Top Web Design Tips for a Company

Content

Content is King. – Bill Gates.

The most important part of a website is the content you are publishing for the world to see, make sure you spend ample time creating good quality content.

Keep things simple.

What is the most important thing you want to tell the visitor about on each page? If a website has too much information on a page, it ends up being too confusing or boring to the user. Furthermore, Google actually prefers that you separate topics onto separate pages as it can then see this as more relevant for a user.

Always remember; search engine results are content driven. The most remarkable design on the internet can never achieve the number one spot on Google if you don’t have any decent content. Above everything else, search engines are content driven and when they crawl your webpage they are reading your content, accessing the quality, the keywords and the links to other relevant articles.  Search engines are looking for information that is relevant to search terms – which is why keywords are such an important part of your content. Having lots of content and making sure it is packed with relevant information is vital to increasing your organic ranking.

The main points Echo can give for adding quality content to your site:

  • Write between 500 to 750 words if you can, this is normally just the right amount.
  • Split up your content using good quality images and graphics (infographics look great too) so your text isn’t overwhelming to the reader.
  • Put yourself in your prospects shoes – what do they want to know or achieve from your website?

Branding

A company’s website should be a complete reflection of their company.

Your website should encapsulate the image you want the world and your audience to see, and the great news is that through your website you can control that image entirely. Make sure that aspects such as your logo or key message is prominent in the top left hand corner as the part of the screen our eyes are most naturally drawn to. Make sure that throughout your site it maintains one consistent design and matches your branding. A website should completely reflect your companies brand and ethos and the page designs should make natural sense to the user.  A website should match all forms of your branding; it should marry up nicely with all of your print publications and fit nicely into your company’s style.

Usability

Keep it simple, communicate what you do and what makes your business different.

First impressions are very, very important. When a user arrives on a website, they will make their decision within five seconds whether they will be staying on the site or not, this means your homepage is absolutely vital for grabbing their attention and persuading them to stay on your website. Provide a clear, concise navigation method so users can find what they are looking for subconsciously, without having to think about it. Visitors can be very picky and if a site is slow to navigate or difficult to understand how to navigate they will bounce (only view one page) and leave the site very quickly. Ensure navigation buttons are obvious and easily identifiable; additionally make sure your main navigation is placed towards the top of the page and have appropriate links directly from page to page so the user can quickly switch, when something catches their interest. Make sure that you use basic standardised functionalities, for example, if text is underlined or the font colour is blue then your user will naturally expect it to be a link. Consider the end users experience when creating a site. Try making a list of the things a user will want to use your site for and then checking that these are easy to achieve from the homepage; an example is it should be instantly identifiable how to find the Contact Us page or the Products page. A great way to test if your site works effectively is to check with other people, have test users to perform tasks or browse the site and comment on how easy they thought it was to use and find the information they need. Calls to action are very important, especially on the home page as it allows a user to get to a ‘point of interest’ within one click. Navigation to telephone numbers and email addresses are great for instant ways of interacting with a user. People have certain expectations driven by their time spent browsing the web, you need to make sure you follow standard design principles. An example of this is linking a logo to the homepage as this will be pre-expected by the user.

Mobile & Responsiveness

As of 2013, mobile phone internet user penetration was 73.4%.

With a new website in development you must consider mobile and browsing on-the-go, companies that benefit from a mobile/responsive site open up a world of opportunity to further connect with their target audience, especially because of how rapidly the mobile internet usage is expanding. Mobile design element is all about customer convenience. Mobile capabilities allow customers to navigate your site, order products and find contact information from the convenience of a phone or tablet whilst they have 5 minutes to spare whilst travelling home, on their lunch break or when they are relaxing after work. The benefit for a responsive website design is that every feature works perfectly on a mobile or tablet of any type, this is because when it was created it was optimised for mobile browsing. If you are interested in developing your site for mobile usage, either to update yours or a new design, get in touch with us and we can go through everything with you, with no obligations.

Media

A picture paints a thousand words; a video depicts a life story.

Make sure the images you use on a website are eye-catching and interesting, take your time designing and editing your images as it is the first thing a user will look at when opening your website. The first look a user gets at a website’s images often determines whether a user stays on the page or not. When adding media (images/video/audio) to your site, make sure they are the right size so your website load time stays snappy, but still look ultra-crisp. If you are repeating the same image multiple times on a site, make sure you use CSS sprites to speed up your site image load time. If you have multiple images that are used across different pages on a site (such as your navigation icons or your logo), you can use CSS sprites to cache (save them temporarily) so that they do not need to be downloaded again on the next page the image appears. Additionally with the images stored once the HTTP request speed will be much faster, meaning your website will load quicker. Make sure also that when adding media that you embed your content, not use content that is linked from other sites; the reason you should have all content embedded on your site is because if you don’t the content is not included by search engines when they crawl your content to determine your ranking position.

Videos should also be embedded and hosted on the website itself instead of being a link. Linking of any content is not favourable if it can be incorporated into the website. Another must for a website is to always use Google Maps on your Contact pages. People may not know where you are located and it will give them peace of mind if they know where your business is based, especially if you have registered your business with Google Places and you have your company name on Google Maps. It is also important to link to a Google/Yahoo/Bing map so that users can easily get directions to your locations. It is very common now for a person to find a company on Google maps and use the directions feature to automatically direct them to your business from their phone’s with built in GPS.

Typography

Enhance your content with the right styling.

Typography, in web design terms is the style and appearance of any text on a website. Styling your text and content on your site is essential to displaying information in a clear way so a user can understand and absorb it easily. Having an easy to use sans-serif font, such as Verdana or Helvetica is normally the best for any website body text. Try and steer clear of using too many fonts, as a rule you should stick to three maximum fonts; additionally try to not have too many font-sizes or colours. Remember you should always consider the users experience first and foremost and too many font-sizes, colours or types can strain a user’s eyes. Another aspect to consider is some users may have a visual impairment, this furthers the point that all text on a website should be easy to read and understand.

To put it simply, the design and positioning of a websites text should be clear and simple to read. If you would like us to perform a full review of your website, or would like us to discuss Typography for websites in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Analytics

War is ninety percent information. – Napoleon.

The World Wide Web is a fountain of data, and with tools like Google Analytics you can harness the power of that data and turn it into usable, valuable information. With Google Analytics you can see nearly any statistic you would want to know about your website; from the amount of hits your site has had, to what device a user was browsing with, or what time and in what location. You can see extremely detailed statistics that can help share information that can help you manage and make decisions on the management and development your online presence.

Search Engine Optimisation SEO/SEM

Content is king, but marketing is queen, and runs the household.” – Gary Vaynerchuk SEO is an extremely important part of your online presence, it is the skill that will get your website seen by the people you want to target and it is the technique that will get you to the infamous page 1 spot.

Watch this space, as we will be soon be posting an article detailing Echo’s top tips of improving your hits and search engine rankings.

Alternatively, contact us and we would be happy to go through with you why search engine optimisation and marketing is so important.

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[bra_team_member member_name=’Article author: Zak Wattiez’ member_position=’Co-Founder’ member_img_src=’http://oi59.tinypic.com/2woy70j.jpg’ member_social_list=’LinkedIn, http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/zak-wattiez/4a/51/8a5, Google+, https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ZakWattiez/posts, Email Zak, mailto:zak@echowebsolutions.co.uk’ member_columns=”]Alongside studying BSc Computing at Sheffield Hallam University Zak is a keen website designer that also has skills in corporate branding and management of website systems.[/bra_team_member]