Recently the Internet celebrated its 25th birthday. Those all born from 1974-1980 are a witness, that when before 25 years the internet emerged or was born as you can say; the first few websites were prepared and filled with those fairyland backgrounds – unicorns – glittering with scrolling marquee text, flashing lights and bright sparkles. Organizations or companies per say were very new to the entire concept, unaware of the potentials of a web design carried as a great business asset. Hence they designed their websites – that served as gigantic “About Us” pages, for the readers to recognize them as traditional brands.
However; last 25 years have brought in exponential changes in Internet, leading to ever evolving consumer behavior as well. The situation now is that websites are empowered to dominate the way people – as in customers communicate – shop and decide things, online, window or face to face, these days.
Gone are the days of those hyped “About Us” pages, and are replaced swiftly with Mobile and secure business sites that are well equipped to work as power packed lead generation tools for B2B or B2C products and services, or may be an information resource for sales.
Now the question or the purpose of writing this article is to find out how much and what did we learn from this journey of Internet in last 25 years. What value addition did we make to create Inspiring Web Designs to make them more user friendly – customer centric and well equipped to capture increased number of leads for betterment of business..!!!
Today, do we Design an Eye Catching Website, do we take appropriate care to incorporate UX/UI Design, and are our designers really know the meaning of Inspiring Web Design…!!
There are a lot of questions and the answers to them are a mix bag of emotions – experiences and arguments.
Let’s check out 25 on those web designing practices followed by leading web design and development services:
1. 5 Second Rule
World of websites is governed by this 5 second rule; which means you only have first 5 seconds when a reader comes to your website, to explain and express your value proposition. Ensure a website features that draw readers in and give them reasons to stay.
2. Appropriate Messaging
Sites that feature messages – strong, brief & no more than a few words are more popular and frequently visited by users. Long paragraphs on homepage no more help. Homepage, the gateway to your site should be equipped with short messaging that gets straight to the point.
3. “Call to Action”; Your actionable
“Request a Quote” – “Buy Now” – “Partner with us, these are some of the prominent CTA or Call to Action, you would usually find on any successful ecommerce or service provider’s site. Call to Action in the top masthead area and body of website always work to your advantage as they are readers can conveniently locate them and they are not left on imagining what exactly the website wants to offer. Having an additional CTA at the bottom of your page is advised in case your web page is long enough.
4. Selling products or services online – Trust will sail you through
Trust building is crucial for success when you are selling products or services; online. You need to highlight the guarantee and feature certifications or contact details that potential customers may tend to use to get in touch with a real person for any kind of information or issue. These facilities will draw a visible line between hitting a back button to move out of the site and making an instantaneous purchase.
5. Content is the King
We all are aware of this fact that Content is still the uncrowned king. Visitors would appreciate fresh content on your site instead of that outdated content that will make them twice before revisiting or making a purchase from your online business. Your website – your company’s face to the outer world, ensure your site has that freshness in terms of up to date with industry trends. Show your customers that you are actively engaged by regularly creating new content.
6. Incorporating Social Media
You cannot rule out the power of social media, the one best ways to build loyalty. Ensure arrangements by integrating social media into your web design – where your loyal customers can conveniently share your content through social media. This simple but very effective step offers awesome opportunities to create brand advocates to attract new customers for that enhanced sales.
7. Don’t Make Me Think
UX/UI is the key to the success of any web design. Your users/customers should be able to navigate conveniently throughout your site without meeting any dead ends, resulting in them, navigating away from your site. Your website’s layout should straightforward show that users can easily move from page to page.
8. Focus on what you can do for your customer and not what you want them to know about you – Web 2.0
As mentioned in the beginning – early years of Internet was king of marketing selves or for brand recognition where business websites concentrated on themselves. However the correct thing to do is to concentrate on what you can do for the user instead of what you want the user to read about you. This will surely make your site more effective a, sales tool.
Internet today is available to everyone with unmatched speed may it be a desktop or a mobile phone. Why not use this exponential internet bandwidth/speed to your advantage. Put in multimedia and videos to work for your business. These videos will inform customers what your business is all about and what is it that you can and would do for them.
10. Reinventing is good – but not always
It always feels good to bring up your business website from the scratch with your own CMS and all, like a new born baby. However; it is always advisable to use existing open source platforms. WordPress – Drupal – Joomla – Magento (for ecommerce) and many more are readily available great options. They are painless to set up and offer you all the functionalities that you need for your customers. They also empower your website with plug-ins that will amplify & simplify all your online marketing efforts.
11. Do not forget – Competition is cut throat
Organic keywords & building up massive and engaging social media followings may take you to #1 position and can make you feel like your business is on the seventh cloud. Be advised – do not get carried away as this is the most common way of falling behind of your competitors as these numbers may get to your head quickly. Always keep a tab on your online presence and consistently work towards optimizing your website as your business is, while you also keep on looking at what your competitors are doing.
12. Secure and Safe
Though it seems self-explanatory; however website security is one of the most crucial aspects to a well-designed and optimized website. A few of the take away are to not to store any data on your site that can put you in a mess by compromising your business or the privacy of your customers, this includes details about social security numbers – credit card numbers – personal addresses and much more.
