In today’s digital era, a compelling and current website is crucial for businesses and organizations of all sizes. A website acts as your 24/7 employee, working tirelessly to attract and engage visitors. However, building a website is just the beginning. It requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure optimal performance, security, and user experience. Today, we will explore essential tips and best practices to help you create and maintain an effective website.
Top 10 Steps to Effective Website Design
Your website shouldn’t just look nice—it should also function properly and be easy to navigate. Here are the most important steps to take when creating a visually appealing and properly functioning website.
- Responsive web design. Avoid awkward browsing experiences by ensuring your content is seamlessly adaptable to any screen size for a consistent and optimized user experience. Consider desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices.
*Check out this website for Transco Railway We redesigned it to suit all common screen sizes by stacking content for narrower screens.
Pro tip: When designing your website, consider what items will need stacked or rearranged to adapt to a smaller screen size.
- Mobile-first design. As mobile browsing continues to reign supreme, adopting a mobile-first approach is crucial to cater to the increasing number of users accessing your website on their smartphones. Create mobile-friendly layouts, implement touch-friendly elements, and ensure overall mobile optimization.
Pro tip: Consider limitations specific to mobile devices and offer alternative interactions for features like hover effects that are not compatible with touch screens.
- User experience (UX) design. Ensure a positive browsing experience for your visitors by using intuitive and user-friendly designs. You have very little time to grab users’ attention, so focus on elements like easy navigation, visual hierarchy, readability, and visually appealing graphics.
Pro tip: Be sure the most important elements are placed “above the fold” or at the top of the screen to ensure users will see this content without scrolling.
- Visual design and branding. Color design, typography, imagery, and overall branding play an important role in conveying your brand identity to visitors. Cohesive and appealing designs should align with your brand’s guidelines for a memorable and engaging experience.
*Check out this microsite we created for an annual report by the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. We paid close attention to the details of the written report and incorporated them into the microsite, including the hover icons at the top of the home page.
Pro tip: Develop or update your company’s brand guide to include rules that must stay consistent across all materials, including size, font, colors, and background.
- Website performance and speed. Slow-loading websites can frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates, negatively impacting your online visibility and conversions. Regularly optimizing your website’s performance—utilizing techniques like caching, code compression, and image optimization—helps it load quickly and efficiently.
Pro tip: If you’re seeing speeds above four seconds, it’s best to contact professionals to perform a site audit to identify and resolve key issues. (At Moxie, we love revving up website performance with speedy load times to leave competitors in the dust.)
- Search-friendly web design. Search engine optimization (SEO) drives organic traffic to your website. By implementing SEO-friendly design practices, including keyword optimization, meta tags, URL structure, and mobile optimization, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine rankings.
Pro tip: Make sure you add appropriate header sizes to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, H1 headings should be around 32 points, and H2s should be around 26 points.
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO). Guiding visitors though the conversion funnel can maximize the effectiveness of your website as a marketing tool. This means designing websites with the goal of improving conversions, such as sales, lead generation, or other desired actions. Persuasive copywriting, informative landing pages, and easy-to-use contact forms are essential elements for optimizing your website for conversions.
Pro tip: By utilizing the power of analytics, each conversion can be tracked to see where the visitor came from, revealing which marketing tactics are working and which may not be.
- Quality assurance testing. Identifying and rectifying any issues or bugs on your website is key for a smoothly functioning site. Testing links, checking compatibility across different screen sizes, verifying forms, and ensuring all visual elements appear as intended will help maintain a high standard of functionality.
Pro tip: Test new features before and after they go live on your website.
- Current trends. Staying up to date with the latest design trends and techniques allows you to incorporate innovative and engaging elements into your website. Micro-interactions, animations, voice interfaces, and immersive experiences are some examples of emerging technologies that can enhance user engagement.
*Check out this website we redesigned for Lanehaven Farms. It uses hover effects with additional information over images and a parallax scrolling technique that creates an illusion of depth in a 2D scene.
Pro tip: Interactive elements such as hover effects and parallax scrolling help create the look and feel of a modern website.
- Accessibility. Be sure your website meets accessibility requirements to be inclusive for everyone of all abilities to avoid denying people access to information. For example, people with visual impairments can use assistive technology tools, like screen readers, to interact with your website appropriately.
A well-maintained and updated website is a powerful tool for your business. By investing in regular updates, you ensure automatically enhanced security, improved user experience, increased visibility in search rankings, and so much more.
Don’t settle for cookie-cutter solutions. Let Moxie help your website attract, engage, and convert visitors into customers by contacting us at experiencemoxie.com/contact-us.