4 key pillars to great web design

Jolene Chen

These days, everyone has a website, from big name brands to your eight-year old neighbor selling Girl Scout cookies. Now that it seems like people are going to the Internet to solve all their problems, having a great web design has become a must-have for most businesses.

However, even savvy business owners struggle to get the most from their websites. It’s not an easy feat to undertake and you’re often left questioning what information should be on your homepage, any page really, and how to do the best job getting people to convert on your site.

Strong web design creates a lot of value for your business and not just from an aesthetic standpoint. It helps bring more people to your business through search engines like Google and Bing. It reflects the personality of your business (your brand) and, ideally, connects with customers and increases your sales.

Here are 4 key pillars to a great webpage. Think about incorporating them as you create new pages for your website.

1. Benefit-oriented statement

sir-kens

Website: Sir Kensington’s

Explain your product by zeroing in on how it will make the customer’s life better. You know your product or service inside and out and can likely launch into a ton of details of why you are the right solution for them. Often times we can do a lot of chest pounding that just seems like noise to your customer.

For example, imagine you were selling one and a half inch nails. Sure you could tell your customer that it’s made of the best iron to be found and is guaranteed to go into a wall perfectly straight. But what does that mean to a customer?

nike

 

Website: Nike

Instead, think about why a customer wants to buy a nail… to hang up the beautiful picture they purchased on their last vacation, or to stop the creaking on that last impossible step in their house. By telling your customer that you solve that annoying problem in their life, your product becomes a lot more appealing to them.

2. Clear call-to-action (CTA)

cta

Website: Dropbox

Determine what action you want your customer to take on your homepage (or any page) and make it easy for them to do. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm them with choices.

Imagine that CTAs are like juggling balls. It’s easy to do when you have just one ball, but when you continue to add more balls it becomes harder and harder to concentrate and leaves you overwhelmed.

Whether you want customers to purchase, provide an email, or give their phone number, be clear about the one thing you want them to do and, most importantly, don’t be shy about asking them to do it.

3. Be SEO friendly

One of the biggest reasons to have a website is it acts like your online storefront. You want to attract new customers to your site, understand what you do and then purchase. The best way to drive new people to your site is to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). This is a must-have basic so that search engines like Google will recognize your site and then include you in search results when people are looking for a solution like yours.

The key thing to understand is what words your customers are using in their searches. Use a site like Wordtracker to understand what keywords your customers are typing into search engines so you can begin to appear for those words. Once you understand what keywords you want to stand for, then use those keywords organically on your pages – within your headlines, copy and text.

Lastly, you’ll want to add fresh and valuable content regularly to make sure those search engines know that you’re still in business and that you’re serious about what you do. Not only will quality content encourage other site to link to you (giving you an SEO boost), but new content will also help you show up higher in search results. Don’t panic. You don’t have to add new content every day, just make a reasonable goal for yourself and try to stick to it.

4. Be above the fold

above-fold

Website: 99designs (with interaction hot spots shown on left)

Put your most important information “above the fold”. That means the portion of your site that most customers will see on their computer or tablet without having to scroll. Many customers never get down to the bottom of your web page, so put your benefit statement, call-to-action, and important images at the top. A good rule of thumb for this limit is 550 pixels tall, which also works for tablets.

This may sound old school and you may think, nowadays, people do scroll! This is true, but you have to give your customers a reason to want to scroll down the page. If you don’t start off strong, they aren’t going to want to learn more and will leave your website. In the image below, you can see an example of the number of people who get to the bottom of one of our landing pages. Start strong so you can get more people to want to go through your pages.

Conclusion

Now that you know the key pillars to good web design, don’t be afraid to practice on one of your own webpages. Pick an objective that you want to focus on for that page and then use these four pillars to help you address it. Consider using a tool such as Optimizely to help you test your pages against each other so you can see your bottom line grow.

Lead with these 4 pillars and you have a much better chance of getting your customer to purchase.

Is there another element that you think makes for great web design? Share your tips in the comments!

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