Regardless of how long you’ve been in business and the type of business you’re in, building a website is a key pillar of sustainable digital marketing. And not just any website will do—you need to incorporate user-friendly website design that ensures a good user experience and optimizes content for search engines. Even if you already have a website, it should always be a work in progress. The world of the web is constantly evolving; search engines change their algorithms, users change their preferences, and trends come and go. To ensure a positive user experience, your website needs to keep up.
Here are some top tips for a more user-friendly website design.
Over 50% of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. If you’re not creating a good user experience for all devices, you’re not serving a significant proportion of your audience.
It’s now been a few years since Google started penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices, so ensure that your site’s responsiveness is on point. Use a mobile-first design approach, and make sure that your navigation is easy to find and use on any device.
What’s on the menu for user-friendly website design?
Website navigation helps your visitors find the information they need easily and quickly. Make sure that your navigation menu is simple to use and understand, offering links to the most important pages on your site.
Website navigation considerations:
- Choose your menu order carefully. It should be logical and based on the goals of your website.
- Use language that helps visitors understand what you offer and what you want them to do.
- Make sure that your contact information is easy to find.
- Keep drop-down menu options concise.
- Ensure that search engines can easily index the pages on your navigation menu.
- Make your logo easy to find and linked back to the home page (users expect to see your logo in the top left corner of your site).
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, usability is at the core of search engines’ algorithms. Good site speed improves the user experience, and thus the site’s performance on search engines. Google has confirmed that website load time is a ranking signal, so it’s important to optimize your page speed for better usability, and a better shot at SEO success.
The impact of page speed cannot be underestimated. Research by Google showed that:
|Page load time
|Increased chance of a bounce
|Went from one to three seconds
|Went from one to five seconds
|Site takes up to 10 seconds to load
We can all identify with the frustrating experience of waiting for a page to load, so make sure that your website loads like Usain Bolt off the blocks on all devices. Start by getting your page speed score and implementing Google’s relevant suggestions. Another quick win is to ensure that all your images are compressed.
Increase conversion rates with clear calls to action
Encourage or remind your visitors what you want them to do on a specific page, and help them navigate your site by adding calls to action (CTAs). Well-placed CTAs help to guide users around the site, giving them the opportunity to express interest in your content—and eventually your products and services.
CTAs should be clearly marked with action words that indicate the next step to take. They should be bold, time-sensitive, and action-oriented. You should also consider the color, design, and placement of your CTAs—they should stand out on the page and inspire action.
Some examples of clear CTAs:
- Click Here to Order
- Get Your Free X Now
- Request a Consultation
- Download Now
- Contact Us
- Get a Quote
- Learn More About X
Let’s be honest, even avid readers don’t look forward to working through massive chunks of copy on a website. We’ve come there for a reason, we know what we want, and we want to find it fast! Good website design uses formatting techniques such as headers, subheaders, and bulleted lists to make it easy for readers to skim the content.
- Bullet points give users all the information they want in a short amount of time.
- Get creative with bullet points by using appropriate icons in lieu of the simple dot.
- Use headings to guide users through the site, helping them quickly find the content that speaks to them directly.
- Include keywords in your headings to help with SEO.
You don’t need to stuff every pixel to the brim with colors, words, and images. White space is essential to good design. Aesthetically, it helps to make your website feel fresh and modern; functionally, it improves the legibility of your content and allows the user to focus on the elements surrounding the text.
In the mind of the user, inconsistencies mean a lower quality of product or service, so make sure that all your design elements match. From font choices to color palettes, button styles, photo choices, spacing, heading sizes, and more, everything should be themed to make your design coherent. If there are drastic design changes across your site, your users may feel lost and confused, and start to wonder if they are still in the right place. Ultimately, they may end up leaving the site altogether.
That said, mix it up with images. Unless there’s a specific purpose for it, don’t repeat graphics or photos on your site. Decorative elements, such as hero images, help to orient the user as he or she navigates the site. Duplicates can cause undue confusion.
How user-friendly is your current website design?
Spending time getting your website usability right pays in dividends such as increased organic traffic, more inbound leads, and an enhanced business reputation. We offer a website audit to help you identify the reasons why your site isn’t performing the way you want it to. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you create a modern, user-friendly, secure, and fully optimized website.