What are the key ingredients of an excellent website? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
In this blog, we break down web design into its principal components i.e. the “must haves” in order to make your web presence informative and engaging.
This is you “setting out your stall” and it’s arguably one of the most important aspects of your website. It describes what you are about, it reassures the visitor that they’ve come to the right place. Similarly, it should include keywords that can be picked up and categorised correctly by search engines.
Much thought needs to be given to information architecture i.e. structuring and labelling your content in a way that makes it easy to find. You want visitors to be able to find what they are looking for whilst also guiding them towards other content to facilitate up-sell and cross-sell. Make it easy for visitors to achieve their immediate goals, you have such a short window of opportunity to grab them and keep their attention (experts say less than 10 seconds).
Creating copy is one of the biggest challenges companies face, it can be difficult to write objectively when the subject matter is your own company. Copy should be clear and descriptive, focus on benefits rather than features and try to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes. Avoid acronyms and jargons that new visitors may be unaware of, use language that is easy for “everyone” to understand.
Easy on the eye:
Make copy easy to scan so visitors can quickly find the content relevant to them, use a good font and don’t be afraid of using white space to break up content or using bullet points and emphasised text in bold to draw attention to key information.
There can be no doubt that imagery is more powerful and memorable than verbiage i.e. many online shoppers browse images alone!
Where you have product pages, select clear, crisp and good quality imagery and consider using a zoom function to enable the visitor to further explore the product up close.
Don’t forget to obtain the rights to use images you do not own or alternatively select from a huge variety of commercially licensed images available on a number of different sites i.e. 123rf, Shutterstock, etc.
Ecommerce requires a large element of trust on the part of the web visitor. Smaller companies can help new visitors feel secure and in safe hands by signposting customer testimonials, user reviews, live chat, Q&A, transparent Terms & Conditions, social media accounts, client lists/logos, etc. These are all functions that convince visitors that the website and company is legit and genuine.
These are a hugely important part of usability and visitor navigation of your website. Essentially they enable users to instantly recognise where they are in your website and jump back towards higher level categories. Search engines also love breadcrumbs as they easily denote your web structure.
Videos are worth their weight in gold. On product pages they can be used with voice overs to effectively communicate features and benefits, far more powerfully than text and images. On homepages they can be used to communicate the company’s overall proposition and how that fits with your visitors’ requirements.
Footers are a fantastic space to place “expected” content i.e. content that visitors may readily need access too irrelevant of where they are browsing within your website. Commonly expected content includes: an “About us” link, Contact information, and more recently a secondary menu allowing visitors to easily navigate to other key parts of your site or a newsletter sign up.