13. SEO – sees your way ahead
Content of course is the king, but then the king also needs senate members, and the same is the case here as well. In the initial days when you are preparing your business website – ensure to make it as optimized as much keeping in mind the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) concerns. Point out the terms you want to rank for and appropriately use them in title tags – URL chains – H1 tags – H2 tags and so on. It will help your business website with enhanced ranking on search result pages while it will also gather non-branded organic traffic leading to innovative sales.
14. Long Page Forms are a big NO
Use your wits – Request a quote forms or Checkout pages are not supposed to be too lengthy where the customers might find it tedious to enroll. Most of them do not scroll below the “fold” to find out additional content/information. CTA buttons usually at the bottom of lengthy forms or page yield pathetic results. A lot of readers would navigate away from your page to never return even before they had the chance to comprehend your offer and act.
15. Squeezed view
If I suggest and advice to have short forms; does not mean that in order to accommodate the entire content on a short form you would make your readers squint. It is absolutely not required to publish your business website copy in tiny fonts. Alike lengthy forms make it frustrating to readers – tiny fonts and squeezed content won’t do better than that. If your website is not easily readable – there is absolutely no reason for your readers to stick around and be loyal to you and your business.
16. Actively share your practical experience to be a leader
Being a leader no more means holding that great position as one of those well respected business. Here it means you should be sharing your real time business experiences in form of advice and knowledge for the benefit of others. Do it through social media platforms like LinkedIn and so on? This will portray that you and your business know what you are talking all about. It will help you enhance your brand leadership – recognition and of course the sales.
17. Desktops; no the times have changed
Internet, experiencing Internet, in its initial days used to offer only one choice to users across; and that was a Desktop. But we all know that it is not the case anymore. Increased number of users access internet on desktops, tablets and mobile devices, while approx. 17.4% of global website traffic originates from mobile devices. You cannot afford to forget mobile development while developing your business website.
18. You cannot Target Everyone
While building your business website just remember to focus on who your target audience is; instead of targeting everyone as your prospect audience. Building a website for everyone to fetch more traffic – tempting, however building a website for target audience will result in more conversions, and that is what you need.
19. Checks and Balances for Site Performance
Keeping a tab on how your efforts of building a business website are getting channelized is also as important as building a website. This activity means you need to monitor keyword rankings – conversion rate – bounce rate and much more. This gains much more momentum when you are working in blood and flesh trying to find ways to upgrade your site. Knowing the exact loopholes is the only way to ensure you make appropriate changes that will make your target audience happier. This also will motivate them to get converted to be your loyal customers at highest possible rate.
20. Inner beauty is what matters not the appearance – Page rank matters not the Web rank
It is very easy for everyone to forget this simple SEO fact, when you are building a business website for yourself. But you cannot commit such a huge mistake. You should remember that your domain is not going to rank on search engine results, but your individual pages will. To swiftly avoid this goof up taking its toll on your business’ search engine results, utilize ample time to build each page of your website both; informative and visually spectacular.
21. Your Business Website is an Element of your Marketing efforts
Your website works as a mirror for all your digital marketing efforts. It all boils up to the fact that anything and everything that you do online, which is not meant for brand recognition solely – will bring in traffic to your website. Ensure you spend enough time and energy it needs from a design perspective to be that extra effective over competition. This will also ensure you with highest ROI on your digital efforts.
22. Extraordinary websites may fail; but good websites have grown businesses
Forgetting the purpose of your business website while building it; is normal. But the proven fact remains that the best websites are not always to be the most visually appealing. The true definition as per me of a Good Websites is a site which effectively generates conversions and helps your business to generate more leads – online.
23. Flash Websites – what are they?
In recent past, we have seen, some of the most visually stunning websites were created with Flash. But the times have changed and have changed drastically. Flash websites are now known to keep businesses away from attracting new customers on iOS mobile devices – they don’t support Flash, by producing slow and unresponsive user designs that are more than enough to frustrate any customer and cost your business sale.
24. Due Weight-age for Text Contrast
Nearing the conclusion of the article; I would emphasize on one of the aspects that remains unchanged in the evolution of Internet and that is the importance or due weightage being given to text contrast.
Though it remains a fact that the early years of internet was the time when it was overloaded with flashing banners, which a lot of businesses did, but effective contrast was the one which helped them survive as well as flourish. Black text on a white background was and will, hopefully, be the most effective way to present text. These right contrasts create a difference between users clicking where you want them to go or navigating away from your website altogether.
25. The Future is all about comprehensive Integration with Wearable Tech
This concluding para, points us towards future, which clearly indicates that optimizing your business web design for wearable devices would pay high ROI for your business. Gadgets such as Google Glass and Pebble are early signs that entire future of the internet lies in wearable tech. Get ahead of competition – spend adequate time surveying whether your website is fully integrated to give early adopters as full an experience as possible when they visit your site.
Chirag Shivalker is one of the very few business writers with flair of social commentary through his technical writing at Hi-Tech ITO. With A decade long experience in technology writing and trend analysis Chirag is an expert in technology and technological trends along with business writing. Technology in mind and words at will Chirag is an all-rounder who has established his writing capabilities’ in multiple technology disciplines.
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