. Catch their eye with visuals, and make it clear what will happen when they click through.
It’s natural to want to stand out online—we want that for you, too!—but we also want to be sure it doesn’t muddy your audience’s experience. If you stay in touch with what your audience needs, you can have fun experimenting with brand voice and visuals, while still giving folks an easy-as-pie experience that delivers on what you promise.
Want to know more about making your website serve you and your customers better? Our Purpose-Powered Website course is designed to guide you through dialing in your content strategy and structure, and our next cohort starts in just a few weeks! Learn more about the program and reserve your spot.