After your website begins generating regular traffic by getting found online (see: Increase Website Traffic With These SEO Must-Haves), your next goal will be getting that traffic to stay on your website. It depends on the industry, but most websites have a 40-55% bounce rate on average. This means a large majority of web traffic entering your website leaves without navigating to any other pages. And those visitors may never come back. Here are some tips that will help you improve user experience and decrease your bounce rate.
Website design refers not just to the aesthetics of the site – it’s about user experience, conversion optimization, and presentation. That said, the “look” of your site plays a huge role in a user’s first impression. When people see your website for the first time, they’re immediately thinking:
- Is this site credible?
- Is it trustworthy?
- Is this a professional company?
- Is this company stable?
- Does this site make me feel welcome?
- Am I in the right place?
Tips for great website aesthetic design:
Proper use of colors:
Use the right colors to draw attention to select elements. Don’t try to make everything jump out. The result will be just the opposite – nothing will stand out. Avoid a chaotic mix of colors on your website and instead pick two to four colors for your template and marketing materials.
Avoid anything unnecessary. Only use media and animations to help support content and information.
Create a clear, intuitive navigation structure. Avoid burying valuable pages under several submenus.
Typography & Page Layout:
Make sure your website is legible. Use fonts, font sizes and font colors that are easy to read. For easier page scanning, use bullet lists, section headers, and short paragraphs. Utilize whitespace and avoid overall clutter. If your site is English language-based, make sure information flows from left to right and top to bottom.
While aesthetics are important, they’re ultimately not what your site is about. A nice-looking website might convince visitors not to immediately abandon your site, but they still won’t stick around for very long if your content isn’t useful to them.
Your site needs to have a strong flow from page to page. This means colors are primarily the same, as well as fonts and layout structure. Navigation should remain in the same location of your layout throughout your website.
Depending on the your specific business and website strategy, your site will need at least a few different page layouts. For example, your homepage will have a different layout than a landing page for a eBook download offer, and both will look quite different from your blog. Keep the elements (color scheme, fonts, navigation) in these layouts constant. This will help keep your visitors from feeling lost.
Choose Your Images Wisely
Images can be a powerful element to any website but you need to use them wisely. For example, consider stock photography. Stock images are seen everywhere because they are easily accessible and inexpensive. But are they effective?
The trick here is to be different, but relevant. Stock images of business people smiling and shaking hands have oversaturated B2B websites for years. These are by no means “off limits,” but such images are to be used wisely (and sparingly).
Just like literally everything on your website, it’s about conversions. If an image is not attention-grabbing, properly emotive, and relevant to the content on the page, it’s probably the wrong image.
Navigation Should Be a “No-Brainer”
Perhaps one of the biggest factors to keep visitors on your website is having a good, solid navigation system that supports all search preferences. In fact, more than three-quarters of survey respondents from a recent HubSpot study say that the most important element in website design is ease in finding information. If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave.
Important factors in a site’s navigation include:
- Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple and near the top of your page.
- Include navigation in your site’s footer.
- Use breadcrumbs on every page (except for the homepage) so people are aware of their navigation trail.
- Include a Search box near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords.
- Don’t offer too many navigation options on a page.
- Don’t dig too deep – in most cases it’s best to keep your navigation to no more than three levels.
- Include links within your page copy and make it clear where those links go to. This is also great for SEO!
- Make sure site navigation is optimized for mobile.
The overall rule with a proper navigation structure is simple: don’t require visitors to have to think about where they need to go and how to get there. Make it easy for them.
Make sure that anyone visiting your website can view it no matter what browser or device they are using. In order to gain significant traffic, your site needs to be responsive – meaning it’s compatible for desktops, mobile and tablets.
What are some of the things that you look for when viewing a company’s website for the first time?