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How to create a modern website that people actually want to visit

Cold, hard fact: It took you months to create your website, but it only takes seconds for a visitor to decide whether or not they like the look of it. Whether you’re creating a website from scratch or updating an existing site, time spent modernizing and improving it is time well spent. In this blog, we’re giving you some tips on how to create a modern website using examples from a website we built for one of our clients, Best Fence & Rail of Florida.

Align your design to current trends

As a small business owner, keeping up with the latest trends in website design is hardly at the top of your list. But I’ll bet that something you do every single day is visit other websites. As you’re browsing, take note: which ones hold your attention, make you smile, or help you get the job done? On the flip side, which websites make you want to click away immediately or gag on your coffee? Chances are, many of your preferences are shared by users across the web. I also recommend regularly checking your competitors’ websites to see what they’re up to.

When in doubt, keep your site’s design simple and clutter-free to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Provide a focused journey that thoughtfully guides visitors through your site in a way that’s aligned with your sales process.

Create strong calls to action

if you want your website to actually do something for you—whether it’s selling a product, signing up for a newsletter, or whatever your goal is—then you’ve got to guide your visitors. You need to tell them what to do next. And how do you do that? You create strong call to action buttons that prompt your visitors to take action.

Take a look at the before and after pics of Best Fence’s website header (the top section of the site). In the before shot, there are many calls to action, but there are no visual cues guiding to user to click on a specific element. In the updated version, can you see how the ‘GET A FREE QUOTE’ button stands out prominently? It gives users clear direction and encourages them to take the desired action.

BEFORE:

Best Fence before shot of website header

AFTER:

Best Fence after shot of modern website header

Use clear navigation

Have you ever found yourself lost and floundering, unable to find what you’re looking for on a website? Poor navigation can make or break a visitor’s experience on your website. Clear navigation, on the other hand, is a map guiding people through your digital world. And if that map is confusing or outdated, you might need to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. To do this, you need to put yourself in the mind of your target audience.

Looking at the Best Fence example above, the previous navigation was cluttered and potentially confusing—at this stage, the prospective client may have no idea what kind of fencing they need; instead, they need to find a trustworthy supplier to advise them. The updated navigation is cleaner and gives the user more options depending on where they are in their customer journey.

Highlight your unique value proposition

A value proposition is a clear statement that defines the unique problem your business solves better than anyone else in the market. It should occupy pride of place on your website. Take a look at the ‘AFTER’ example below. Notice how this section tells you exactly what Best Fence & Rail does (provide high-quality custom fencing), how they do it (exceptional service), and what the customer gets out of working with them (take the stress out of home improvement). Highlighting the three key elements with icons helps website visitors quickly scan the home page and notice what’s important.

Click here to learn more about the critical components of a value proposition.

BEFORE:

Best Fence value proposition website home page before

AFTER:

Best Fence value proposition modern website after redesign

Create easy-to-read website content

Readability refers to how easily people can recognize words, sentences, and phrases. When your website has high readability, users can effortlessly scan or skim through it, making it a breeze to absorb the information presented.

Here are some top tips for better readability:

  • Make sure there’s enough contrast between your text color and background color (this is also good for accessibility).
  • Stick to at least 16pt for body text.
  • Choose fonts wisely. Experiment with font pairings for a unique look, but avoid too much variety.
  • Limit the number of fonts: Stick to a maximum of three different typefaces throughout your website to maintain cohesion and prevent clutter.
  • Vary the size and weight of your text to create a clear hierarchy. Use larger titles, smaller subheadings, and even smaller body text to guide readers’ attention through the content.

Include reviews and testimonials

Including reviews and testimonials on your website is crucial for building trust and credibility with your audience. Potential customers often rely on the experiences of others to inform their purchasing decisions, and positive reviews can significantly influence their perception of your products or services.

In the ‘AFTER’ example below, you can see how we added a testimonial section to Best Fence & Rail’s new website design in a more prominent place (reviews were previously located in the footer).

BEFORE:

Best Fence website product selection before redesign

AFTER:

Best Fence modern website redesign after shot of product selection and customer reviews

Ensure responsive design

Ensuring your website has responsive design is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must. If someone’s on their phone, trying to check out your site, and it’s a mess—slow to load, buttons too small to tap, text all over the place—what do you think they’ll do? Yup, they’ll bounce right off and head straight to your competitors. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing out big time. So, make it easy for people to access your content wherever they are, on any device.

In the example below, we’ve ensured that the footer on the Best Fence site is user-friendly across any device and includes helpful navigational cues.

BEFORE:

Best Fence website footer before

AFTER:

Best Fence footer design for modern responsive website

Optimize your site’s loading speed

The digital world moves fast: 83% of online users expect websites they visit to load in three seconds or less, and 40% of online users will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Use a speed test tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to measure your current loading times. Once you’ve got that info, you can start making tweaks to speed things up. A little optimization can go a long way in keeping your visitors happy and engaged.

Call in the experts

If you need some help creating a modern website design that helps you win new business online, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. You’ve seen what we’ve done for Best Fence & Rail of Florida, and we’d love to help you give your website a much-needed makeover or build you a shiny new site from scratch.

You might also be interested in: Before & after website design for Adaptive Resiliency

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